Score one for the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team as a stone-cold badass melts for a woman who makes his blood run hot.
As one of the league’s toughest enforcers, Van Turner is ruthless on the ice. He plays hard because it’s the only way to channel the rage boiling inside, and a reputation as an A-hole is better than everyone knowing the truth. Van has spent his entire life running from a secret that’s kept him from getting involved in relationships—or accepting lucrative deals with East Coast teams. Then the Carolina Cold Fury makes him an offer he can’t refuse . . . and Van meets a woman he can’t resist.
Simone Fournier is the stubborn one in her family—and that’s saying something, considering her brothers are two of the Cold Fury’s biggest stars. Simone gets what she wants, and what she wants is Van. Still, there’s a part of him Simone can’t reach, no matter how hard she tries. In private, he’s all fire and passion. In public, he freezes her out. Van may want to push her away, but Simone won’t let him go that easily. Because this time, she’s playing for keeps.
Wow. Van was nothing that I was expecting. I knew that the story, while a standalone, ran concurrently to Lucas so I thought I had an idea as to what it could be about but I was so so wrong. Van was so different than any of the other stories in the series, in some ways I adored and in some ways I had to grow to love the story and characters.
Let’s start by talking about how Simone had to grow on me. At first, her non-stop flirting, over the top aggressive sexual pursuit of Van and generally immature behavior had me rolling my eyes. While in most romance novels it is the man being relentless to win the girl, in Van, it was Simone pursuing him and Van constantly telling her it was not going to happen. That being said by the halfway point I was warmed to her, she knew what she wanted and knew that despite how he acted Van wanted her. By the end of the book, I absolutely loved how she stuck to her guns and was confident in who she was. Simone might have been young and flapping in the wind when it came to what she wanted in her future but when it came to knowing who the man for her is, she was completely confident.
Now for Van! His story was difficult and his childhood has completely shaped the man he has become. He is closed off, brutish, and determined to be alone. Then Simone forced her way into his home, his bed, and his life. She is his roommate/teammate’s little sister and off limits, and yet when pushed to the edge of desire he can’t help but fall. I loved this broken hero. He wasn’t always kind or thoughtful but when he fell he fell hard. In my opinion, if you aren’t going to read all the books in this series this is not one you want to miss. Easily read as a standalone, trust me you want to read this EXTREMELY HOT hockey book!