Slick’s Review – Cross Check (Bayard Hockey #2) by Kelly Jamieson

Ms. Jamieson did a great job of balancing the drama in their lives with the tender, sweet, and intimate moments giving Cross Check an even and realistic feel. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.

Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.

As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.

I’ve been a huge Kelly Jamieson fan for many years and I’ve enjoyed her work immensely, so it was easy for me to jump into her New Adult Banyard series and I’ve been very impressed. Having read the first book, Shut Out, I was well aware of the animosity between the hero and heroine featured in Cross Check. The thing I love about this series, is these characters are young, they make mistakes, sometimes they learn from them, sometimes they don’t, but they do grow, change, and begin to realize the world is bigger than them and being a part of it means accepting responsibility, opening their minds, and learning that respect, friendship, trust, and love can make it all better.

Following an incident that rocked her world, sent her reeling, and had her on the outs with her best friend, Ella went a bit out of control. Refusing to focus on everything bad in her life, Ella chose to numb the pain with alcohol, parties, and sex and it cost her. She begins her 2nd year of college on academic probation, word of her partying ways got back to her older brother who has threatened to tell their parents if she doesn’t change her ways, but more than that Ella realized that what she was doing made her feel empty and she’s determined to be a better student, to repair her relationship with her best friend, and to find peace for herself. What she doesn’t expect is for the hate she feels for Ben Buckingham (her best friend’s boyfriend’s roommate) to morph into something more. Ben is all too perfect; perfect hair, perfect clothes, and a superior attitude to match, but as Ella and Ben get to know one another they begin to see the person behind the façade they show to the world.

I enjoyed watching these two young people both who had not very high opinions of one another begin to realize that they had judged one another unfairly. While it was the heat and intensity between them that brought them together, it was discovering every little thing about one another that grew their friendship into much more. They made misjudgments, they made mistakes, but they were also big enough to admit them when they realized they were wrong which I greatly appreciated. While there was some young adult angst, given everything going on in their lives it was warranted and it wasn’t overly excessive. Ms. Jamieson did a great job of balancing the drama in their lives with the tender, sweet, and intimate moments giving this book an even and realistic feel.

Entertaining but also educational along with a side of romance, Cross Check is a fantastic addition to this exciting new adult hockey series.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

4.5 stars

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