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New Release Review: CENTER ICE by Cate Cameron (Corrigan Falls Raiders #1)

What better way to celebrate the end of the semester than with a brand-new hockey hero book boyfriend?

Center Ice
by Cate Cameron

Synopsis:

The hometown hockey hero won’t know what hit him…

Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers—her dad and his perfect, shiny new family—and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.

But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.

Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey—except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…

Review:

I absolutely loved this book! It’s funny, touching, feel-good, and real. Plus, hockey. Really, I’m not sure what else is needed. 😉

Karen never knew her dad–until her mother died from complications after a car accident. Now she’s living with him and his wife, along with her three half-siblings. It’s far from an ideal situation–her twin half brother and sister are only a few months older than she is (yeah, that math took me a few minutes to grasp–silly me, always trying to think the best of everyone) and on top of grieving for her mother, Karen feels like she’s created a big ol’ blot on their perfect existence. The only thing that gets her out of the suckfest that currently is her life is her daily run.

Until she gets attacked by a crazed squirrel…

Tyler’s billeting with a local family for his third year, playing hockey for an OHL team, (hopefully–maybe) one step away from the NHL. His unemployed father is more than a little over-involved with his hockey career, and together with his agent they’re putting all kinds of pressure on the almost-eighteen-year-old. He runs every morning to quiet the voices in his head.

Until the day he rescues a reluctant damsel in distress from an overexcited rodent…

Karen’s dad is notorious in their small town for his infidelity. Tyler’s got his own reputation as a love-them-and-leave-them kind of guy. He says he’s ready for a change, but can Karen trust him? Do either of them have time for a real relationship anyway, with everything else that is going on in their lives?

This book made me laugh, cry, and gasp out loud in a “no he/she didn’t” kind of way over and over again. I loved both Karen and Tyler, and wanted nothing more than to get them to an HEA. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series, just to get to see them again.

(Plus, there’s a teaser for book 2 at the end–Winslow’s story. Seriously, this book cannot come out fast enough–I thought I liked him as a secondary character, but I know I’m going to love him as the hero! Two words: Holy. Cow. Hee hee…)

I have so many highlighted passages in my copy, it’d be hard to pick a favorite. Here’s one that was just adorable, showing how really cute Tyler and Karen are together–they run into each other at the town park at night, after they’ve both had a pretty sucktastic day:

“You watching the stars?” I asked.

“I guess.” She didn’t sound hostile or anything, just a little sheepish.

“You know anything about them? The constellations or anything?”

“Not really. You?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m pretty much an expert. That one right there, over toward the trees. Big Dipper, obviously.”

“Okay, that one I knew.”

“That one over to its left?” I raised my arm and tried to trace the picture. “Two squares, kind of? That’s Rodentus minor, the angry squirrel.”

“Oh my god, you’re obsessed.”

“But don’t worry. Runner majoricus is right there to rescue any fair maidens who are attacked.”

“Is that how you’ve built it up in your head? You’re a great big hero?” She sounded better now, and I let myself relax a little more.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. These are the stars we’re looking at. I’m not saying there’s any connection to any real life events.”

She was quiet for a moment, then lifted her arm and pointed. “So, those ones there. Those aren’t Driver horrificus and Passenger odiferous?”

And right there, lying on the bench in the summer darkness, it was like I had a weird out of body experience. I knew the logical response, the one that would take me the next step down the path I always took. Attractive friendly girl, already lying down, under the damn stars…it was too easy, really, but that had never stopped me before. I should say it was actually Driver horrificus and Passenger beauteous or something. I should build on the fair maiden line I’d dropped a little earlier. Either of those would work.

But it was like there was another me, one looking down at the scene, and that me saw how nice things could be just as they were. It told me I didn’t need to push forward, didn’t need to race for the goal line. Just this once, I didn’t have to be quite so focused on scroing.

So instead of feeding her a line, I smiled up at the stars. “Damn,” I said. “That is what those ones are. I guess maybe there’s some connection after all.”

We lay there a while longer, looking up at the stars and trading lies that somehow felt like the truth. And when Karen finally sat up and said it was late and she had to go back to her real life, I knew she was right. But I really wished the two of us could have stayed in our little make-believe world at least a little longer.

Le sigh…

Playing Defense 
absolutely cannot come out soon enough!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. And then I went out and bought Mini Moe #2 her own copy…because she must. read. this. book!

View all my reviews

Published in4.5 starsABook reviewsBOOKS!new releasespotlight
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