I love this series! I reviewed POWER PLAY here.
(Pilots Hockey #2)
Publication date: February 16th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
In Sophia Henry’s blistering follow-up to Delayed Penalty, hailed as “sexy, fun, and full of angst” by L. P. Dover, a good girl and a hockey hunk face off against expectations—and this match is guaranteed to see plenty of action.
Beneath her innocent facade, Gabriella Bertucci has her reasons to be standoffish with guys. Especially guys like Landon Taylor, a star defenseman on the minor-league Detroit Pilots and the object of a serious crush since he first walked into her family’s market. But when Landon comes through for her in a moment of crisis, Gaby starts to wonder if there might be more to Landon than hard muscles and fast skates.
Landon isn’t afraid of telling Gaby that he’s got it for her bad. The problem is, she seems unwilling to believe it. And though Landon enjoys his reputation as a cool-headed athlete, he hates losing—both on the rink and off. It’s his competitiveness that makes him so damn good at what he does . . . but it also makes him just a little bit complicated.
One minute Gaby’s tempted to give in; the next, she’s getting cold feet. How can she trust a guy who’s destined for bigger and better things to stick around? Then again, when Landon pulls her close with those powerful arms, the only thing that matters is right now.
Rule One: There’s no such thing as love at first sight.
Lust at first sight, sure, but not love. Don’t get me wrong. I love love. I love love so much, I’ve dressed up as Cupid for Halloween. But real love takes time.
Just some unsolicited advice from Gabriella Bertucci, Queen of Having It All Figured Out, except my own life, of course. It’s easy to give advice and boast lofty ideals when no one pays attention to you.
I knew the voice, but I had to do a double take after looking up from the “Lions and Tigers and Red Wings, oh MI” T-shirt I’d been folding. “You got your haircut.”
Landon Taylor ran a hand over his dark blond faux-hawk and grinned. “Yeah. It was time to lose the mop top.”
“Looks nice.” I grabbed another shirt out of the cardboard box filled with our most recent shipment of T-shirts from Totally Detroit, a local screen printer. If I held the shirt up and folded it in front of my face, Landon might not notice my annoying habit of hyperventilating whenever I talked to him.
Though Landon and his family had been clients at my family’s produce stores for years, my palms still broke out in a sweat whenever he walked through the door.
“Do you guys have any more of the Tigers Legos?” Landon asked as he dug through a tiny box of toys next to the register. “My brothers are obsessed with them.”
“Yeah, I know. Your mom was in here last week and bought us out.”
“Damn.” His dark blond eyebrows knit in defeat and he turned his attention to a rack of kids’ T-shirts.
“You could buy him an actual tiger,” I suggest.
“Animal or baseball player?” Landon glanced up to shoot me a wink, then resumed pushing the hangers quickly aside, obviously not impressed with our selection.
I grabbed a stuffed tiger with the state of Michigan embroidered in pink across its chest from a nearby table and threw it at Landon. “RAWWR!” It bounced off his freshly shorn head and landed on the floor.
“Geez, Gaby! You’ve gotta tell a guy when you throw a damn tiger at him.”
“Now I see why you play hockey,” I joked before rushing behind the register to help another customer. He couldn’t retaliate while I rang up someone’s purchase, but I’d have to remember to take cover after.
The Taylor family had shopped at Eastern Market, Detroit’s historic, outdoor public market, religiously every Saturday morning for as long as I can recall. They always bought a bushel of apples from our stand and ate them as they wove through the aisles under the covered sheds. Once they would finish browsing, they would come back and load their old red wagon with enough produce to last the week.
That was back when Bertucci Produce was just a small, but thriving, stand in Shed One at Eastern Market. Years before my mom and dad decided they wanted to open 313 Artisans, the small store I currently run, which began as a way to feature local artists as well as my mom’s own artistic creations.
This was back when Landon was just a kid strolling through the streets in one of Detroit’s oldest communities, not Landon Taylor superstar defenseman for the Detroit Pilots. Detroit’s next NHL-bound player.
Rule Two: Real love is between two people. If it’s one-sided, it’s just infatuation; a crush.
Which is why I couldn’t call my feelings for Landon Taylor love. Sure, my forehead broke out in a cold sweat and my heart pumped and thumped like a rock ’n’ roll drumbeat every time I watched him walk through the door. But since I didn’t seem to have the same effect on him, it couldn’t be love.
In defense of my hormonally charged reaction, every time I saw him now he looked like a fitness model who’d just left a photo shoot. Today, for instance, a blue Detroit Pilots Under Armor shirt skimmed the curves of his chiseled chest, and black basketball shorts swished against his muscular thighs. I even knew he had on little white ankle socks inside his gray and blue Brooks running shoes.
Because I’m that obsessed observant.
Award-Winning Author Sophia Henry is a proud Detroit native who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.
She spends her days writing books featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts.
Sophia’s writes heartfelt and flirty fiction for readers who love the Mature Young Adult and New Adult genres. Check out her emotional and engaging Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt.
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