From the New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and A Lie for a Lie, a new stand-alone romance about trading favors, battling wills, and winning love.
When I joined Seattle’s NHL expansion team, I thought it was the start of something great. But nothing ever goes the way you expect. Take my introduction to my new neighbor. She came rolling in on the hot mess express at midnight, making a racket while she tried to get into my team captain’s apartment. Did I mention that he’s married to a woman who definitely was not her?
Imagine my surprise when I end up with an injury that has me out of the game for weeks, and she’s the one to offer to help me. I should probably add that she’s not the captain’s mistress. She’s his sexy, pastel-haired younger sister.
So we come up with an arrangement: she rehabs me so that I can get back on the ice sooner, and she can add a professional athlete that isn’t her brother to her client list. Seems simple enough. As long as I can keep my hands to myself and my hormones in check.
This story follows Stevie Bowman, younger sister of Rook “RJ” Bowman from A Lie For A Lie, and her new neighbor, Bishop Winslow. Stevie is making a long-distance move from LA to Seattle for a new job. She’s excited to be moving in with her boyfriend and starting her career in physical therapy in a few days. The trip hasn’t been great since the airline lost some of her luggage, damaged the rest and treated her to an extended, unscheduled layover but she can’t wait to surprise Joey, arriving early to spend her birthday with him. Instead of a warm welcome, she finds him plowing some random on their couch in what’s supposed to be their new home. She immediately washes her hands of Joey completely, refusing to spend a single minute in that place and accepts use of Rook’s empty apartment in favor of staying with him.
Lainey and Rook recently bought a home nearby but his contract gives him a penthouse for the season so Stevie has a new home in Seattle while she figures things out. Her day continues to worsen when her suitcase gets stuck in the elevator doors and she can’t get into Rook’s place, but takes an even bigger nosedive when she meets her rude new neighbor. Rook’s teammate, Bishop Winslow, is annoyed at the noise she’s making in the hall and assumes she’s a puck bunny who paid off security to get upstairs. She has the code but instead of considering she’s a guest, he instead decides she must be Rook’s mistress. The players aren’t friends. In fact, the rivalry between them is deep and they can’t stand one another. Bishop came to the Seattle with a promise of being captain, until Rook waived his no trade clause to join the newest NHL expansion team and took the title. Bishop hates that Rook took his position and is close personal friends with head coach Alex Waters. He especially hates that Rook has such a squeaky clean nice guy image when he has the nerve to move a mistress in here when he has a wife and child at home.
There’s no love lost between Stevie and Bishop. In fact, she’s mad at herself for being so attracted to this guy when he’s such a jerk and he’s a perpetual grump with no social skills whatsoever. A neighborly rivalry is instantly born and quickly exacerbated since the two continue to make assumptions about one another. Stevie assumes he’s a manwhore thanks to the constant parade of obvious one-night stands leaving his place and he assumes she’s a college student with a sugar daddy.
When Bishop suffers a serious hit on the ice, it gives them both an opportunity. Stevie wants to work with athletes without everyone assuming she got where she is simply by being Rook’s sister and Bishop needs extra physical therapy to get back on the ice as soon as possible. He agrees to give her a written recommendation in exchange for her help with extra rehab. They’re attracted to one another although they don’t seem to like each other all that much, which isn’t shocking since they’re both sarcastic and snarky.
Life in Seattle is turning out to be great for Stevie, except for the fact that she has to work in the same clinic as her douche ex. Joey’s delusional enough to think she should forgive him and give him another chance even though he’s not sorry he cheated and it certainly wasn’t an isolated incident. When Stevie enlists Bishop’s help to act as a buffer, he’s more than happy to help. They start spending a lot more time together and come to realize their original assumptions about the other weren’t accurate.
They’re both fun characters I liked immediately. Stevie’s tough and resilient and determined to earn her success. She’s spent her life being known as Rook’s little sister and she’s done being used by people who want to get to him. Bishop is a cranky homebody who hates everyone but falls hard and fast for her. Their relationship causes complications for him with his teammates and coach, plus the douche ex does his best to interfere but they handle it well. I loved having the Waters family as peripheral characters in this book. I never get enough Violet, although she and Alex have very minor roles. This was a fun story I’d definitely read again and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
All of the books in the series can stand alone or be read as a series but I encourage any interested readers to start at the beginning.