Offside (The Barker Triplets, #1)Offside by Juliana Stone
My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames

I loved this book. Want to know a little known fact about your Highland Hussy? I played hockey for my university team, on a men’s team (we had no women’s team, so there were 4 of us girls), and I played in House Leagues. Those leagues are super competitive. Not that college hockey isn’t, but it’s a different vibe, so to speak.

In Offside, we see Billie Jo being pushed out of her pro league team in Sweden due to injury and coming home to her small town of New Waterford where hockey is god.

Billie has played with these guys her whole life, she’s played pro, you’d think they’d welcome her into their “Friday Night beer league” with open arms and a bunch of “Hell Yeahs!” but realistically, it’s not like that. It’s a men’s league, and they don’t want no wimmenfolk on the ice.

I brought about my own experiences to just lend a bit of credence to the book. Billie is treated abominably. Her car is keyed, her tires slashed, she’s roughed up a lot, and she’s got to deal with jackwagons giving her crap all over town. Not just on the ice. (I had my cute little Neon keyed, sprayed with silly string, shrink wrapped with layers of shaving cream in between each layer. And how did they get the shrink wrap under my car and around the top? Seriously) And this is just what I remember.

The man she’s been in love with since she was a kid is there, and she’s no longer a kid. The only problem in getting close to Logan is that he slept with her sister Betty Jo since high school. Oh, and she’s a triplet, so the fact that she looks exactly like Betty doesn’t make her feel any better. Does Logan want Billie for Billie? Or is he still lusting after Betty, but taking Billie as a substitute?

But they do get close, and they have some pretty steamy times, add to that another Barker sister, Bobbi Jo (whose story I soo can’t wait for), and there’s a lot going on in this small town.

I loved the hockey aspect, and I think that the steamy scenes would make the ice melt.I loved watching Logan fight his love for Billie, and I loved watching Billie try to distance herself from Logan (which obviously didn’t work! lol). But how can they fall in love when each has a big secret that could ruin it?

 Their secrets are not on par with “The Big Misunderstanding” we so often get in contemporaries. Oh no. This is much more intense, and so much BIGGER. when those bombs are dropped, the whole book became so tense my heart was pounding! But then it was cleared up. It was a bit too fast for me. I think they had a whole lot of drama and I felt cheated at not seeing that play out.

But that notwithstanding, this is still the best contemporary romance I’ve read in a long time. Juliana Stone’s writing is always good, and this lady can write an intense plot! If you want a steamy, sexy contemporary romance, this is for you!

***ARC provided by author

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