Title: Cross Check
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept
Date of publication: July 25th, 2017
Number of pages: 252
POV: Alternating 1st person
Series: Bayard Hockey
Shut Out – Book 1
Cross Check – Book 2
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.
Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.
As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.
Trigger Warning: Suicide, Rape
I have found myself reading and reviewing a lot of sports romance lately. I like them, even though I don’t watch sports. Wait, I lie. Football with my SO in the fall and the occasional hockey game. I was raised in a family where hockey is worshipped. Put it this way, instead of figure skating lessons, my parents had me take hockey lessons. All the way up until high school. I was that girl who could spray up ice when stopping like the best of them. I could also handle a hockey stick with the best of them also. After high school, I stopped skating and stopped watching sports. Which is why I thought it was strange that I like sports romances.
The storyline f the book was good. I say that because I wasn’t expecting the depth of emotions that Cross Check made me feel. To be honest, I thought that it was going to be a book about a party girl banging a hockey player. Instead, I got a book that gave me a pretty good insight into how college is these days. It also gave an honest description of why people fail out of college. Like I said, the book had a depth to it that I haven’t seen in other books of its genre.
I couldn’t get a feel for romance in Cross Check. I did like Ben and Ella but I didn’t feel a spark between them until almost the end of the book. What I got was an “I want to screw her/him until I forget about my worries” vibe. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the book, I felt that there was no romantic spark between them. There was definitely a sexual spark but romantic…no.
Ella had a pretty rough year. Her best guy friend had committed suicide. He also did an unthinkable thing to her best girlfriend, Skylar. To cope with the fall out from both events, she started to sleep around and drink…a lot. She got a reputation with the guys because she put out. Instead of studying, she partied. When the book starts, she is on academic probation and if she doesn’t bring her grades up, she will fail out of college. Around this same time, her brother, who was a graduate of the same college, called. He told her that she better knock it off or he would tell their parents. Along with the academic probation, it was the kick in the butt that she needed to change her life.
While I felt bad for Ella, I didn’t like her. She rubbed me the wrong way for most of the book. It might have been her immaturity. She also judged on appearance, which we all have been guilty of. I mean, she judged Ben by his choice of clothes. She also disliked him because she thought he didn’t like her. Which kind of made me shake my head because they had crazy chemistry. My dislike of her did ease up a bit when she went to therapy. I loved seeing that and wished that it had happened sooner. The scenes with her therapist were some of the most heart-wrenching scenes that I have read in a while. I also liked that she was trying to mend fences with Skylar. I also liked that therapy helped her see that she was in the wrong to blame Skylar. That she was using what happened to Skylar to project her feelings. LOVED it!!
Ben wasn’t perfect but I did like him. He also was damaged. He lost his father at an early age. Then his mother was forced to take a housekeeping job for a family that looked down on them. But, unlike Ella, he chose to channel his energy into hockey. All that anger turned him into a hockey player who was being scouted by the NHL. He knew Ella through Jacob and Skylar. He also knew her through her reputation. He thought she didn’t like him, so he treated her like she treated him. Misunderstandings all over the place.
I mentioned that the sexual spark a few paragraphs up. It was intense. From the moment that they kissed at the party and almost had sex, it was explosive. When they had sex, it was burning. I had to fan myself after reading most of the scenes.
I wish that there was more of a romantic connection between Ella and Ben at the beginning of the book. Other than that small complaint, it was a great book to read.
The end of the book was pretty much what I thought it was going to be. HEA’s all around and misunderstanding cleared up. I do hope that there is a book 3 because I would love to see what happened to Ella and Ben.
I enjoyed reading Cross Check. It was a fast-paced romance novel with steamy hot sex scenes. There wasn’t much of a romantic connection between the main characters. But the sexual connections were off the boat. I liked that the author chose to highlight slut-shaming, suicide, and rape survivors in the book. She did in a realistic way that made you think about them.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Language and sex. No violence
I would like to thank Kelly Jamieson, Loveswept, Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Cross Check.
All opinions expressed in this review of Cross Check are mine and mine alone
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**