Review: Hooked

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Hooked by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet, fun and sexy great elements for a great read.

“When I’m with you, everything else melts away. I don’t obsess about hockey or get irritated by anything. There’s just you, and that gorgeous smile I’m hooked on.”

NHL star Jake Birch’s womanizing ways have caught up him and now he’s being strong-armed into dating the owner’s daughter or face the bench and it couldn’t have happened at a more inconvenient time. After too many years of women throwing themselves at him because of his money and star status he’s finally met the one who makes him feel alive, sees through his façade and won’t take his nonsense. Can he be enough for her? Can he convince her to take a chance on them?

“The more I get to know her, the more interested I get. Beneath the sass and spark I like so much, Miranda is a strong, driven woman. Before meeting her, I couldn’t have put into words exactly what I wanted in a woman. I can now, though. I want her.”

Miranda wants nothing to do with men and has one goal and one goal only which has nothing to do with hockey or a sexy bad boy. She’s working hard to put herself through college. But while cleaning Jake’s hotel room she tramples upon his extreme idiosyncrasies and after his complaints roll right off her he calls management… to request her a his own housekeeper and it’s getting hard to ignore him when the delicious man keeps showing up at her place of work, offering to help her with school and showing her how charming he really can be. Can she have a Cinderella happy ending with him?

“Chicago’s star hockey player is going to have a committed relationship with his hotel maid?

I’ve only read one other book by Brenda Rothert but it left a good lasting impression so when I saw this Cinderella + hockey combo it was a no brainer and it certainly delivered. The writing is sound with an effortless flow, great characterization and most of all I loved the sizzling attraction and fun back and forth between Miranda and Jake that had me smiling from the start.

“I guess I kind of needed to know that”—he looks away—“it’s okay for me to fall in love with you.”
“It’s okay to fall in love with me, Jake. I’ll take you and love you back just as you are.”

Even though the banter between Jake and Miranda made me smile in the beginning, it was mostly because of her. Miranda is self-assured, strong, smart and sassy. Those are a lot of “s” words! She didn’t want his money, wasn’t impressed by his fame and didn’t put up with his nonsense. She was really easy to like.

Jake on the other hand didn’t just have his manwhore reputation to contend with, he was obsessive bordering on “you need help buddy!” But once we start to get to know him and the things that drive him, we get to see a completely charming and romantic man with a great heart hidden behind tall and thick walls. I felt his pain and fell for him just like Miranda.

I very much enjoyed Jake’s relentless pursuit of Miranda. It was fun, flirty, sexy and touching and the hockey backdrop gives their story a layer of excitement. As they start to open up and confide in each other, their relationship builds both physically and emotionally. And in Jake’s case, he’s able to face his fears and past with Miranda’s loving support.

Hooked by Brenda Rothert is a standalone contemporary hockey romance told from both points of view with a happy ending. It’s heart melting sweet, swoony, sexy and endearing and left me with a wide smile.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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