A full 10 stars! Fantastic from the first page to the last! Plus, I can leave a longer review here, too. You'll see a lot more reviews on here from me in the future.
Okay, first of all, I have to say that I'm thrilled to have received an advanced copy of this book for review. I love Brenda's writing and I would gladly pay for it, but I was beyond excited to read this book early. From the moment I started Bound (Fire on Ice, #1), I was hooked on this series.
What can I say? I love hockey. I mean, I went to a hockey school, not because of the hockey, but let me tell you how fantastic it was to have been a freshman when my team took the NCAA National Championship. Yeah, I've loved hockey since childhood, had a Boston Bruins sweatshirt at the age of three, learned to skate by five and took full advantage of free skate times at my college rink. I own a pair of hockey skates and the only reason I don't play is because it was too late in the game for me to jump on board when my school's women's team took off (and my husband, rightly so, has pointed out that I'm not in the right shape to start now!) I spent hours drooling over hockey players in high school and thought it was the coolest thing ever to know the players on my school's team.
Of course, after a year of the giddy crap in college (but without becoming a puck slut!), I grew up a little. Realized they're people (and some of them are jerks). But when I read this series, it takes me back to those days, a time in my life that I cherish and never grow tired of reliving. The star of this book, Luke, reminds me of some of the best guys I knew who played hockey in college. I told Brenda that he reminded me of someone specific before this book was complete, but now that I've read the whole thing, I'd say he definitely brings several people to mind.
In this story, Luke Hudson, best friend and teammate to Bound and Captive's Jason Ryker, has taken a bad hit to the knee. He's been injured and has to follow the slow route to get back into fighting shape. His big motivator? Take down the player (on the ice, of course) who injured him, John London. He spends a couple months in physical therapy, and then gets shipped to rehab at a minor league team. There, he meets Adella Price, the team's trainer. He's instantly smitten with her and though she has basically sworn off hockey players (with good reason), she can't help but return the interest. Only problem? The team has a no-fraternization policy.
Luke was one of those guys who couldn't settle down. He was a playboy of the worst variety, some of which we glimpse vaguely in Bound and Captive, through Ryke's eyes. He laughed at Ryke's desperate need for his wife in the early days when his friend was courting - but not sleeping with - Kate. But here, he finds himself not only coveting what Ryke and Kate have (a first for him), but mimicking Ryke's behavior. Of course, Ryke's reasons for staying away from Kate were more complex than a fraternization policy, but there is more at stake for Luke and Dell than just emotions - it could cost both of them their jobs. That's an even bigger deal for Dell, because she has son, five-year-old Kyler, to consider. And since her role as a loving, doting, devoted mother is one of the things Luke respects and appreciates most about Dell, he wants to go the extra mile to ensure she doesn't lose her job. He might get kicked off the minors team, but his team owner in the NHL would have his back.
I won't spoil it for you. You learn all this in the first chapter or two, and it sets the stage for the story. But there is a lot more going on here, things that bear on Luke and Dell in ways that even Ryke and Kate (and other players) don't have to worry about. It made for some nail-biting moments.
The pace of the story is excellent. Despite a very, very full plate at the moment, I couldn't put it down. I knew, once I started, I wouldn't want to stop reading it, and I was right! If
you love sports stories (especially hockey), you will devour this - you
will feel as if you're right there, on the ice, in the locker room, at
the game with the team. And if you just love a feel-good, steaming-hot romance, regardless of the subject matter, you will want to read this right away! But be warned...cold showers, a fan, or some time alone later might be necessary!
If you haven't read Brenda's books yet, but you like mine, I know you'd love hers. We are kindred storytelling spirits. If you've read her NOW series but not FIRE ON ICE, you must rush to read Bound and Captive so that you can read Edge! Yes, it's technically readable as a standalone. But part of the joy in the story is getting to visit with Ryke and Kate again. And if you've read the first two books in FIRE ON ICE, then you will want to read this immediately. I loved Emma and Cole, Layla and Ben, and Ryke and Kate, but damn, Luke and Dell might put them all to shame! Fantastic story and I can't wait for Brenda to write one for Niko...you're going to write one for Niko, right?