Jun 04

The Rival by Kendall Ryan Review


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Dump my cheating ex? Check.

Land an amazing job with Boston’s professional hockey franchise? Check.

Fall stupidly in love with hockey’s favorite bad boy? Ugh.

After wasting years of my life with the wrong person, I told myself all I wanted was a little no-strings fun. Enter Alex Braun—the wealthy, handsome, and notorious playboy who is equal parts charming, and dangerous as hell to my wounded heart.

After enduring a very public breakup of his own, the sexy player doesn’t want to be anyone’s forever. Too bad he barreled his way into my heart, instead of just my bed.

But this professional athlete knows a thing or two about competing, and he won’t let go so easily.

Warning: This romance contains one grumpy, emotionally damaged, but gorgeous-as-hell hockey player, and a whip-smart, hardworking heroine who has never quite fit in. It should only be read by those who like their men brawny and their romances red-hot!

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I went into The Rival by Kendall Ryan with pre-conceived notions about the hero. I was unsure I could get on board with him, his story and his chance at love. Silly me. Now, I love a good second-chance romance, but it also turns out that I really like it when it’s under the guise of a bad boy’s redemption. I also really love hockey romances, and The Rival was an engaging, heart-tugging, sexy and addictive take on this favorite trope of mine. Ryan is no stranger to hockey romances—I absolutely loved her entire Hot Jocks series of hockey romances. But the Looking to Score series feels a bit more emotionally hard-hitting so far, and I am here for it! It’s Kendall Ryan, so you can expect a super sexy sports romance, but there’s also some delicious angsty emotion, but just enough to keep readers invested without bogging them down in pain.

Like I said, I wasn’t too sure about Alex going into this book, but he worked his way into my heart. Talk about your misunderstood heroes! He was broody and moody, but he had a really kind and charming side that he didn’t show to too many people. From their first real interaction, though, Alex saw a kindred spirit in Aspen, the assistant to the owner of the hockey team who also happens to be Alex’s long-time ex-girlfriend. These two just clicked, and with the off-season upon them, they’re both looking to regroup after a rough year. Aspen is fresh off a nasty break up of a long-time relationship. Her tender heart is recovering, and she’s not looking to be the next notch on anyone’s bedpost—let alone her friend and boss’s bad-boy ex. But there was something about the way Alex just seemed to get her and the natural ease they both felt in each other’s company, not to mention that crazy, electrifying chemistry, that made it all worth the risk.

Alex was headed to rural Canada to spend the summer as the caretaker at his teammate, Saint’s, cabin. He invites Aspen along, and the two of them spend a summer completing Saint’s to-do list and getting to know each other. The thing is the more they learn about each other, the closer they become, and coupled with all this overwhelming attraction, both are feeling way more than they anticipated. I just loved seeing this softer, kinder side of Alex. Watching this man fall in love with Aspen was the best sort of redemption. Aspen may have been heartbroken and hurt, but seeing herself through Alex’s eyes was a balm for her soul. They were so natural and perfect together, and I honestly wasn’t expecting that, but boy did I gobble it up!

The Rival was an unputdownable love story about a swoon-worthy hockey playing hero redeeming himself and finding soul deep love with a compassionate and fun heroine who is coming into her own. An emotional, passionate, unputdownable pleasure-read, it was full of heart-string-pulling emotion and a smoking hot, slow-building romance. The Rival by Kendall Ryan gets 5 smooches from me!

~Danielle Palumbo




Amazon US  |  Amazon International  |  Apple Books  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  Audible


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