I found Van’s life story interesting, but the annoying heroine made this book hard to finish. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures
Score one for the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team as a stone-cold badass melts for a woman who makes his blood run hot.
As one of the league’s toughest enforcers, Van Turner is ruthless on the ice. He plays hard because it’s the only way to channel the rage boiling inside, and a reputation as an A-hole is better than everyone knowing the truth. Van has spent his entire life running from a secret that’s kept him from getting involved in relationships—or accepting lucrative deals with East Coast teams. Then the Carolina Cold Fury makes him an offer he can’t refuse . . . and Van meets a woman he can’t resist.
Simone Fournier is the stubborn one in her family—and that’s saying something, considering her brothers are two of the Cold Fury’s biggest stars. Simone gets what she wants, and what she wants is Van. Still, there’s a part of him Simone can’t reach, no matter how hard she tries. In private, he’s all fire and passion. In public, he freezes her out. Van may want to push her away, but Simone won’t let him go that easily. Because this time, she’s playing for keeps.
I wasn’t sure about reading Van since I had such a hard time with the last book in this series, Lucas, but I decided to give it a try and it was marginally better. The funny thing is I was worried I wouldn’t like Van (the man) very much, but instead it was his love interest Simone that got on my every last nerve and I give Van a lot of credit for being able to put up with her bratty, selfish ways. I will admit at times I felt cheated as it ran somewhat concurrently with Lucas and thus a lot of the incidents that occurred were not new.
From the minute his roommate and team mate’s sister, Simone, enter their house Van knew she was trouble; he just had no idea how much trouble. I have to give Van a lot of credit for warding off Simone’s almost sexual harassment level advances and trying to be the voice of reason and a good guy. Van is no saint, but he also knows that Simone is at a crossroads in her life, she is young, and she is impulsive and Van knows he can’t be the man she wants him to be.
I’ll be flat honest in saying that I really didn’t like Simone a whole lot for the majority of this book. She did soften some and I do think she was good for Van in that she was a voice of reason when he needed it. In this way her tenacity paid off, but most of the time it just made her seem like a brat. I believe she fell hard and fast for Van and he did seem to understand her more than anyone else in her life, but I hoped to see her mature and own up to some of her less than stellar actions and that didn’t really happen and in fact her impulsive decision made her miss one of the most important events in her brother’s and Van’s life.
Van was a complicated character and given his background that wasn’t surprising. There was no doubt that his childhood left him scared and I hated that he put himself back in the path of it and really got no resolution. I loved his Aunt Etta and everything she had done for him including showing him how to love someone unconditionally, but she couldn’t protect him from the past. I was impressed that he opened up to Simone when he’d never done so with anyone else in her life and yes, she impressed me by giving him the understanding and care he deserved in that time. I hurt for Van and was glad to see him finally make peace with everything that happened to make him into the man he is today and realize that despite it all, he is worthy of friendship and love.
Overall, I did enjoy this book but for about the first 50% of it I was contemplating not finishing it as I found Simone’s action to be annoying and because it was concurrent with Lucas is was repetitive, but Van’s life interested me so I kept on and I’m glad I did.