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.Irresistible You by Kate Meader
Published by Pocket Star on August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Barnes & Noble
Special release week price of $1.99. First in series!
Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.
Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem, a chip on his shoulder, and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.
Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?
He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…
Remy. Oh, my, Remy. I wasn’t sure about him when we first met him. He was at a farewell party, surrounded by strippers, being a complete dick to Harper. I wasn’t here for his crap.
But then. Really, I should have known. Kate Meader doesn’t write assholes and I should have had more faith. (Or if she does write assholes, I haven’t read them yet.) Remy was bitter about his trade to Chicago, and he had reason to be. I was so happy Kate Meader told this story from both POVs, because this story would have lost a lot if we couldn’t see what was happening inside both of their heads.
We met Harper in the novella that started this series, In Skates Trouble. She was one of the women on the hotel patio when Ford was eavesdropping. We learned in that book that Clifford Chase, Harper’s father and the owner of the Chicago Rebels, the 2nd-worst team in the NHL, had died and left the team to his 3 daughters.
Before you go thinking “What a great dad. He must be so forward-thinking and proud of his daughters to do that”, think again. The note he left for Harper, who has worked for his organization for her entire working life and been his 2nd in command for years, makes it clear that he expects her to fuck this up, and that when she does, the team is gone. Yes. She has one season, the current season to get the 2nd worst team in the league into to the playoffs, or the team gets sold to the highest bidder whether she likes it or not. Clifford Chase is an absolute piece of crap.
Bringing on Remy DuPre, commonly thought of as the unluckiest guy in the league, is part of her strategy to get to the playoffs and make that happen. He’s considered unlucky because despite being in the NHL for 15 years, he’s never been on a Stanley Cup winning team. In fact, every time he gets traded, the team he just left goes on to win the Cup. Falling in love with Remy is not part of Harper’s strategy, either, but that certainly never stopped it from happening.
The chemistry between Remy and Harper is immediate and hot. But sleeping with your boss isn’t a good idea under the best of circumstances, never mind when your boss is one of three sisters newly named owners of an NHL hockey team.
This is one area where I really wish authors would spend more time. In sports romances, it’s always mentioned that if word of the relationship leaks, the woman is the one who’s going to have to suffer the consequences. I most recently mentioned this in my review of When I Need You by Lorelei James. In that book, Rowan would have lost her position on the cheerleading squad while pretty much nothing would have happened to Jensen. Here, I mean… Can you even imagine the unbelievable amount of shit, rape threats, death threats, and who knows what else Harper would have had to deal with if it came out that the first female owner of an NHL team was sleeping with one of her players? And THEN was considering trading him? Do you think the fact that months ago he had asked to be traded would mean anything to the media, the fans, or the random internet trolls that would dox her and threaten to rape her until she died? Literally rape her until she died. Then rape her some more. This is a huge deal to Harper, the reason she doesn’t want to give in to her feeling for Remy at all, or go public with them once she does. And it was sort of… glossed over at the end. She tells Remy about her fears multiple times, then goes public in a truly not-well-thought-out way, one of the female reporters gets all googly-eyed about it, and that’s the last of it. There is absolutely no way that after something like that, the media says “Twuuuu luuuuvvv is what bwings us….. togeverrrrrr….” and moves on. It just wouldn’t happen. And any woman alive in 2017 who has a wifi connection would be well aware of that. Remy has been saying all along that this is his last year in the NHL. Finish the season, then go public. She’d still be crucified in the press, but it’s better than an owner sleeping with one of her active players.
Kristen Callihan has done the most work with this in Game Plan, featuring my forever and always book boyfriend, Dex. I can’t even read the 2nd half of that book any more because I end up a sobbing mess reading about what poor Fiona goes through. (I’m not saying she’s the only one who’s shown this, just the only one I can think of off the top of my head.)
The more I see this type of relationship, the more the lack of acknowledgment of how hard it will be bothers me. An average, not-famous woman who dates an athlete gets enough shit, like Fiona. Mix in a power dynamic factor, particularly one where the woman has the power, and the world gets really ugly really quickly. If we’re going to continue to have as many sports romances as we do, that needs to be acknowledged.
And, look. I know we read romance, any book, really, to escape our shitty, shitty reality which is getting shittier by the day. I get it. Do I want to read several chapters of Harper being threatened, unable to leave her house, possibly even attacked while she’s at the grocery store? No. I don’t. But romance is in a unique position. Not only is it one of the few, if not the only, genre to guarantee a happy ending, but it’s the only genre specifically focusing on women and on telling our stories. Who else is going to tell that story? A story that’s a genuine love story, but also shows the reality of what women have to go through every fucking day just to assert their right to exist on this planet? No one else is. Romance writers, that’s who tells this story.
This turned into way more of a rant than I intended. I love Kate Meader. I love Harper. I love Remy. (No, seriously. I loooove Remy). Harper has fought her entire life to be seen, to be taken seriously, to rise above the opinions of a man who even in death taunted her and called her a failure. Even when he found out one of his players was being awful to her, he blamed her and told her that it was her fault for trying to exist in the world of hockey in the first place. Now she owns this NHL team and everyone is expecting her to fail. The media already has condescending nicknames for her and her sisters – Incompetent Spice, Middle-Child Spice, and Latina Spice. Every Rebels loss is blamed on their “incompetent ownership” and every win is credited to the amazing players who are doing their best despite the chaos in the front offices. Never mind the fact that there really isn’t any chaos.
And Remy. He’s tried so hard to shake the “Jinx” moniker and to finally, finally hoist the Stanley Cup after so many years of trying. We don’t know yet if he’s going to make it happen; we’ll have to read the whole series to find out, but I hope he does. He deserves it.
There isn’t a lot of on-page hockey here. Even when we’re in Remy’s POV and he’s on the ice, it’s mostly “we were up by 2, then the puck went over to some players and we scored again” type stuff. (Yes, you can and should be jealous of my hockey acumen). I know a lot of readers really like the detailed play-by-play, and you won’t find that here.
This book is going to go onto my perennial re-read shelf right next to Game Plan. This book was amazing. And to be fair to Kate Meader, the book ended right at the point that Harper was outed to the media, so you could say that’s why we didn’t see what happened next. I get that. And I’m eagerly waiting for So Over You, the next book in this amazing series, constantly stalking Netgalley for it. I think everyone should read this book. Probably the entire series. And start with In Skates Trouble; you don’t want to miss out on Ford and Addy.