Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.
I read this book after reading "Garrett," the second book in this series, so I knew how the love story part of the book would end, but it didn't matter. This book is all about the journey the main character goes on.
This is one of the "sports star with an attitude problem, but changes thanks to the love of a good woman" stories. Alex is a very successful hockey star, but he hates the sport thanks to a tough childhood where his alcoholic father pushed him to be the best hockey player he could be. In fact, despite the fact that Alex is one of the best hockey players in the league, it is not quite good enough for his father. Alex is probably one of the most hated players in the league...even when he plays well the fans boo him. He is rude to the fans, antisocial with his teammates and just an all around cranky dude. It is because of this that Alex's team decides that it is time for an image overhaul.
Sutton also had a shitty childhood. Her biological father is an addict, but luckily her mother able to get them out of that situation when Sutton was a young girl and built a new life for them with Sutton's stepfather. Sutton now has a successful career that she can say is because of her past.
The image overhaul plan leads Alex to Sutton and the Wake County Drug Crisis Center where the two of them will be implementing a program for at risk youth. While taken aback by the fact that Alex is EXTREMELY good looking she definitely does not put up with Alex's shit and I knew from the beginning that these two would be very entertaining. Of course the fact that she can put him in his place only makes her super attractive to Alex.
Alex & Sutton's relationship is not an easy one. Both of their pasts cast a shadow over their relationship, but Sutton is the main catalyst in Alex's transformation:
“What happened to the guy who hated playing hockey?”The thing I liked best about them as a couple is that Sutton brings out the best in Alex. That backfires slightly towards the end of the book, but Alex takes his head out of his ass, with Garrett's help, and makes things right.
I’m not teasing him when I ask that question. He knows I’m being serious.
Taking a finger and running it along my jaw, Alex seems deep in thought while he watches the path he’s making. He trails his finger from my chin, down my throat and to the middle of my chest. Tapping a finger lightly against that area where my heart beats the strongest, he says, “I don’t know. I just know that I see things differently.”
“Why?” I ask, almost afraid of his answer. Because while I think I might be a changing factor in his life, even if he doesn’t acknowledge that change will hurt, I know it will.
His gaze leaves his finger, which is still resting against my heart, and moves up to meet mine. “You’re a force, Sutton. I felt it from the moment I laid eyes on you when I walked into the crisis center. You just radiate this—I don’t know what to call it—but it’s like a confidence I’ve never seen before. You have command of your life. You love life. It’s a little intimidating, but it attracts me all the same."
I love Garrett. I was a little biased because I read his book first but I still would have liked him no matter what. He is one of Alex's only friends on team and he is a good friend to Alex. These two have each other's back and that's what friendship is all about.
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B00JTCH5RQ