After a traumatic event cleaves their bond in their early teens, two friends reunite in their early 20s.
Jake and Emerson were childhood BFFs who shared a love of hockey. When Emerson is assaulted in the locker room at age 13, she never plays again. Soon after, Jake suddenly leaves their small town. Seven years later, with a professional hockey contract and unresolved feelings for Em, Jake returns to win her back. Can Em forgive the past and let Jake back into her heart? The story is told in alternating chapters from Jake’s and Emerson’s viewpoints, also switching from the past and present, but their voices sound entirely too similar for the technique to work. True to genre, Jake, with his rugged, athletic looks and determined spirit, is a typical alpha-male archetype who, despite his own melodramas, is able to repeatedly save the day for Emerson. Gray’s secondary characters lack any real development, instead relying on unfortunate stereotypes for plot propulsion. Likewise, the narrative demands that its readers suspend disbelief when it depends on nearly inconceivable and all-too-convenient leaps. However, those willing to overlook the more preposterous plot points should delight in Jake and Em’s building romantic tension and sizzling sex scenes. Those seeking diversity in their romance may want to skip this; Gray’s offering focuses on two white, hetero, cisgender main characters.
A fairly conventional new-adult romance perhaps best suited for die-hard fans. (Romance. 16-adult)