Review – Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1) by Rhonda James

I loved this sweet story of two people both of whom needed a friend forging that friendship and eventually turning it into more, there were ups and downs and some mistakes, but the common thread throughout this book is these two people needed one another in their lives. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

Description:
Brantley Cage is a standout D-man on Great Lakes University hockey team. Now that his dream of signing with the Detroit Red Wings has come true, his goals for senior year are simple: Work hard. Score big. Stay away from love.

And then he meets her. There’s just one problem. She’s the sister of his best friend, and he’s been warned that she’s off-limits…

Cassie Rivers is a musician desperately in need of a do-over. Leaving the past behind, she transfers to GLU in search of something, or someone, that inspires her.

And then she meets him. Her brother’s best friend and teammate. But according to the Bro Code he’s supposed to be off limits…

You’ve heard what they say about forbidden fruit… One taste is more addictive than one of them is ready to admit. Will he keep skating away from love? Or has this player finally found his Jersey Girl?

Review copy provided with no expectations

After reading an ARC of Rhonda James’ Fire and Ice the second book in her Sticks & Hearts series, I immediately went and 1-clicked the book I missed Jersey Girl and I’m so glad I did. This new adult series centers around the hockey team of Great Lakes University in Ann Arbor, Michigan and while they could be filled with a lot of new adult angst, the two I’ve read are filled with young people trying to find their way in the world, of youthful relationships turning to more, of friendship and camaraderie, and of making mistakes and learning from them. I enjoyed the 2nd books so much that I knew I had to get the full story of Cassie and Brantley and I’m so glad I did. I loved this sweet story of two people both of whom needed a friend forging that friendship and eventually turning it into more, there were ups and downs and some mistakes, but the common thread throughout this book is these two people needed one another in their lives. The friendship was truly special which made the physical even more special, and while they faced some problems because her big brother was his best friend, they both were willing to do whatever it takes to be together.

After leaving an abusive relationship Cassie Rivers has relocated to GLU in hopes of reconnecting with her big brother, Scott, and moving on with her life. After totally embarrassing herself with one of his roommates Brantley Cage she is determined to just try and enjoy college life, but she’s struggling in her classes, she’s struggling emotionally, and she’s struggling making friends so when Brantley offers his friendship and nothing more she jumps at it and then life gets very interesting for them both.

I really loved this book because while they were attracted to one another and Brantley was determined to keep his hands off Cassie because of the whole “bro code” they really got to know one another well. It was fascinating watching them both open up about everything going on in their lives, and sharing secrets about all kinds of things and I loved the close intimacy between them even before they got sexual with one another. It was so easy to see they were both falling for one another and while Cassie would love nothing more than a full out relationship with Brantley; he’d been burned before and was very, very gun shy.

Each moment they spent together you could feel their bond growing stronger and it really was inevitable that they eventually got physical, while I do think Cassie sold herself short offering Brantley a no strings arrangement, the fact that he was never with anyone other than her should have been a good clue to both of them that there was more to them than friends with benefits. They both made some mistakes, but I do feel like they both learned something from them and to be honest these two were made for one another. Brantley was her hero, her champion, and her confidant. Cassie was the balm that soothed his soul, his light and his best friend. Seriously, I really do sigh when I think about the special bond these two had together.

There was so much I loved about Jersey Girl and while Rhonda James is a new to me author, she is definitely one I am keeping my eye on.

4.5 stars

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