The death of his little brother turned Kurt Lundquist’s world upside down. He channeled his grief into skating his heart out–and ultimately leading his hockey team to win the championship. Now, all he wants to do is throw a party with the Cup in his brother’s honor. He’s got no clue where to start…until he runs into the gorgeous hospice nurse who took such great care of Jasper. She’s waaay off limits, but he’s desperate, and hires her to help him.
Lisette Broussard’s heart broke a little more every time a patient died. Losing the brave brother of a hockey star was the last straw. Learning a new specialty was supposed to change her life for the better, but it used up her savings. Then the slam dunk job with the New Orleans championship hockey team mysteriously disappears. So she jumps at Kurt’s offer of a job, no matter how temporary. No matter how…dangerous, given how much she’s always crushed on him. No matter how risky it is to fall for Kurt, since he’ll always associate her with the grief of losing his brother.
But the more time they spend together, the deeper they both fall. Kurt’s heart begins to thaw…and then heat. Lisette can’t resist him, and throws caution to the wind. She’ll take whatever time he gives her. Can they move beyond the pain of the past and focus on a future together?
God. Why would Lisette want to keep touching such a wallowing, messed-up son of a bitch? The words, the truth that kept him immobilized on this decision ripped from his throat like gravel spraying from his Harley tires. “Tell me how I can turn my back on my team and my friends and still be able to look myself in the mirror.”
She pressed up against his back, arms circling his waist like a life preserver. “How do you do it now? How do you look past your grief to see what’s truly in your reflection?”
Her fingers curved into his stomach. “You don’t look in mirrors?”
“Not for a while now.” Trying to make light of it, Kurt rasped a hand across his two-day-old stubble. “I’ve got an electric razor. Makes it so easy I can do it with my eyes shut. I was tired of seeing nothing but a scowl.”
“Oh, I get it, believe me. But feeling good, being happy? It takes practice every bit as much as skating.” Going up on her tiptoes, Lisette murmured into his ear, “I declare that smile practice is now in session.”
Then her fingers splayed, arrowing down to just below the waist of his shorts. Just enough to make him wish they’d damn well keep going. She scraped her teeth along the cords of his neck, then licked a path down to where Kurt knew she could feel his pulse jackrabbiting through the skin. Lisette sucked. Sucked and swirled her tongue. That was all it took to bring his dick into a full-out lunge, trying to meet her fingertips.
Kurt reached back and around to pull her closer. He got two handfuls of the sweetest ass he’d ever touched and squeezed. Kneaded. His hands almost completely covered those taut globes. He couldn’t wait to see how they’d look doing exactly that on her naked skin.
He didn’t care if she gave him a hickey. Didn’t care that the guys would give him a mountain of shit if he walked into the locker room with a love bite like a teenager. The only thing Kurt cared about was the way her tongue lapped at him, sending shivers of sensation straight down to his dick.
They weren’t really kissing. They were fully clothed, in a fucking warehouse. They weren’t even face-to-face. But her assault on his neck was so damn hot, Kurt was ready to shove up her skirt and take her on the floor, with the goddamned goldfish watching.
Whispering, breath feathering against his ear, Lisette ordered, “Look at your reflection in the bowl, Kurt. What do you see?”
He turned his head to catch a smug, satisfied grin curling up the edges of his mouth. Huh. Kurt twisted to see her wet lips and flushed cheeks. Guess she’d enjoyed giving as well as getting. Which turned him on even more. “You think I’m good in a practice session? You should catch me in the real deal.”
Start with an absolutely heartwrenching beginning (have tissues handy!) and an intriguing premise (older brother of cancer patient falls for hospice nurse)–throw in a hockey hero (aforementioned older brother) and you should have a hat trick, right? That was my hope when I started reading Check My Heart, a hope which was only partially fulfilled.
I liked both Kurt and Lisette, the hero and heroine (AKA brother and nurse). Buying into their relationship push-pull was a bit trickier, though–maybe if we’d seen them in the beginning, instead of finding out about it later on? (Especially since their individual accounts of that time don’t quite seem to jive–both claim to be drawn to the other, but neither seems to think that the other is even remotely interested (I get it; the younger brother is dying, etc., but still…)) They also seem to go pretty quickly from Jasper will always come between us to getting over that obstacle (I don’t actually think there was a moment of them getting over it–though maybe I just missed it, somehow? Or promptly forgot all about it?) My biggest issue, though, was with [spoiler]Kurt’s immediate demand that the club not hire Lisette, which came out of nowhere. W. T. Everloving-F, dude? [/spoiler] Even when it was admitted to and moved on from, it still rubbed me wrong.
Altogether this wasn’t a bad way to spend a few hours, though. I mean, there is a hot hockey hero who has the bonus of being a great older brother and a very sympathetic nurse who knows how to plan kick-butt parties, plus the resolution is sweet and fairly believable. It’s not my favorite from Ms Barth, but I’m not sorry I read it, either.
Rating: 3 stars / C+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.
Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.
For information on books, new releases and more, visit her Website