Offside (The Barker Triplets #1)
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?
I have long been a fan of the paranormal romances by Juliana Stone, but I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this new series about a relatively normal family living in small-town USA. There was a lot to love about the story individually and also as the beginning to an all new series.
Billie is back in town after a heartbreaking ending to her career in professional hockey in Europe, dealing with the loss of the one part of her life that has always completed her. When an opportunity to play hockey—even in a small town local league—presents itself, she refuses to ignore it. But the local boys don’t really want any female in their league, even if she’s a pro. Enter Logan Forest. He’s always been the one guy who broke her heart, even though he never knew it. But now he’s determined to make sure that her stubbornness doesn't lead to more trouble than she can handle. But being so close to her ignites a whole different kind of desire, one more powerful than anything he’s felt since a long ago summer and is becoming more and more just the thing he needs in his life.
I really enjoyed this story much more than I thought I would. I loved the strong female lead and the sexy Logan was just what was needed to round her out. Billie and Logan burn up the pages with passion and the sweetness factor cannot be ignored. I loved being able to experience the changes that Billie goes through as she grows up a little bit and accepts the changes that were thrust on her. Logan is a very sexy, alpha male for sure, but he has a heart of gold and his love for Billie is heartwarming and fun to see.
There is of course always the point in these stories when the past catches up with Billie and Logan and the truth must come out. Without spoiling the surprise I will say that the big secret between them was very well written. Billie and Logan are left to work through the discovery and their feelings about it, but thankfully they are both strong enough to overcome.
The hints we get about Billie’s sister and her old boyfriend are great, setting us up well for the next story and making us unwilling to resist purchasing the next book right away. Sneaky, sneaky author, teasing us like this!
Overall I’m really enjoying this series, though I didn’t care much for the youngest Barker sister or her selfishness, hopefully when it comes time for her story she’ll be a better human being. Billie and Logan were great characters, both stubbornly clinging to their supposed rules and then finally facing the fact that life is made to be lived and experienced not forced into little boxes. The passion between Logan and Billie is sensual and exciting to read, I even recommend having a nice ice bath ready for after a few of the scenes. If you’re a hockey fan, or even just enjoy winter scenery, you’ll love reading about their small town setting and seeing how being from that environment has shaped them. Definitely a great start to a new series and I can’t wait for more.