a bum knee ended her soccer days, Alexandra – Allie – Kallen has
dedicated her life to helping injured athletes cope and get back in the
game. As the new team sports psychologist of the Las Vegas Sinners, she
starts out with just one player, but he’s a handful. Goalies are
stubborn, and she would know. She’s determined to figure him out and
return him to the net good as new, especially after she sent her last
patient back to the ice too soon. The problem is, she sees so much of
herself in Shane, and their chemistry is off the charts. Falling for him
isn’t in the plan. Is love worth losing her career?
Shane Reese’s entire identity has been wrapped up in being a goalie
since he was five years old. When he gets a high ankle sprain right
before playoffs, he doesn’t exactly take it well. After putting his fist
through the physical therapy room wall and hitting a few joking
teammates, he’s ordered to see the new shrink. All he has to do is
convince her he’s seen the light, and he can get back to defending his
team as soon as his ankle heals. The problem is, she sees through him
like no one he’s ever met, and the more time he spends with her, the
less hot he is to get back to the ice. Could something mean more than
stared at the glowing sign that read Red Rock Lanes. Why did she agree to this?
It was clearly a bad idea. Her responsible therapist side had no doubt about
the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the hopeful romantic she tried to keep
hidden was the one holding the car keys. What did Mac say? This was her heart
fighting back. She blew out a sigh. Might as well get it over with.
bowling alley was jumping for a Thursday night, but then again, Las Vegas was
one endless weekend. Shane stepped into view by the front desk and waved her
over. He’d erased the stubble from his chin and traded the t-shirt and shorts
from practice for dark-wash jeans and a white button-down shirt with the
sleeves rolled to the elbow. It glowed under the neon lights, and when he
smiled, his teeth had the same effect, kind of Cheshire Cat-like. He lifted his
voice over the music and sea of other voices. “What size shoes do you wear?”
Oops. Was he going to pay? She angled closer to protest but stopped. True, it
might be too much like a date if he paid, but he made more in a day than she
did in a month, and the effort to be heard over the ruckus wasn’t worth
preserving a small boundary. He’d invited her out as a friend. He could pay ten
bucks for her to bowl. But that was the last concession. If she kept it up, she
might reason herself into kissing him again. Wow, that kiss.
she could replay it for the hundredth time, she focused instead on Saralynn.
The younger Reese had opted for a billowy, hot pink, chiffon blouse, dark
skinny jeans and silver gladiator sandals. Her long, light brown hair was
pulled back in a ponytail. For most women, it was a typical first date outfit.
For Saralynn, it didn’t exactly add up. Way too much coverage, and no way Shane
had any say in what his sister wore. Curious.
eight saddle shoes appeared in Allie’s field of vision, and she took them from
Shane’s outstretched hand. “Thanks.”
dimples winked at her.
boy. Time to think of anything else. As the group walked toward their lane, she
took the opportunity to scope out Saralynn’s mystery date. Tall and lean, clean
cut with hipster glasses and a button-down plaid shirt. Pants so tight they
looked like leggings and Converse sneakers. She might not know Saralynn that
well, but this guy didn’t seem like her type. When they all sat on the
horseshoe bench by their lane to switch out their shoes, Hipster lifted his
head and smiled politely. “Hi, I’m Ted.”
Nice to meet you.” She glanced at Saralynn, whose entire attention remained on
ready to get started or what?” Saralynn hopped up to the monitor and touched
the screen to begin their game. Her name was at the top, so she selected a neon
orange ball, approached the line with a wobble, and rolled the ball right into
the gutter. Twice. “Oops. You’re up, Ned.”
corners of Ted’s eyes crinkled, but he didn’t correct her. Apparently,
Saralynn’s million-watt grin took the sting out of forgetting his name. He
ambled up, chose a green ball, and tip-toed to the line.
what do you think?” Shane’s husky voice rumbled in her ear, and she jumped.
so close? His shoulder brushed hers, and if she turned her head, they’d be nose
to nose. She pressed her lips together and stared down at her lap. “I think
she’s going to eat poor ‘Ned’ alive.”
laughed deep and throaty, and the sound shot a tingle down her spine. This
close, the citrus and musk of his cologne just about short-circuited her brain.
From the corner of her eye, she saw the pulse point at his neck and struggled
not to lean in and kiss it.
self-control. She slid over half a foot for some space and closed her eyes for
up, Allie,” Ted called as he sauntered back to the bench. According to the
scoreboard, he’d picked up an impressive spare that she’d missed entirely. And
so had Saralynn, who didn’t look up from her phone as Ted sat hip to hip with
lip and picked a purple ball. Ten pounds. She tested the weight in her hand.
Heavy but not overly. She made a not-so-graceful approach, but she drew her arm
back and aimed as straight as possible. She shifted from foot to foot as it
rolled along, and when all of the pins went down, she threw her arms in the air
and danced in a circle. “Whoo!”
I had you pegged for a gracious winner,” Shane said. He looked happier than
she’d ever seen him, even when he’d won that first game back. Her heart
held his hand up for a high-five in passing, and she obliged. His fingers
curled around hers briefly in a small squeeze. To observers, they were little,
casual gestures. Platonic. But she knew better. She took a seat and tried to
look anywhere except his butt as he leaned over and chose a ball, but the fit
of his jeans demanded attention. I am in so much trouble.
Thank you to Katie for reaching out for a review for another one of her books, On The Fly. As soon as I found out it was a hockey romance, I pounced and then was offered this one as well. I enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the other one.
We met Shane Reese, Reese as he is called, in On The Fly since is is Carter’s best friend and goalie of the Sinners. At the beginning of this story, we find out that Reese was injured and was required to meet with the team psychologist. Boy, to say he isn’t happy is an understatement. That is until he meets Dr. Kallen.
Dr. Allie Kallen moved to Vegas to work with the Sinners after her own sport injury to give back in a way that only someone who experienced a sport career ending injury can. At first, Allie is wondering if she made a mistake moving to Vegas but she begins to help the dance team and Reese. She knows that there is something Reese is repressing but she isn’t sure what since she had experienced an injury as well. When she realizes that there is something he is unaware of, she goes looking for the tape from when he was injured. She is able to pinpoint something that she is sure Reese isn’t aware of.
Reese and Allie were not prepared for the level of attraction that they have for each other and that leads to professional problems for both of them. However, they seem to find a way to respect the professional and personal aspects until one picture could ruin the whole thing.