ARC Review & Giveaway – Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology (Chicago Rebels 0.5)

The Hot On Ice Anthology features eighteen top notch authors and a fictional hockey team The Cajun Rage fresh off their Stanley Cup victory. These books go from sweet and flirty to sexy and raunchy,you are welcome!! ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

Download your copy of HOT ON ICE now for only 99¢. A great read for a great cause!

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Description:
*** Pre-order now for only 99 cents! Price goes up the week after release. ***

18 brand new sexy stories from bestselling authors, every one too steamy for the penalty box . . .

20% of royalties from sales of Hot on Ice will go to Homes for our Troops, a charity that builds specially modified homes for injured veterans.

Get ready to fall in love with the smokin’ hot hockey players of the New Orleans Cajun Rage. After this season’s Cinderella run all the way to the Finals, these heroes have won the Cup—and now your heart is the goal.

FREE AGENT, USA Today Best Seller Robin Covington – Finally out, he thought he knew his next step . . . until the man he might not be able to resist puts a sexy offer on the table.

BODY CHECK, USA Today Bestseller Desiree Holt – The Cup, the girl, and the future-could he make them all come together?

DEEP CHECK, USA Today Bestseller Kimberly Kincaid – There’s no such thing as in too deep…

BLOCKED, USA Today Bestseller Heather Long – He needs to clean up his reputation . . . Can this bad boy keep the pop princess safe?

RANSOM, USA Today Bestseller Nana Malone – The last thing he wants is to be stranded in a cabin with the one girl he’s always wanted.

CAGED, USA Today Bestseller Virginia Nelson – She plans to melt the ice king’s heart and prove she’s just the girl to go skate to skate with him, whether he likes it or not.

BREAKAWAY BROOKE, Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Angi Morgan – Can he convince this Amazon beauty to stop fighting her erotic powers long enough to play his game?

THE WARM UP, Xio Axelrod – Toss a stoic defenseman, a no-nonsense nurse, and a ward full of crafty children in a Cup and anything can happen.

CHECK MY HEART, Christi Barth – The only thing that will make him happy again is the one woman he can’t have . . .

FULL CONTACT, Andie J. Christopher – This player has a bounty on his virginity. She has him up against the boards.

BLADE, Avery Flynn – Sometimes the line between love and insanity is as thin as an ice skate’s blade.

UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN, Kim Golden – When it comes to the game of love, he’s playing to win.

COURAGE, Lena Hart – This hot-tempered coach is fully prepared to fight for his wife—but can he win back her heart?

PENALTY BOX BLUES, Robin Kaye – The only woman who knows his secret can slam his heart against the boards with a sideways glance. He is so pucked.

BEAR NAKED, Katie Kenyhercz – When he sets his sights on a goal, it’s only a matter of time.

IN SKATES TROUBLE, Kate Meader – Can a passion that started in the dark find a lifetime of love in the light?

MAKING HIS MOVE, Susan Scott Shelley – Making impossible saves is easy compared to falling in love.

CHECKING YES, Misty D. Waters – She’ll send him to the penalty box, and keep him there . . . for good this time.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review

The Hot On Ice Anthology features eighteen top notch authors and a fictional hockey team The Cajun Rage fresh off their Stanley Cup victory. These books go from sweet and flirty to sexy and raunchy,you are welcome!!

Free Agent by Robin Covington 4.5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Robin Covington turns up the heat big time in Free Agent her first ever gay (M/M) romance. Jamie “DC” Washington is fresh off his teams Stanley Cup win and taking the cup to Washington, DC to meet some very special kids while he and his agent talk with the DC team’s management about next season. Since coming out at the beginning of the season Jamie’s life has changed and while his current team the Cajun Rage has offered him plenty of support he’s ready to move back “home” and to be closer to the community center that gave him everything he needed as a boy to achieve his dreams. Finding the sexy physical therapist from the team, Etienne, on his flight headed to visit friends is a bonus and the opportunity to finally make a move even if the timing sucks. This was a fantastic story about coming out and owning who you are, but it was also about making a difference. I loved that DC felt he had a responsibility to the kids he did volunteer work with and that gave him the courage to be out and proud. The attraction between DC and Etienne was combustible, but I appreciated that DC wanted Etienne to see the things that were important to him; he wanted to share his reasons for coming out, he wanted him to see past their attraction. I loved how Etienne not only respected DC for what he put himself through the past year, but that he also wanted to show him it was okay to be out, enjoy his sexuality, and have fun. While there was no doubt the physical worked between them, it was the respect and admiration between them that led them down the road to more. It is always fun watching an author spread their writing wings and Robin Covington just proved she can write gay romance with the best of them.

Body Check by Desiree Holt 3.5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Ever since he was 10 years old Matt Vorchak dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup, more than that he was obsessed with it, and he spent years trying to get to that level at the expense of every personal relationship he had. He neglected his family and asked his girlfriend to understand the cup was the most important thing to him and he asked her to understand and wait, but Lizzie St. John declined his not so carefully worded request to wait. As a member of the Cajun Rage, Matt has won the cup but he suffered a career ending injury and must take stock in the fact that he has nothing left because of his stupid, selfish ways. In Body Check we watch Matt try and repair his relationship with his family and win back the woman he realizes he has always loved. He makes some critical miscalculations even though his intentions are good, but he just doesn’t seem to realize how badly his actions hurt Lizzie. I enjoyed watching him figure out how to make amends and put others first for a change. However, there was one big issue with this story; the Stanley Cup always, always travels with a keeper and the keeper must be with the cup at all times when it is out in public and in this story the keeper was nowhere to be found. I had a hard time letting that go especially when Matt allowed other people to handle the cup without him or anyone from the NHL around. So in that regards the story was a bit of a disappointment and Matt wasn’t the easiest person to like and Lizzie, well for me she let him off the hook to easily. I enjoyed that this book was set in San Antonio and the fact that we did see the hero grow and make changes in his life, but the story was a bit repetitive and the cup handling disappointing.

Deep Check by Kimberly Kincaid 4.5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Deep Check by Kimberly Kincaid has Cajun Rage’s Finnegan Donnelly returning to his hometown of Remington to with the Stanley Cup with only one thing in mind to show his deceased friend Asher that he’d done it, he’d won the cup with him team and he never would have made it had it not been for his friend’s unwavering confidence in him and to apologize for the incident that cost them their friendship 7 years ago. What Finn doesn’t expect is to come face to face with January Sinclair, his other one time best friend, and find making amends with January might prove to be the hardest and best thing he’s ever done in his life. I enjoyed this story quite a bit, but most of all the fact that Finn realized he needed to make things right with January and the fact that she didn’t make it hard for him to do so. They had history, but they put it behind them to move forward. I loved the way January’s friends and co-workers embraced Finn and made him feel “at home” in a place he’d only ever wanted to leave and in doing so gave him the peace he needed to see exactly what he wanted in his life. Heartwarming yet sensually sexy I loved Deep Check.

Blocked by Heather Long 5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
A chance meeting of two high profile individuals sparks a fast and furious romance in Heather Long’s Blocked. Winning the Stanley Cup was bittersweet for Archer Durham; while great for his career and the team, he was sad his mother wasn’t alive to see him achieve his dream. In New York to visit his mother’s grave and take “The Cup” to a Broadway musical in her memory, Archer steps in to help the newest pop princess, Hoshi Sato, when she is accosted by the paparazzi over her brother’s arrest something he knows his mother would be proud of. This story was on the sweeter side of romance, but it was perfect for this couple. Archer had a very scandalous reputation and Hoshi had led a very sheltered life up until she won the reality show that launched her singing career. I loved that Archer showed her a very different side than the media portrayed and also that Hoshi judged him by the way he treated her, not by what she had seen or heard of him in the past. Refreshing and sensual, I loved this feel good romance!

Ransom by Nana Malone 5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
By far, one of my favorite books I have read in this series. Nana Malone seriously had me wondering how she was going to get Ransom and Lexa to see eye-to-eye and give them a happily-ever-after. But, she did and I couldn’t have been happier.
Ransom Cox and Lexa Carlisle were both dealt a hard hand in life. Both of them are insecure. One doesn’t feel they are worthy of love and the other is just looking for someone to love them for who they are. Misunderstandings, paparazzi and goals tear them apart and it’s up to Ransom to fix the mess that he made.
I loved the way Nana Malone brought these characters together. I loved the unrequited love story of both of them. I loved that there was no dog-and-pony show with the cup in this book since it seriously didn’t fit the man that Ransom was. I loved the family ties that were so wonderfully described. I have a love/hate relationship with the way the story ended, though and hope that I could find the next book in The Player series to find out what happened.

Caged by Virginia Nelson 4.5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
In Virginia Nelson’s Caged two friends are reunited when one returns to the town he left years before to honor his parent’s memory with the Stanley Cup. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like the hero in this story Oliver Tremblay, but as this story unfolded it became evident he really was a good guy who made some bad decisions at a very low point in his life. Maisie Miller was a trip and it was easy to like her as well as wonder if she could share the happy pills you assume she took on a regular basis, but it was hard to fault her eternal optimism which was exactly what Oliver needed. These two had a complicated history and while they had many, many wonderful memories it was overshadowed by a day that changed both of their lives forever. Finding their way back to one another and moving past the incident and events that tore them apart proved to be easy with forgiveness and hopefulness of the life they both once dreamed of. Caged was both a sweet and emotional romance.

Breaking Brooke by Angi Morgan 4 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
Okay, then. Angi Morgan shocked me with this little story but I truly enjoyed reading it. Who would have thought that a touch of the supernatural would mix well with hockey?
As you can tell from the rest of these stories, they are mostly centered around a player and the time that he has with The Cup after winning it. So, no mystery there. The mystery in Deacon and Brooke’s story is about the threats against the cup and the woo-woo surrounding them. I was amazed at just how interesting this story was even though I was a little skeptical. But, Brooke and Tripp were fun. His family, not so much. Her family … well, let’s just say that’s where the woo-woo comes in. But, they did make things quite original and interesting.
Angi Morgan did a nice job of giving us a unique story. Short and sweet, the story included a little magic and a little mystery; a hot hockey player and a sweet woman. I was a little perplexed in some parts and that took a little away from the story for me. But, all in all, I truly enjoyed watching Brooke sweep Deacon “Tripp” Sanders off his feet … literally.

The Warm Up by Xio Axelrod 4.5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
Finally, a book in this series about a love that that is new and exciting. No long, lost love in The Warm Up but a love at first site for two people who deserve it in their lives.
Constantine Zimin and SujiMeriweatherdeal with their own kind of hells. Zim, losing his twin sister. Suji, being the Head Nurse in the Pediatric Unit and watching “her” children come and go. There is no room in either of their lives for a relationship. Suji isn’t ready for another let down or being left behind. Zim is a private person who wants to do nothing but help the children and families that need it. Together they could be a force of nature and Zim does not want to know what would happen if they part. He’s never had this feeling. He’s never thought that a woman could complete him. But, Suji has and he is not going to let her go. They will find a way to make it work between New Orleans and Philadelphia and make a life together.
The Warm Up was explosive. I got to enjoy a little bit of my home state where hockey is as big as football and baseball. And, Xio Axelrod made it very easy to enjoy the relationship between these two, beautiful people. Yes, The Cup made its appearance with Eddie and two Cup Guards. I am starting to believe that it’s the magic of The Cup making all his hot men fall in love.

Check My Heart by Christi Barth 4.5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Fueled by grief Kurt Lundquist had a one track mind to win the Stanley Cup with his team, now after fulfilling that promise he’s at a crossroads in his life until the day he crosses paths again with Lisette Broussard, the hospice nurse who helped his family through a difficult time. This was an interesting story because of their shared history and the grief that overshadowed most everything in their lives, yet it was also hopeful. They both were unsure of how to relate to one another outside of their prior connection and a lot of signals got crossed along the way, but it was evident that Lisette made Kurt happy and she enjoyed his company immensely. While there was a bit of a screw-up on his part that added a bit of angst to the story, it wasn’t overdone and he was man enough to admit he was wrong. I liked that they really spent time getting to know one another better and that in planning a party on Kurt’s day with the cup for a team that meant so much to his deceased loved one, helped them both heal. Kurt’s desire to help Lisette find her dream job even though he was at fault for the one she didn’t get and her encouragement of his desire to forge a new path for himself cemented the fact that their feelings ran way deeper than they were ready to admit. Playful and emotional, Check My Heart was a very unique story in this anthology.

Full Contact by Andie J. Christopher 4.5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
Full Contact took me totally off guard. Andie J. Christopher really surprised me, made me chuckle and had me lose respect for his teammates and Edwin Motz.
I wasn’t sure where this story was going or how we were going to get there. Talk about opposites attracting. Anders and Dahlia were so much not alike that I was really skeptical. One of them coming off a bad relationship and the other never really being in one was interesting. The reason for the cup was even more original than the others. This story was filled with decisions, indecisions and some kinky sex. But, the one thing I wasn’t surprised about was the HEA.
I enjoyed Andie J. Christopher’s story and her writing. She wrote a strong female character and a man that endured a lot in his personal and professional life. She let us see their insecurities and their strong points. She did a wonderful job in such a short time, of bringing two deserving people together in a way that shed a new light on love at first sight.

Blade by Avery Flynn 5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Blade is a second chance love story featuring a couple with a precarious past and a very interesting hear and now. Goalie Flynn Kazakov has no idea he is about to be set up for stealing The Stanley Cup when it is in his hometown, but ex-lover and ex-cat burglar Gillie Pike plans on repaying a debt she feels she owes him. Man these two burn up every surface they touch and it was easy to feel the intensity between them. The suspense plot added interest and also brought in Gillie’s brother Marko (a crossover from Flynn’s B-Squad series). I’m always a fan of the grand gesture when someone screws up and this book offers up a fantastic one. A bit of suspense and a whole lot of sexy, I loved Blade by Avery Flynn.

Under The Midnight Sun by Kim Golden 3.5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
I was so excited to finally meet and get to know Jonas Magnussen. The Iceman. Zim’s best friend. What I got was just a glimpse of the man and the woman who held his heart.
I, unfortunately, was a little bit let down with Jonas’ story. I felt there was so much more to him than what we got. After being tackled on the ice, he knew, deep down, that his career was over. Was warned by the doctors what a 4th concussion could do to him. As he brings The Cup to Sweden, he finds his Mariam in the airport and can’t believe it. Now he has to find a way to reconnect with her.
Mariam is shocked, stunned, thrilled that Jonas is back home. Then she finds out that it is only for 24 hours and she’s not surprised that he’s still following his dream and leaving her behind. Staggered that he is showing up with The Cup at her center, it takes everything in her to act professional as he is given a tour of the facilities. But, all it takes it 2 minutes alone and she is all over him and inviting him to visit her. One thing leads to another and he’s asking her to decide if she wants him to stay in Sweden. And, that’s the end of his career.
I was a little lost throughout the story and had some trouble with the timeline. There was a lot of emphasis on the schedule that they had to keep as it was set up by the PR people for the Cajun Rage. One minute the schedule couldn’t be changed, the next it was changed then the next it was changed again. There was a mention of a 10 am appearance then he’s getting on a plane at 4 am. Unfortunately, I was a bit confused with the way the story flowed.

Courage by Lena Hart 5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
After reading the first chapter in Courage, I was wondering just where Lena Hart was going to take this story. Luckily, she took it where I hoped she would.
Courage was a story about a love that was almost lost, the path to finding it again, the courage to following that path, and understanding just what the other one needs. The name of the book wasn’t lost on me even though it was the name of the Cajun Rage’s coach. It took a lot of work and understanding but, Mason and Juliette do find their way back to each other, with a little help, an adorable Queenie and a wonderful boy named Jeremy.
Lena Hart did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. She focused on the saving of the marriage but also brought in Madison’s (Queenie) exuberance and Jeremy’s Autism. The story was angsty at times, fun at times and extremely enjoyable.

Penalty Box Blues by Robin Kaye 5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
One word stood out the minute I started Penalty Box Blues…KARMA and no, it’s not what you think. Karma is a person, a woman to be exact, and she is a force to be reckoned with and once again Karma decides to play matchmaker for her friends hockey star Stryker Gyllenhaal and the woman who tutored him through his difficult college years, Trish Reynolds. Bringing the cup back to Boise was a deal Stryker made with Karma years ago and now he has a debt to pay Karma and hope that the secret only Trish knows about him stays secret. Trish has had a crush on Stryker since the years she tutored him and lately as she has tried to visualize her life Stryker’s image has been the man she imagines in her life, a place holder for lack of a better word, even though she knows he is way out of her league. Stryker can’t believe the woman picking him up and assigned to him as his “handler” during his time in Boise is Trish because she looks nothing like the little librarian she use to, she’s all grown up and she affects him in ways he never imagined, but he knows a brainiac like her has no use for a dumb jock like him. Oh how I loved that both these talented and special people thought they weren’t good enough for one another and how quickly their friendship along with intense attraction. This was a packed book with Karma running Stryker and Trish ragged with her publicity junket, but between events they found time to get to catch up with each other’s lives and get to know each other way better than they ever had before. I loved seeing the characters from Ms. Kaye’s Wild Thing series, but readers who haven’t had the pleasure of reading that series will not be lost. Excitement, friendship, sexy times, and a whole lot of fun this author packed a lot into her first release in almost two years; reading Penalty Box Blues was like coming home and made me realize how much I’ve missed this author and her work!

Bear Naked byKatie Kenyhercz 4.5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
I was a little bit scared when I started Bear Naked. It starts with a glossary of terms from the Mi’kmaq. I was worried that I would have a hard time following the story. I was wrong. The terms were used in a way that you understood what they would have meant even without the glossary. With that said, Bear and Aria’s story was beautiful.
Heart-breaking and sad at times, Bear Naked had everything you could ask for in a story. A man willing to make whatever sacrifices he has to so that he could win his one true love back. A woman whose heart is as guarded as it could get. Families that are there to support and encourage. Bear and Aria were volatile and sweet. The room heated up whenever they were in it together and the village of Bear Mountain were just waiting until everything combusted.
Another new-to-me author stole my heart. The story, even though it’s a common theme, was written very well. Katie Kenyhercz made it original and I loved that she wrote a strong woman who knew how to cross-check and bring this Bear of a hockey player down.

In Skates Trouble by Kate Meader 5 stars (reviewed by Slick)
Kate Meader’s In Skates Trouble would easily melt the ice on any rink. Whew…from this couple’s first anonymous encounter to the promise of more at the very end of this book, this was one smokin’ hot love story. There was something incredibly sensual and enticing when Ford Callaghan and Addison Williams first engage in conversation and that continues when they finally meet face to face. Ford is six years younger than Addison, but he not only proves he knows how to treat a woman, but he respects every little thing about the life Addison has built and he supports her choices no matter what. Their association is made difficult due to someone they both know, but Ford is determined to make Addison see he won’t hide their relationship. Their intense chemistry and the absolute need they had for one another brought them together, but it was the mutual admiration, respect, and desire to see each other happy that made their relationship possible. Meader’s ability to draw readers into a story immediately and make them want to be friends with her characters is an added bonus. I loved every minute of In Skates Trouble!

Making His Move by Susan Scott Shelley 5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
I loved this short story by Susan Scott Shelley. It was fun and interesting. It’s Rod Fraser, back-up goalie for the Cajun Rage’s day with The Cup. Out of all of the stories that I have read in the Hot On Ice series, this was one of the most sentimental and put a real smile on my face.
Rod comes from a long line of hockey players. His father won The Cup when he played, his brother Dylan plays for the hometown team. They always had a dream of playing together, on the same ice, on the same team. But, Dylan knows that his time is becoming limited. He knows he’s good enough to be the starting goalie … he just needs to find a team to believe that too. He really doesn’t want to leave Holiday, his family or the girl that held his heart for the last 12 years … even if she didn’t know it.
Arielle was tired of sitting on the sidelines while the man in her life follows his dreams. After a really bad break-up with a hockey player, she doesn’t know if she’s ready to end up in the arms of another one chasing his dreams. But, how does she say no to Rod? When The Cup comes and the festivities are on the way, He shows up and starts making Arielle doubt what she and Rod have and his true intentions.
As his time at home starts coming to an end, as all his prospects start drying up, a miracle happens and he gets the news he was hoping he would get, Arielle walks away from him and takes all the joy out of him playing for his home team, on the same ice as his brother, on the same team that his father won The Cup with.
So, a little angst but a lot of sentimentality in this story. I loved Rod and his devotion to his life, his family and the game. I loved how much he loved coffee and the part it played in this story. Susan Scott Shelly wrote a novella that covered everything the past, present and the future.

Checking Yes by Misty D. Waters 5 stars (reviewed by Kitty Angel)
I actually sang a song in my head through Checking Yes. Misty D. Waters brought me back to my teenage years with this story. Granted, none of my boyfriends were hockey players and none of them were as cute and amazing as Cooper Banks but, I definitely remember those times in high school when the notes were being passed.
Cooper and Savannah Jane had their work cut out when it came to rekindling their lost love. With parents interfering, the town against him and reporters everywhere, did they even stand a chance? As the truth comes out, families fall apart, families come together again, rumors spread, Cooper tries to hang on to the only person that makes him whole. But, she refuses to check “yes”.
I adored this story and the ending was to die for. Savannah Jane finally had her dreams in her hand and the permission to go after them. Misty D. Waters did a wonderful job of describing this little town in Georgia and of making us understand the status symbols of being a southern belle. I loved watching Savannah Jane get a backbone and hated watching Coopers dreams go down the drain. But, as I said, I loved, loved, loved the ending … shades of a baseball movie that I love as well.

4.5 stars overall

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