Series: Pilots Hockey # 1
Author: Sophia Henry
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Buy Links: Amazon - B&N - iTunes - Kobo
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She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.
Confession time... If you've seen my about me page, then you'll have figured out that I am a big hockey fan. What I don't say on that page was that my favorite hockey player was Russian. His accent... Swoon! In fact, when I met him in early 2000, he said something in Russian to a fellow player and I just about melted. So when Delayed Penalty came up on Netgalley, it immediately snatched my attention for two reasons... The first was, of course, hockey romance! The second reason? The hockey hero is Russian. Cue all my fangirl moments because this book was pretty much my fantasy for many years. The book itself left me a little conflicted, so once again, I'll be using bullet points.
- Aleksandr Varenkov - Oh, my gosh... Sophia, THANK YOU! Mad props for stepping out of the box and giving us a Russian hockey hero. As much as I love American and Canadian hockey players, Aleksandr brought me back to the years when I loved watching my beloved Oleg Tverdovsky skating on the ice. Although, I have to admit that I did take Aleksandr's traits and used Oleg was my image. It was inevitable. I adored Aleksandr. He was the total package... Sweet, funny, loving, patient, jealous... He stole the show for me.
- Auden Berezin - I hope this doesn't sound too weird, but I saw a lot of myself in Auden. Well, minus the fact that she is a Detroit Red Wings fan. That is all I'm saying about that... The funniest part of Auden is that I have the same pet peeve as she does in the book - players interviewed on the bench during games. If she was a real person, I would have given her a high 5 for that one. Preach on, girlfriend! I liked Auden as a character. The loss of her mother left her extremely wounded and sheltered. I liked watching her grow as a woman learning how to let her hair down and open her heart.
- Romance - Initially, I was a little disappointed about the romance between Auden and Aleksandr. This is a new adult hockey romance with a Russian hockey player. I was hoping for some sizzling scenes with words in Russian being shouted in the throes of passion. That was what I was looking forward to when I started the book. However, as it progressed, I loved the sweetness of the relationship. I loved that they took their time before jumping into bed. I loved that Aleksandr helped Auden come out of her shell as they in love. They were truly there for each other. By simply being there and listening, both characters were able to grow into who they become at the end of the book.
- Plot - This was where I was the most hesitant with the book. In all honestly, it felt as if there was too much going on and I got lost along the way. I wish there was more moments of Auden translating for Aleksandr. I loved those playful scenes at the beginning of the book. There were parts that I liked (Auden's friendship with Kristen, budding relationship with Aleksandr) and there were parts that I wish had been fleshed out more (Auden's friendship with Drew and Jason).
As I read Delayed Penalty, I quite enjoyed it. Sure, there were things that I would have changed, but there were so many aspects that I loved. It grabbed my attention from the moment I saw it (that cover) and held me captive while I read it. I loved the fact that Sophia went outside of the box (or rink, if you will) with a Russian hockey hero. Thank you for that! Fantastic debut book for Sophia and I am excited to see how she develops the rest of her Pilots series.
Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.