I’m so happy to finally get this story but so VERY sad to have this series end!
The Chicago Rebels series, Book 4
by Kate Meader
Mass Market Paperback • Price: $9.99 • ISBN: 9781501168574
eBook • Price: $5.99 • ISBN: 9781501180903
Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.
Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.
For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.
She blew out a breath that was half growl, picked up a can of Italian wedding soup, and examined the ingredient list like she was studying for a test. Why wasn’t she taking this opportunity to get under his skin using those taunts that tripped off her tongue like sensual ninja knives?
“Have I offended you in some way, Violet?”
Keeping her chin dipped, she shook her head, but it was a shake of disbelief, not of disagreement with his question.
“Violet, look at me.”
Glittering eyes snapped to his, in them a flash of something—a visceral response to his demand—but it was gone so quickly that even the rewind called him a liar.
“Has something happened?”
“Look, St. James, you and I have never meshed, so we don’t need to pretend to get along. We just ran into each other at the store and you ‘saved’ me from the unseemly interest of a fellow shopper. ¡Maravilloso! ¡Gracias! Now you can take your steel buns and your sexy scowl off in the opposite direction.”
Color flagged her cheeks, making her olive skin glow. She was furious, and he still didn’t know why. He was also furious, and he had a better idea of the reason.
She’d changed the social contract. They’d been moseying along with her teasing and taunting and flirting, and him acting like it was the worst thing ever to happen to him. Like Violet’s attention was a fresh slice of hell, because in a way it was. She reminded him of everything he couldn’t have. She reminded him of the man he used to be. His body came alive around her, and alive was dangerous. Alive was the opposite of numb, and numb was his best defense against the demons whispering in his ear.
One drink won’t hurt. Thirst like yours can’t be quenched with anything but whiskey.
If he allowed himself to want her, it was a slippery slope to succumbing to the demons at the door. Of course he couldn’t tell her this, so instead he latched on to her words.
“Steel buns?” There was also “sexy scowl,” but he figured he’d start with the ass stuff.
She rolled her eyes, then coasted those same eyes down his body, half hidden by the grocery cart. “As if you don’t know.”
“That I have an ass you could bounce a puck off of?” He twisted to check himself out. “S’pose I do, lass.”
She burst out laughing and muttered something in Spanish.
“Not for your ears, Scot.”
One day she’d tell him. One day, he’d get it out of her, preferably while her body arched into his and his body drove into hers.
I tend to turn away from books that have a heroine who is that free-spirited, wild child kinda character but I’d been drawn in by the other books and already started to fall for Bren … and Violet too, I admit. She’s not one of those in your face, “I gotta be me” kind of people. Instead she’s a glorious mix of daddy issues and seize the day mentality. Having faced cancer at a very early age she’s pretty set on living life to the fullest and you gotta admire that! If doing that also involves teasing a broody, sexy Scot … well, that just makes for even better reading 🙂
While Bren has his reasons for being so broody (he did fall into the bottle pretty darn far), he’s working hard to get his life back on track. It’s been almost a year but he’s serious about being the man his daughters, his team, and at some point a partner deserves. He’s still a little unsteady on his feet so he’s trying to avoid anything too tempting – and Violet is oh-so-tempting.
Returning readers will have enjoyed seeing bits and pieces of their dance over the last few books but it is so very satisfying to get it in full detail. Meader has never failed to deliver the feels and she does it again here in spades. And not just with Bren and Violet. While I loved how she made sure that readers understood where those two were coming from every step of the way, I think I might have loved the relationship Bren has with his team just as much as finally getting this particular HEA 🙂
Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.