I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher
Series: Power Play #3
Published by Carina Press on August 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Minnesota Glaciers’ starting defenseman Henrik Grenick is good at two things: hockey and sex. He’s got it all—the career, the biceps, the babes. But the steady parade of women through his bedroom just leaves him wanting more, hunting for the next distraction. Until he meets Jacqui, who awakens a hunger he never knew he craved.
Fiercely independent Jacqui Polson has no time for the seductive hockey player demanding her attention. More band geek than bimbo, she’s in an entirely different league, and growing up with four hockey-crazed brothers left her with no interest in that world. But damn, Henrik’s hot. And when it comes to sex, Jacqui knows exactly what she wants.
As their relationship moves beyond games, Henrik needs more—not just of Jacqui’s touch, but of her. Jacqui discovers there's more to Henrik than just the gruff facade. But after a lifetime of fighting their own battles, neither has ever let anyone get so close. As they soon find out, needing someone isn’t a weakness, it’s the only thing that matters…
This was a strange one for me. It wasn’t quite the same as the first two in the series. There was an overwhelming air of sadness throughout this book that never really let up, even by the end. There was a pretty typical HEA, but I still came away from the book with the sense that as a couple Jacqui and Henrik were on borrowed time.
I never got the full sense of Henrik or Jacqui, either, not like I did with the couples in the first two. I would have thought Jacqui’s past struggles would make her more sympathetic to me, but they didn’t really. I just kept thinking that it wasn’t very fair of her to make Henrik’s decisions for him, without actually talking to him about them. Yes, there’s a very real possibility that she could get sick again. But, frankly, any of us could sick at any moment, or get hit by a bus or struck down by an undetected aneurysm. Deciding not to let anyone close to you doesn’t only stop them from suffering through your loss, it stops you from receiving and giving their love as well, only living half a life. It’s not that I didn’t understand her impulse in this area, but I didn’t agree with it and it made me like her less than I would have otherwise.
And Henrik was a puzzle I never quite put together. He was so, so lonely. I know that he suffered a great loss about ten years ago, so I understood some of his underlying sadness, but it was such an immediate and pervasive sadness that it seemed a lot fresher than I would have expected. And his teammates and their partners made so many comments about his previous girlfriends pushing him around and carrying his balls around in their purses that it seemed like there was something behind it. But it was never explained or elaborated on, so I’m not sure what that was about. And he was so adamant about needing to meet a new woman immediately after breaking up with a current girlfriend; it was almost a compulsion. Meeting his family at the end of the book explained a little of the sadness and loneliness, but not all of it. Overall, I felt like Henrik and his motivations could have been flushed out more.
But this was still a solid entry in the series. I enjoyed reading it, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with everything the main characters said or did. Lynda Aicher is such a good writer; I’m looking forward to the next in the series.