Review: Jeff Adams and Will Knauss – The Hockey Players Heart

Author: Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Sports

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?

When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser. Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?

Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.

Review: While this is a sort of second chance story, it isn’t one where either MC was hurt by the other. Rather, it is the story of a teenage crush that gets some attention ten years later. Caleb, at sixteen, has an awkwardly adorable crush on his sister’s best friend, Aaron. There is no angst about it, just a sweet moment at graduation.

Fast forward ten years and Caleb is now a high flying hockey player for the New York Rangers who sustained a foot injury and now has been in rehab. He decides to head home to Foster Grove to see his sister, Pam, and while there gets to reconnect with Aaron. Pam is now the school principal and Aaron is a teacher there.

So let’s put it out there, I greatly appreciated that there was no instant love or “I’ve pined for you forever” or “I’ve waited for you” between Aaron and Caleb. There was definitely recognition of a crush and realization that Pam’s little brother wasn’t so little anymore, but for the most part it was two men with a history moving forward to become friends.

Little by little, these guys spend some time together and start to think maybe they could have something. Except Aaron is carrying some major baggage, and honestly some serious self esteem issues, and that makes things more difficult. They also face the fact that Caleb lives in New York and travels with the team, while Aaron is solidly located in their hometown with a job he loves. Those in long distance relationships know the struggle is real.

The only thing I wanted was for Aaron to put a little more effort into things. It felt like Caleb was doing all the work and all the trying and Aaron was doing all the backpedaling. “He knew he’d made the right choice, but that didn’t change the ache in his heart.” Nope, it felt like he was making choices based on his past. But you can also see a glimpse of his thinking.

The open talk of “The wives, girlfriends and boyfriends…” was so perfect world scenario and we can only hope we get there some day. The acceptance as well. This is a hockey based story with likeable characters and again, a “perfect world” feel to it. I enjoyed it very much and I am hoping Dimitri is next.

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