Y’all, this book is wonderful. Ticks so many of my boxes: sports, sensitive dude who seems like a douche, lady who can stand on her own two feet, tribal family. Oh, an seriously hot sex. SERIOUSLY hot sex.

The stars of our show are Jacqui and Henrik. Jacqui is a music student who works part time at a local music store. She’s also a cancer survivor who feels the threat of that every moment of her life. She is withdrawn and fearful of anyone ever knowing her because then she feels they’d have to carry the burden of loving her.

Henrik is known for being great at two things: hockey and sex. He plays for the Minnesota Glaciers and entertains a rotating door of females, each the more manipulative and awful than the last. When he finally realizes that he needs to behave like an adult and stop treating women as sperm deposits, he meets Jacqui when he stops into the music store to buy another guitar.

Because in the depths of secrets this man keeps from everyone, one of them is that he is a classically trained musician. However, that skill is deeply tied to a part of himself that he keeps locked down. And – of course – it takes Jacqui to tease it out. In return, he teaches her that love is a risk worth taking and she doesn’t get to decide how other people love her.

There are so many things to like about this book. Henrik is a really fun hero, polite and angry, clearly such a ball of self-loathing that it just spills over into everything but he contains it to the ice. Jacqui can only relax around her family but carries such guilt over having cancer (twice, poor lass) that she can’t really even fully relax around them. As they learn each other and learn themselves, it’s delightful.

And like I said above – the sex, y’all. She doesn’t classify this as erotica for her health.

I read this while sipping beers on a sidewalk pub in Chicago (you can be jealous, it’s okay), but the perfect companion for it is honestly whiskey. Slow burn and warm.


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I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.