This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Melting the Ice
by Jaci Burton
Series: Play-by-Play #7
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Mountain Moonlight, Unlaced, Riding on Instinct, The Perfect Play, Riding the Night, Fall Fury, Changing the Game, Heart of a Killer, Forbidden Fantasies, Taking a Shot, Playing to Win, Nautier and Wilder, Wild, Wicked, & Wanton, Thrown by a Curve, One Sweet Ride, Straddling the Line, All Wound Up, "Hot Holiday Nights", Unexpected Rush.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Everything’s coming together for budding fashion designer Carolina Preston. Only months away from having her own line, she could use some publicity. That’s when her brother suggests his best friend as a model — hockey player Drew Hogan.
Carolina and Drew already have a history — a hot one, back in college. Unforgettable for Carolina, but for Drew, just another slap shot. This time, though, it’s different. His perfect body would be for professional use only. This time, she could use him. Drew is all for it. He’s looking forward to the exposure. Plus, it would give him a chance to prove to Carolina that he’s changed. If only he could thaw her emotions, convince her to let down her guard and let him in just one more time...
Seventh in the Play-by-Play sports romance series revolving around a close-knit group of guys and/or the Kelly family in St. Louis. The couple focus is on Carolina Preston and Drew Hogan.
I gave it a bump up to “2” for Drew’s honesty.
I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at both the inspiration Carolina finds for her designs as well as that of a hockey player. It is what I enjoy most about this series. Getting behind the scenes and seeing what makes the player tick. What upsets them, their concerns. The real life and not just the celebrity aspect of it. It was an interesting little twist to find out that Drew wasn’t that great of an athlete.
Carolina spends a LOT of time protesting too much. And it’s annoying. Although, she does admit that her original interpretation of that night was wrong. That Drew had never led her on. I did like Drew appreciating, and saying he appreciated, the move Carolina made back in college. It’s a different perspective on a scene that Carolina sees completely in reverse, as more of a humiliation than a courageous move. And I like that Drew is honest with himself. That he can admit he was a douchebag in college and why and how.
Unfortunately, Melting the Ice is very ho-ho-hum. Burton is going through the motions on this. All tell and very surface, although there are some elements of depth I enjoyed: Drew’s honesty and perceptiveness, his unexpected depths. And as much as I appreciate Drew’s honesty, he annoys me. Part of me appreciates his pushing at Carolina, shoving her out of her shell, and a bigger part of me gets so annoyed how he’s always pushing, pushing, pushing at Carolina, and I hate Carolina for being such a wuss and letting him.
I am curious how Carolina manages to pull together an entire collection that shows in February when she’s still working on designs for it in November.
The whole we can be friends schtick isn’t working for me. It’s too fake. I’m wondering if Gray had matchmaking plans in his subconscious when he called Drew. Although I’m not sure he’s so keen after Carolina has brought Drew along for the family Christmas.
It is sweet that Drew likes looking at all the pretty girls but much prefers one who is intelligent. He’s got some pretty busy hands too in that one love scene. Dang. He’s holding her hands and sliding a finger inside while his mouth is busy in two places. Impressive. Ahem.
Had to laugh at the morning after scene when Drew gets up to find Carolina gone. And, again, he’s honest enough to acknowledge the parallel. What’s funnier, well, bittersweet really, is the real reason she left.
There is one reveal I could have done without — I’m sure Carolina could have done without it too — how much more important Drew’s team is than a couple of hours for that photo shoot he’d promised not to let her down on. For all his big talk, Drew sure is a jerk.
A night that’s unresolved in two minds. One resents the abandonment while the other wishes it hadn’t been so necessary.
Years later, chance again throws them together with help from a mischievous brother when he calls Drew to come model his sister’s new line of clothing.
It’s an off-and-on battle between these two. One chases until the other gets comfortable…and it becomes very uncomfortable.
Carolina “Lina” Preston is a workaholic and taking that first step in designing her own line of fashion — as opposed to doing the work on someone else’s. Stella Slovinski, a ballet dancer, is Carolina’s best friend, a real firecracker who wants nothing to do with love, just the sex. And being set up for an installment down the line. Edward is one of her assistants and a talented designer as well. Tierra is another assistant and a great seamstress. Esme is a popular model who will be strutting down that catwalk for Carolina.
Gray Preston is her race-car-driving brother from One Sweet Ride, 6. Evelyn is Gray’s fiancée who works as an aide for his father. Alex and Donny are a couple of his drivers. Louisa is Gray’s housekeeper in Florida.
Carolina and Gray’s dad, Mitchell, is now vice president of the United States. The formidable Loretta is their mother and thrilled to be able to push for her literacy agenda. Aideen is the housekeeper at the family’s ranch in Wyoming; Arthur is part of the staff. Oren is the pilot for the Preston jet. Paul, Gage, Rogers, Bennington, Phil, and Leon are Preston’s Secret Service detail.
Drew Hogan plays forward for the New York Travelers. Jason is the well-paid, if long-suffering driver. Trevor Shay is another of the boys’ mutual friends, and he makes an appearance (his story is in Straddling the Line, 8). There is a mention of their beloved dorm parents, and how Ginger and their daughter, Haven, are coping with Bill Briscoe‘s illness.
Travelers teammates include:
Boyd Litman, Ray Sayers, Colin Kozlow, Avery Mangino is the goalie, and Trick is a fellow forward who’s caught Stella’s attention. Leon is an assistant coach. James is one of the janitors at the rink. McGill’s Bar is one of the team’s hangouts.
Marquette is a defender on the Denver team.
Lakeesha Divant is the director of the mission. Jim, Ronald, Oscar, Lewis, and Bailey are some of the homeless who works at the mission. David was the designer Carolina worked for before she quit. Justin and Henry are a couple of kids Drew and Carolina meet at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. Gil Nelson and Senator Ed Langton are at the Christmas party.
The Cover and Title
The cover is suggestive as ever, lol. A half-dressed man — I had no idea they wore their pants like this, or that they were so HUGE! Sorry, getting back to it. It’s Drew on the cover, his reasonably muscled chest on sweaty display as he rests his hockey stick across his shoulders. That right wrist is still taped and his tattoo on his bicep is quite visible. It’s all against a concrete wall backdrop, which makes for a nice contrast with that fascinating manflesh.
The title is what Drew is doing, Melting the Ice around Carolina’s terrified heart.