DEARROOMIE by Kate Meader Rookie Rebels, #5 Publication Date: May 25, 2021 Genres: Adult, Hockey Romance, Sports Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Contemporary, Romance
Reid Durand isn’t here to make friends.
Coming from a legacy of hockey greatness, he has games to win and things to prove. With his focus during his first season as a Chicago Rebel purely on his drive to succeed, every vice is off the table. No booze, no sugar, and definitely no women.
Kennedy Clark is the master of the side hustle.
She’ll walk your dog, brew your espresso, and pick up your dry-cleaning, all while rocking it in Warrior pose. Standing still is impossible for her, because the moment she starts to slow down, it’ll come rushing back in a torrent. The memories. The pain. The heartbreak.
Their meet-cute is more of a freeze-cute. Besides, they already know each other. He’s the rude, entitled customer at her coffee shop, or what used to be her coffee shop since she just got fired–because of Mr. Extra Shot Americano himself.
Reid didn’t intend to get Kennedy fired.
He didn’t intend to rescue a dog after the poor thing ended up in the lake.
And he definitely didn’t intend to acquire a new roommate.
A curvy, chatty, tempting roommate.
Now this perfect storm of events are about to wreak havoc on his neatly-ordered life.
Reid Durand isn’t here to make friends, and he’s certainly not here to lose his heart to a puppy, a team, or a chaos agent like Kennedy. But then we don’t always get what we want …
Reid was second-guessing … everything. He looked around his place, a bland bachelor pad that he had yet to personalize. This was his fourth city in five years, so he didn’t usually see the point in expending the effort. He wondered if his space would feel different when he returned, if she would somehow imprint her personality on it.
There was a knock at the door. Bucky started growling in a menacing manner, or as menacing as this baby bundle of bones could manage.
“It’s okay. It’s just your nanny.”
On opening the door, his heart hitched while his brain immediately set up a counter-argument: why? She didn’t look any different. Same chin-length blonde hair with that rebellious pink streak, same sly grin that seemed to know all his secrets, same bulky coat that had seen better days. She rolled a suitcase in behind her.
“You’re only here for two days. And we’re not roommates.”
“Ah, wasn’t talking to you.” She fished in her pocket, hunkered down, and opened her hand to reveal a bone-shaped biscuit. Those actually existed? Reid had always thought they were fake, for cartoons and commercials. He had a lot to learn about this dog-raising business.
Bucky tentatively approached, sniffed the biscuit, and looked up at him for approval. Reid’s heart burst.
“Go ahead. It’s a treat for you.”
The dog licked the biscuit, decided it was safe, and took the whole thing in his mouth, crunching away and spilling crumbs on the hardwood floor. Reid threw a furtive glance at the closet where the Dustbuster was located. It would take just a minute to clean up …
“Good fella!” Kennedy stood and smiled. “What time do you have to leave?”
“Twelve minutes ago. You’re late.”
“Okay, let’s chat,” she said blithely. “I assume I can call you on the regular number. Would it help to have your hotel’s as well in case I can’t get a hold of you?”
Good. She was asking the right things and focused on the dog. “I have a list here with numbers of the hotel, the team management, and the team’s travel staff. I also have the vet’s information.”
“Got it. And his food and any meds?”
He led her into the kitchen and opened a cupboard. “This is what the man at the pet store recommended. I also have shit bags and his leash.” He refused to say the word “poop,” though that’s what the pet store guy had called it, like they were all children. He opened another cupboard door. “This is the ringworm medication and vitamins.”
“Hold on, let’s look at the food again.” She laughed, her silver eyes shining with amusement. “You leave anything at the store?”
So it was a lot, but he wasn’t sure how much dogs ate. If he could buy in bulk to save time, why not?
“I’m new to this.”
She grasped his arm. “Hey, I’m just kidding. This is great. Really. So is there anything else I can do while I’m here? Clean the bathroom, do laundry—”
“You’re here for the dog. You don’t have to do anything else. Just look after the dog.”
She grinned and his heart blundered around his chest again. What was wrong with him?
She was pretty, but not exceptionally so.
She had a nice smile, but nothing special. (So he had thought it gorgeous before but that was when he had just emerged from a frigid, wet lake and any flash of warmth was welcome.)
So there was something indefinable about her, a joie-de-vivre that was very attractive. She was the kind of girl who flitted about, in and out of people’s lives, leaving … impressions. She likely lacked the stability Bucky needed but he had no choice.
“There are a few toys in that box over there.” The pet store had some very cute ones. Reid had tested them by squeezing them near the dog’s face and the rubber bee was a winner. To be honest, he had yelped excitedly about 90% of them. Clearly, this dog hadn’t seen much in the way of simple pleasures.
“I’ll reach the hotel in Philadelphia at about 5 p.m. Chicago time. I’ll call then so make sure you’re available.”
“Yes, sir!” She gave him a cheeky salute.
Her levity put his back up. “I’m serious.”
“Oh, I know.”
“Don’t leave him alone, if you have to go to the store or something. What about your other dogs?”
“I’ll bring him on my rounds tomorrow and see how he does with others. Dog gossiping is important. Lots of butts to sniff.” She chuckled, a husky sound that hit him in the balls. “Could you imagine if that’s how we let people know we were interested? Wouldn’t that be wild?”
She laughed again, clearly finding herself supremely entertaining. “You probably should get going. You’re running late.” She added a wink so they all knew this was her fault. Ha ha, hilarious.
He headed into the living room, sat on the sofa, and gestured for Bucky to approach. Bending close to keep it between the boys, he murmured his goodbyes.
“Be good, Bucky. Don’t make any trouble for Kennedy, okay?”
The dog licked his face.
It shocked some. Delighted more. He looked up to find Kennedy watching him, a soft look in those silver-gray eyes.
Moving toward his luggage, something occurred to him. “You’ll have to take him out late. So he can pee.”
“Not my first dog-sitting rodeo.”
“Don’t go too far at night. Stay close to the apartment.” The last thing he needed was to be worried about the dog and the sitter. “Also, his collar has a GPS tracker. I left instructions about the app you can download and the login information. Not that you should let him off the leash.”
Or lose him. Please don’t fucking lose him.
She smiled. “We’ll be careful, I promise. This guy will take care of me.”
Reid doubted that—Bucky was a little pathetic—but it was late and he couldn’t give it any more of his mind’s capacity. “Call me if anything comes up.”
“Will do. Oh, and bring me back a cheese steak from Philly.” She held up a hand. “Never mind. Just a slice of cheesecake. Or a whole pie. Whatever you can carry.”
Was she serious? He thought she might be.
More laughter. It echoed in his ears and settled in his chest long after the door closed behind him.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I *might* love this spinoff series even more than the original (Chicago Rebels)…
I was really intrigued by Reid’s surliness in previous books (especially the last one, Foreplayer) and just dying to find out how Kate Meader was going to turn the “hot jerk” into a hero to root for. Of course I needn’t have worried–it turns out he is the most delicious, cinnamon-y cinnamon roll hero around, and all he needed to help him find his soft, squishy center is a down on his luck puppy and a sunshiny Coffee House Girl, AKA Bucky and Kennedy.
Reid and Kennedy’s romance was just so much fun. Even when they were still each in he’s a jerk/I don’t have time for women during the season (or relationships ever) mode, I wanted the two of them to get together so badly. Their chemistry was fantastic, and ohmygoodness the individual insecurities that almost kept them apart? They nearly broke my heart. Honestly, it’s a toss-up weather I spent more time while reading this one laughing out loud, fanning myself, or wanting to give one (or both!) of them a hug. Especially Reid. Yes, he most certainly had his reasons for being the @sshole of the NHL, and they are heartbreaking…but fortunately, Kennedy, Bucky, Reid’s brother Bastian, and some newfound friends (yes, friends! For Reid I’m-not-here-to-make-friends Durand!) are there to help him get to a much-earned HEA in the end.
I closed this one with a happy sigh when I was done.
Dear Roomie is the fifth book in Ms Meader’s Rookie Rebels series, and though it absolutely could be read alone, why cheat yourself of the pleasure of reading the whole series? Heck, do yourself a favor and start with the original series first. You won’t be sorry.
Now don’t mind me, I’ll just be sitting here quietly waiting for the next book (Rebel Yule) to be released…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, fire hose, or hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with big-hearted guys and strong heroines – and heroes – who can match their men quip for quip.