I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Simmering Ice by Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley
Series: Atlanta City Hustlers #2
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on July 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Source: Entangled Publishing, Netgalley
Barnes & Noble
When the gloves come off, she's worth the penalty...Physical therapist Annie Davidson is great at her job but unlucky when it comes to love. She's just out of a bad relationship. A really bad relationship. All she can do is focus on work...that is until she runs into professional hockey player Alec O'Meara. She's a touch insecure and doesn't understand why he's interested in her.Despite being one of the biggest players on the team, right wing Alec O'Meara prefers finesse over force. After the tragic death of his wife, he likes to keep things loose on and off the ice. But the red-headed Annie challenges his beliefs and makes him think about taking their relationship to the net. The passion and fun they share is addicting and makes them long for more. But her insecurities that she's not good enough, and his anxiety over a long-term commitment will keep them apart, unless they can find a way to break through the defenses they've built around their hearts.
Simmering Ice was a light, fun novella in the Atlanta City Hustlers series. Annie Davidson is a physical therapist who has pretty much given up on love after a string of terrible relationships. She’s pretty focused on her work and her clients when she meets Alex O’Meara, a professional hockey player, through a common acquaintance. Alex’s wife Tamara died a year or so ago, and while he’s gotten through his grief and dated some since then, he hasn’t really been looking for anything serious. Until he meets Annie.
There’s a lot he likes about her. She’s gorgeous, smart, athletic, funny, and competitive in a fun way. But, man, he really had to work hard to convince her that they could be a couple. Annie is very insecure, and can’t imagine why Alex is with her. It doesn’t help that as soon as her mother finds out who Annie’s dating, she pulls up pictures of Alex’s latest dates on her phone and shows them to Annie, telling Annie that there’s no way a man who dates women that gorgeous would be interested in her. Annie’s mother was horrible. She would have been more of a caricature, but it’s pretty clear that she’s still scarred from Annie’s father walking out on her when Annie was young. He was the type of man who was never satisfied or settled, hopping from relationship to relationship. Annie’s mother has obviously decided that Alex is the same, though she has no real evidence of this. Apparently Annie looks a lot like her father, which I’m sure doesn’t help endear her to her mother. Her mother points out to Annie that Tamara, Alex’s late wife, was also a redhead and implies that he’s using Annie as a substitute. This is the one thing that disappointed me with this book. I really wanted Annie to tell her mother exactly what she could do with her critiques and insinuations. Even if it wouldn’t have changed anything, I wanted her to show that much backbone with her mother. Instead she lets her mother’s comments burrow their way into her brain and her heart and it causes her to doubt Alex way more than he deserves
Alex tells Annie everything he can think of to assure her that his feelings are really. He never does anything to give her the idea that he’s using her or not in it for the long haul. He may get a little overzealous at times, but he’s never anything but kind and patient with her. For example, when inviting her to a formal party his team is throwing, he mentions that he can’t wait to see her in a black-tie formal dress. She instantly decides this means he hates her everyday no makeup, comfortable clothes and shoes, hair in a ponytail look. Well, no. It doesn’t. It means that he can’t wait to see her in a gorgeous dress. My husband looks fantastic in formal clothes. That doesn’t mean I want or expect to see him in it on an average Tuesday. Alex tells Annie repeatedly that other than the red hair, she’s nothing like his late wife, he’s not using her as a substitute, but her mother’s crap is just so ingrained in her head that she can’t accept what he’s telling her.
Overall, I really liked this novella. It was perfect for a long summer weekend sitting on the deck and enjoying the weather. I liked the side characters, too, at least some of whom I’m guessing will be getting their own books if the series keeps going.