“I adore you, Jules. And I know I’ll adore you even more tomorrow, and more the day after that.”
SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!! I can’t stop smiling!!!!!! This was such a gorgeous, SWOOOOOOOOONY book! The hero was a famous hockey player who fell head over heels in love with a normal girl. She was raising three young kids alone and he swept into her life and fell for all of them!! This was a perfectly balanced romance novel from start to finish. It had the SWOON, it brought the HEAT, it dished out the ANGST, and tied everything together with gorgeous FEELS. I absolutely LOOOOOOVED IT!!! Kind of a Cinderella romance with a sporty twist!!! Definitely a new top favorite!
… A romantic at heart, Max believes in love; he’s just not great at relationships. So when he finally meets a nice girl who’s not blinded by his celebrity, he’s feeling the heat—and the pressure to save her from herself.
Between working two jobs and raising her sister’s kids, Julianne Bradley doesn’t have time for sports—or men. All she knows about Max is that he’s the sexiest customer to ever grace her gas-station counter. And he sees past her tired eyes and makes Jules yearn for things she can’t have: a glamorous fling, a passionate lover, and the time to enjoy both. Max makes her feel like Cinderella, even though Jules has enough baggage to crush a glass slipper. Luckily, he’s no prince—only a fierce competitor determined to win her heart.
Max and Julia couldn’t have been more different. Max was a famous and successful professional hockey player whose life was in the spotlight — fame and recognition were an unavoidable, if unwelcome, part of his daily life. Meanwhile Jules was struggling to make ends meet juggling jobs to help support her late sister’s three young children who were now under her sole care. When they met, she had no idea who he was and for that and so many other reasons, he couldn’t help but be drawn to her.
He was determined to date her, but the kids were her top priority and she couldn’t imagine how dating could fit into her already exhausting life. However, he wasn’t daunted and made every effort to find a way for them to be together. And I have to say that watching this big famous goalie fall so completely in love for this woman and her three little charges was heart-warming on a whole other level.
“That kiss,” he says, his voice deeper than I’ve ever heard before and his hand tightened its hold on my ponytail.
“Yeah, that kiss,” I agree dreamily.
“Just the beginning, Jules,” he whispers before leaning in one more time and brushing his lips against my temple.
Max was pure swoon material. He was adorably sweet and caring — definitely the kind of guy who will steal your heart in a minute. And I loved that he wasn’t afraid to admit his feelings for her and he wasn’t scared by the intensity of how he felt for her either.
Jules was a wonderful heroine. Responsible, practical, dedicated, and just with a really good head on her shoulders. She devoted herself to the kids with everything she had, and handled the stress of suddenly having her life thrust into the spotlight with understandable levels of wariness and maturity.
Speaking of that, OH MY GOD. The thing I loved MOST about this book was how freaking MATURE this couple was. Seriously. Between the ugly side of fame, gossip columns, and just their vast differences, Max and Jules had a lot of pretty big issues to work through but I can’t tell you enough how MATURE they were. There were sooooo many times when their issues could easily have spiraled out into stupidity but EACH TIME they were faced with challenges, they approached them with a level-headed stability that was SO REFRESHING in a romance novel.
I stand up, now angry at her leap from this article to even remotely hinting I view her that way. “That is not fair, Jules.”
She throws her arms out in frustration. “I know it’s not. But I’m operating on an overload of emotion right now. Give me some latitude.”
… I step in to her, slip my arms around her waist and look right into her eyes. “I’m sorry someone hurt you. It hurts me that you’re hurt.”
She nods in understanding. “I’m sorry I took my bitch-moment out on you.” “I think I can handle it,” I tell her.
Not to mention that once they got serious, things got veryyyyy steamy!!
Max’s hands come to mine. They grip my fingers and halt my actions.
I look up to him.
“You get my jeans open,” he growls at me, “I’m not going to be able to stop. I’m not a saint, Jules.”
I smile at him, lean in and give him a light kiss. “You are a saint, Max. You’re an absolute saint. But right now… I’m completely fine with you sinning.”
I feel like I can’t even say this enough times — but they faced the challenged that came their way TOGETHER with logic, understanding, and they just really acted responsably. It was so wonderful reading about characters that I could respect like this. And they really did have a lot to overcome. They came from such different worlds — she was poor, he was rich, she was a guardian, he was single and unattached, she was unknown to the world, he was famous, and with that fame came the ugliness of gossip that tested their newfound relationship. But I can honestly say that I absolutely loved the way they handled their challenges.
It really didn’t hit me until I walked into this arena tonight with the kids.
My boyfriend plays professional hockey.
My boyfriend is Max Fournier… the starting goalie for the Carolina Cold Fury.
Not once in the past five weeks have I really had that sink in, and it’s probably because Max and I haven’t really spent much time together, but our developing relationship was never about something like that. It was about a man seeing a woman who he wanted to help and lift up, and a woman taking a chance on a man who believed in her.
But here… listening to the fans chant his name or scream at the top of their lungs when he makes a great save… it’s a heady feeling knowing that he’s mine.
You can read this book as a complete standalone. It is part of the Carolina Cold Fury Hockey series (which is a series of interconnected standalones), but I read this book separately without reading any of the other ones and I was completely fine with all the content and never confused. It really can be read separately with no issue.
This was EXACTLY the kind of book I was looking for! It had a gorgeous, sweet, caring Alpha hero, a level-headed, understanding heroine, a hot, sexy romance, and a genuinely wonderful, heart-warming story! I LOVED IT!!
Rating: 4.5 stars!! Adult Romance. Can standalone.