Series: Tampa Suns Hockey #1
on March 12th, 2019
Genres: Sports Romance, Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
He wants out of the friend zone…she doesn’t believe in happily ever after.
Relationships are not in Lauren Gentry’s playbook. The only kind she’s willing to consider are friends-with-benefits and even a red-hot and sexy hockey player like Dave Martin isn’t going to change that. Right?
When those chocolate brown eyes threaten to melt her defenses she has to remind herself that demons from her past could rise up at any moment. Which is going to be pretty hard to do, since she loses herself every time they touch.
Dave used to love the benefits that came easily to professional athletes; especially when they were in the form of puck bunnies who only wanted one night. But when he meets the pint-sized girl with bewitching green eyes and sun-streaked auburn hair his outlook suddenly changes.
He wants forever with Lauren. Now he just has to convince her.
Can Lauren risk everything for the man she’s secretly been falling for? Or will her past stop her from taking a chance on love?
Healthy Scratch is one of my most anticipated reads for 2019. This is the Tampa Suns Hockey book 1 wherein we delve in the life of Lauren Gentry, BFF and business partner to Caryn Chadwick, the central character in books 1-3 of the Clearing the Ice series. Robyn Ryan has been teasing us about Lauren’s relationship with Pro Player Dave Martin, and when Dave gets traded to the Suns, and Lauren’s work life changes her “living” situation, their stars finally align. But it’s only the possibility of something more as they face not on what the once shared but also open questions about future opportunities and personal demons.
Lauren in not an easy girl to pin down. She’s very private and she’s lived very independently, with Caryn being one of her only confidants. When we catch up with her she is at a bit of a crossroads with a new professional opportunity that would change her entire life. This decision weighs heavy and she’s facing pressure from her family. Her sisters opinion is motivated by her own insecurities and bitterness. The thing is Lauren has such a good heart and tat is something that Mr Martin recognizes and wants very much hold onto a part of it, to provide a safe haven for this woman that he “could” fall in love with.
The growth of their relationship is hindered by Laurens deeply rooted fears of abandonment. Her childhood was pretty terrible and her teen years treacherous as she is the endures bullying. This is very much at odds with the woman she’s become and how she is seen by others. When the past comes roaring back to haunt her old insecurities tear at her and threaten to destroy the new foundation she’s built.
I loved this story and I think Robyn Ryan did a great job addressing the implications and impact of bullying/cyber-bullying. Dave and Lauren together are magical; they have amazing chemistry and in each other find an endearing and inspiring support system. 5 Stars and recommendation for this book and the Clearing the Ice series!
~Review by Cyndi