Offside by Juliana Stone
Series: The Barker Triplets #1
September 30, 2012
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
When hockey phenom Billie-Jo Barker returns home and decides to play in the local Friday night hockey league, all hell breaks loose. Not because Billie's talent is in question, but because Billie is a woman. And though these are modern times, some of the local guys still have a problem letting a girl into their 'men's club.'
Soon, Billie is at the center of a small town battle of the sexes, with everyone choosing sides. Her sisters. The townsfolk. Her friends. And yet, the only person whose opinion she cares about doesn't seem to care much at all. Logan Forest, the man who broke her heart when she was eighteen and the man she now shares the bench with every Friday night.
She's got a lot to prove and though Billie Jo Barker scores on the ice, will this girl ever score with the man of her dreams?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
At only twenty-four years old, Billie already feels like a has-been. Her professional hockey career in Sweden ended with a concussion, and now that she’s back home, she’s lost. Her sister Bobbi is acting like some kind of Stepford wife, her dad’s dementia tears away at the stability home should offer, and without the sport she’s been living and breathing since she was a child, she has no idea what to do. And then she sees the flyer for the local hockey league.
Logan Forest may have been emotionally sucker-punched by another Barker sister, but when little Billie comes home and insists on playing hockey with the guys, he finds himself coming to her defense. A small town filled with small minds is practically up in arms against her, and she’s wreaking havoc on their good old boys club, but he’s not the kind of guy to let them get away with bullying her, and he’s definitely not the kind of guy capable of ignoring the all-grown-up look Billie’s sporting now.
Okay, so there was definitely some editing fail here. Standard stuff like commas between joined independent clauses with conjunctions, a few phrases used when it was clear the opposite was meant, subject/verb agreement issues. If none of that makes sense to you, you probably won’t even notice. If it does, read it anyway because for once I can say a story outweighs the errors. If I didn’t enjoy the story so much, the lack of proper editing would have probably landed this book in my DNF pile, but I became 100% hooked despite the things that normally make me twitch. Seriously, though, a story this great really deserves better than whatever happened here.
Oh, this book is evil. It forced me to stay up all night reading it, and then it demanded that I buy the next book in the series before finally going to be around 5am. See? Evil.
Billie’s more than a little lost when she has to leave her professional hockey career behind and return to her small town, but she sees a spark of hope when local league is being advertised. With hockey in her blood, she’s ready to sign up immediately, but the town that cheered their hometown girl when she went pro isn’t so quick to get behind her now that she’s back home. They gossip about her, vandalize her car, and pretty much make her life hell. And the way she handles it? It was so easy to step into her shoes. She mouths off when warranted, tries to stay strong when they’re beating her down, and maneuvers around the obstacles being thrown in her way. Logan and Shane seem to be the only ones on her side.
Shane is the mismatched former love of her sister Bobbi, and fresh out of prison, he’s also the town bad boy. Logan, however, is the man Billie’s been in love with since she was a kid. She’s thinking that maybe now that she’s all grown up, he’ll notice her, and boy does he ever. The chemistry between these two is incredible, so much so that I kinda fell in love (or was that lust?) with Logan myself. Granted, he used to be all about Billie’s other sister, Betty, and Billie’s not so sure he’s completely past that, but these two can’t deny their attraction to each other.
Like most books of this genre, there’s a bit of a misunderstanding (though it’s swept away quite easily early on), and there’s the dreaded big secret. But it’s not one of those “oh I have such a dark past” things. It’s rather unique, actually, and it made Billie’s lack of confidence in their relationship absolutely understandable. I did, however, feel like the situation was cleared up a little too quickly, but I can’t really complain about that too much. After all, it was a wonderfully entertaining read, with the coolest grandfather ever, one hell of a hot hockey player, a local bad boy I can’t wait to read more about in the next book, and of course a happily ever after.
I honestly thought this would be just another okay read, a typical contemporary romance with nothing new, but it turned out to be a hell of a lot more fun. Grab it on Amazon while it’s still free!