Avon Impulse, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-06-2666247-7
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Let me point out that this review is even more subjective than your average review, because Mister Hockey isn’t actually bad enough to warrant a two oogie score. Under other circumstances – such as me being not so me-ish – this one may get a three oogie score. It’s familiar, easy to read, and have some sexy times that is a bit steamier than the usual mainstream contemporary romance. But the heroine Briana “Breezy” Angel is a big klutz, pulling the story into slapstick comedy often, and she is also a bug-eyed, creepy fan of the hero, hockey superstar Jed West, and thanks to her being what she is, this story has a strong stench of the eau de self-insert fanfiction to it.
Jed West is the captain of the Denver Hellions, and he is also so hot that he’s on the hottest hunk ever list of Cosmo. Wait, people still read
magazines Cosmo these days? Anyway, he is having an interview with sports columnist Neve Angel when they are interrupted by a panicked phone call from Neve’s sister Breezy. Breezy, a librarian, is scheduled to have Jed’s head coach in her place for a special reading session, but the man’s flight is delayed, and now there are going to be some heartbroken kids unless Neve can come up with a solution. Since Jed is within her arm’s reach, Neve gets Jed into agreeing to be the substitute VIP. Of course, it is stars in his eyes at first sight when he sees Breezy.
Alas, Breezy is pretty sure that Jed will never like her! Yes, this is another story where the author is fishing for compliments for her heroine by insisting disingenuously that the heroine is nowhere as close to being the hot babe that the hero insists she is. Also, Breezy is an all-out klutz. She has a wardrobe malfunction when she meets Jed, slams the door at his face, accidentally shows him her collection of masturbatory aids and lube, and on and on. I think I’m supposed to laugh, but I can only cringe and wonder how Breezy wasn’t killed by getting six shelves of books falling on top of her on her first day of work.
The heroine’s slapstick Looney Tunes show actually trivializes poor Jed’s health issues, which is a shame as he’s actually a very appealing hero. Not much angst or chauvinism from him, he’s just a fun guy with a sense of humor and some charming, roguish moments. By being paired to a creepy, stammering, often flummoxed bag of nerves who keep stumbling and bumbling all over the place, his entire story arc is unfortunately reduced to being the participation trophy for a bug-eyed mess who gets a hot man only because she’s the designated romance heroine.
So, at the end of the day, Mister Hockey will appeal more to readers who don’t mind or even enjoy reading about a mess like Breezy. Seriously, even her name sounds like something out of self-insert fanfiction. Folks who are like me have best proceed with caution, though. The hero is adorable, but watch out for the heroine.