From the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series comes the first novel of a new hockey romance series featuring a college team whose players are heating things up both on and off the ice.
The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where Jacob Flass thought he’d be a season ago. He was a rising star in the Canadian major junior league, cruising toward a spot on an NHL roster—until a single disastrous night on the town brought it all crashing down. Now he’s out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. He’s not supposed to be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick he’s ever met. But how could he possibly stay away?
Skylar Lynwood knows that Jacob is out of her league. She’s just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hunkiness is making a play for her one moment, then giving her the cold shoulder the next. Skylar’s head tells her that this rugged athlete isn’t worth her time, but her body says something altogether different. Risking her heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing she’s ever done . . . but she won’t let him shut her out.
Available June 7, 2016
What I thought about Shut Out
I have mixed feelings about this book and it's been very difficult to decide on a rating for it. This is my first book from this author.
All Jacob "Flash" Flass has ever wanted is to play hockey. When he gets in some trouble with a few teammates, he's made an example and kicked off the team. He is able to continue playing for a possible position in the NHL by attending Bayard College. He has to stay out of trouble though so he enlists the help of a young woman he has serious chemistry with -- Skylar Lynnwood.
When Skylar and Jacob meet at a party, they only have eyes for each other and a make-out session demonstrates just how volatile their chemistry can be. But Skylar has some past history that she's working through too, and they come to an agreement to just pretend to be a couple so they can stay focused on school, and Jacob can keep the puck bunnies away. Yeah, that pretend stuff never works, does it?
I've seen that plot idea before in other sports romances, so I was a bit disappointed with that. What I did like very much with this story was Skylar and Jacob together. They made a wonderful couple and that is what really saved this book for me. I needed to know whether they would be able to salvage their relationship in spite of what happened in their past.
This book is heavy with talk of date-rate, saying no, slut shaming, everything in this space. At times it felt like a college version of an afternoon special, and that turned me off somewhat even though this is an important topic. I just didn't care for the getting-hit-over-the-head quality to it. Your mileage may vary as they say.
When Skylar's best friend Ella finds out the details of what happened to Skylar, everything falls to pieces for Skylar and she's left picking up the pieces alone. She has a few life lessons to deal with too, and although there are some difficult times ahead for her and Jacob, I love how it was all resolved in the end.
So overall, there were aspects of this book I liked very much, but the voice of the story sometimes turned me off. The two main characters were very appealing, there was a twist I wasn't expecting, but that is balanced with the "public service announcement" voice of the story and a plot that I've seen done better in other sports romances.
ARC provided for review.