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4.3 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Sexy yet poignant hockey romance

    This sexy and poignant story, the third in the Power Play hockey romance series, is the story of Henrik and Jacqui. Henrik is an accomplished hockey player with the Minnesota Glaciers, but he has a secret passion, for music. It's one he hasn't shared with anyone though, since his younger sister died of a drug overdose that he feels he should have prevented. When he goes into Jacqui's music store on a whim to pick up another guitar, he is enchanted by the music she is playing, and by her. When she resists his advances he is even more intrigued and with persistence wears her down to accept a date with him. Jacqui is intrigued by this quiet giant of a man but having experienced a serious illness and worried about its re-occurrence, she is reluctant to get involved with anyone, least of all this man who has sadness in his eyes that he won't talk about either. But the chemistry between them is too strong to deny, and when they decide to just have a sexual fling, no strings attached, she finds in him a sexual partner that she never expected, one who lets her take control in the bedroom. It's a boon to her soul when she has so little control in the rest of her life. But when Henrik wants all of Jacqui, her body and her heart, will Jacqui let go of her fears and trust that Henrik will be there for her no matter what the future might hold? I love when what you think will be a stereotypical alpha male turns out to be anything but. Henrik is a large man, a physical presence wherever he goes. But while he might be an aggressive and determined player on the ice, he's really a softhearted man inside, and with gentle persistence he pursues Jacqui, this woman who has a tough shell to crack on the outside in order to reveal the softness underneath. In the past, he'd had multiple sexual encounters with women that were meaningless, just ways to forget the grief that haunts him. But he sees something different in Jacqui, a woman who doesn't care about his wealth, his stardom as a hockey player. Jacqui, who grew up with four older hockey obsessed brothers, is used to being protected and cared for by her family after bouts of illness that left her under their care, both physically and financially. She's studying for a music performance degree, living at home, and working many hours at the music store to be able to move out and prove to her family that she can make it on her own. While she is grateful for the their care and love, she sometimes feels smothered by the attention and lack of control of her own life, a control she desperately seeks. Suddenly Henrik is in her life, making it clear how attracted he is to her and that he's willing to give her whatever she wants, including in the bedroom. I loved how their relationship progressed, how they started to open up to each other about their pasts, about their wants and desires. Both of them have been looking for that one person who would understand them, who would see past the walls and discover the true person underneath. Their mutual love of music draws them together even more, as Henrik realizes that in denying himself the pleasure of playing, he's been hiding for too long. He also becomes aware that he's hidden the best parts of himself from his teammates, men with whom he could have been sharing companionship and friendship for the better part of his years on the team. It's his fault that he's never opened up to them and Jacqui makes him see that a little trust and openness can go a long way to healing scarred wounds. Jacqui too grows over the course of the story as she comes to realize that pushing Henrik away will only hurt both of them and that he is serious in his desire to be there for her through all the good and the bad times. His love is unconditional as is hers, and there is a sweet and lovely ending to this story that will give the reader a few tears but an overall feeling of contentment. 5 stars for this wonderful addition to the series.
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