Title: The Hockey Player’s Heart
Series: Hockey Hearts 01, Dreamspun Desires 50
Author: Jeff Adams & Will Knauss
Narrator: Finn Sterling
Genre: Contemporary, Sports
Length: 4 hrs, 56 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th March 2018)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Blurb: Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?
When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R&R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser. Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?
Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.
Review: The Hockey Player’s Hearts is a wonderfully sugary sweet friends to lovers book tale that just happens to involve a professional, out and proud, NHL player and an equally out and proud small town school teacher. Neither author was known to me before listening to this audio, nonetheless I looked forward to a sports themed romance.
The story sends professional NHL player who is the Captain of the New York Rangers, and one of few out and proud hockey players (including his best friend and team mate Dimitri), Caleb Carter back to his small hometown in upstate New York. He broke his ankle on the ice and desperately wants out of New York so he can recuperate in peace. While his parents are away on a around the world tour, he gets to spend time with his big sister, who is now the principal of the elementary school they attended. Tagging along, helping his sister he encounters her best friend and Caleb’s school crush. Aaron Price.
Aaron is portrayed as a nerd. When they were kids, Aaron helped Caleb pass math by tutoring him. It was what gave Aaron his passion to become a teacher. College had taken him to California, where he could be himself (i.e. explore his sexuality). He had stayed in LA until a failed relationship with a closeted baseball player and then losing his job, but luck was on his side when his best friend, the principal of his hometown elementary school and Caleb’s sister, handed him a lifeline with a job at the school. Aaron has a lot of baggage from his time in LA and renewing a friendship that could lead to more with Caleb forces Aaron to examine his feelings.
The narration of this audio was done by Finn Sterling, I looked up my audio bookshelf to find out that I’ve only heard Sterling’s narration sometime last year and then again just the other day. Finn Sterling is another wonderful narrator for the Dreamspun Desires house line. The narration for The Hockey Player’s Heart was great, Sterlings put a great voice onto both main characters, as well as a number of minor characters (especially Caleb’s sister and his best friend). He puts the right tone into the main character Aaron, who has a lot of baggage that could sabotage his HEA so that his indecision and his desperate need not to caught by another pro athlete.
Over all this was a fun story. I loved the hockey aspect of the story, it was weaved perfectly throughout and not just used as incidental background information. Caleb and Aaron have a lot of history together, yet these guys developed a lot throughout the story. The only criticism I have is that I occasionally found Aaron’s need to protect his heart because Caleb is a pro athelete a little frustrating and I wanted to shake him. This looks like it’s going to be a series (I’m hoping Caleb’s best friend, Dimitri, will have his own story).