Chase: With a nickname like “Sin,” it’s no wonder they call me the bad boy of hockey. Opponents curse me. Fans scream my name—in the arena and in other, much more private places. Penalties or not, I’m not afraid to dish out a little pain. But pleasure? That’s my weakness. And no one knows it better than my best friend, Cassie Desrosiers. I’d have to be blind not to notice her rocking body and teasing grin. So when she invites me along on a trip to Vegas, my curiosity isn’t the only thing that’s aroused.
Cassie: Chase Barrett is a world-class A-hole. As his best friend, I’m allowed to call him on his BS. Who else is going to do it? Certainly not the puck bunnies swooning at every flex of his biceps. Everyone knows that Chase is the love-’em-and-leave-’em type. There’s no such thing as commitment for the king of casual hookups. So why should I care? Maybe because all work and no play makes me a sexually frustrated girl. It’s time to put the hockey stud at my beck and call to good use . . . but after a week in Vegas with Chase, I might never want to go back to the real world.
This book took me by surprise. I think I went into it expecting a fairly typical Loveswept sports romance: a little sports, some flirtation, strong female character, and smoking hot love scenes. While I found all of this in Bad Reputation, I found that it also caught me off guard with its characters and author Nicole Edwards’ willingness to allow those characters to make giant mistakes.
At the heart of this story Chase and Cassie, best friends since college. Their relationship was incredibly fun from start to finish. I loved how readers are introduced to them and their obvious affection for each other. I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling through the first part of the book as Chase and Cassie engaged in a battle of wits and just enjoyed each other’s company. As the story builds, we get glimpses of stray romantic thoughts for each other and not pages and pages of longing. This allowed me to actually get to know them outside of their feelings for each other. As their feelings rise to the surface, so does their sexual attraction and when they can’t ignore it any longer…wow. Definitely worth the slow burn.
Chase is adorable. He’s a successful athlete who’s charming and handsome. He’s a terror on the ice. I loved the few scenes we get of him taking down opponents whether he did by leveling them with a good punch or by goading them into making a mistake with his trash talk. He loves his job, his parents and he loves Cassie, though he doesn’t realize the depth of his feelings for her. Chase is the steady character in this book, though as his feelings for Cassie rise to the surface, his confidence seems to sink, putting him on rocky ground that he’s definitely not used to.
Cassie started off like a typical heroine for this sub-genre. She’s successful professionally with an extended 5-year plan. She has Chase to keep her company, but refuses to even consider romantic relationships after watching her mother marry and divorce too many times to count. She’s fun and keeps Chase in line. And, she’s headed for a huge crash and when it happens, it happens in a glorious way. It’s interesting because I’ve read a lot of reviews that see Cassie as changing personalities halfway through the book. I disagree completely. Cassie is a perfect example of a character that tried too hard to keep everything together until she loses it. I thought author Nicole Edwards took a huge risk allowing Cassie to screw up so badly, but it was what needed to happen in order for her to allow herself to fall in love.
Just a quick shout out to the supporting cast. Cassie’s friend Natalie is absolutely hilarious, yet she shows surprising depth as the book goes on. I love the relationship Chase has with his dads and I enjoyed their characters.
4.5 stars for Bad Reputation. Heat level: 4
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback.
Bad Reputation releases on October 3, 2017 from Loveswept.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Edwards lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, their three kids, and four rambunctious dogs. When she’s not writing about sexy alpha males, Nicole can often be found with her Kindle in hand or making an attempt to keep the dogs happy. You can find her hanging out on Facebook and interacting with her readers – even when she’s supposed to be writing.
Nicole also writes contemporary/new adult romance as Timberlyn Scott.