By Kelly Jamieson
On Sale July 25th | Ballantine/Loveswept
Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.
As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.
This pair both make assumptions about the other based on their outward appearance. Ella perceives Ben to have everything going for him and his life must be perfect, whilst he judges her for her partying ways and wild exploits. Despite their feelings of the others actions, they are undeniable attracted to each other.
Both these character are complex, yet endearing. Ella is sassy, and strong, yet also quite insecure and vulnerable. She's made some questionable choices whilst processing grief and they continue to haunt her.
Ben is incredibly hard working, determined and dedicated to his goal of being drafted to the NHL. He's a sweet, charming, intelligent character whom I really loved.
Cross Check is a great blend of hockey, heart and heat, and the sexual tension abounds throughout this story line. The connection and chemistry this pair share is undeniable and quite realistic and the love scenes are incredibly hot and steamy. Their banter was fun, flirty and at times had an element of humor. I enjoyed seeing more of Skyler and Jacob throughout this title, and as much as I enjoyed their story, Ella and Ben's story was less intense and hit the mark for me.
I loved watching this pair help each other heal and move on from their pasts. Overall I found this title to be quite entertaining and engaging, but also quite thoughtful in the way it deals with social issues facing young adults in today's society.
Ms Jamieson has crafted another well written sports romance, told in a dual point of view that has left me wanting more. I adored the ending and hope that this is not the last we will see of this pair of characters.
USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson is the author of more than thirty contemporary romance novels. She’s a married mother of two who lives a very ordinary life outside of her imagination. She likes coffee (black), wine (mostly white), and shoes (high!). She also loves watching hockey.