As a big fan of sports-themed romances I'm excited to bring Toni Aleo here today with the fourth book in her Nashville Assassins series, Blue Lines. Keep reading to learn more about this book and main character Erik through my interview with him, as well as my impressions of the story. You can learn even more by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour. Make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win digital copies of this book along with swag too!
TSP: You had a traumatic childhood, what affects has it had on you growing up...that you're willing to admit to?
ET: I think I am a harder person to get to know. No one really knows the real Erik, only what I allow them to see.
TSP: Do you think it's part of the reason why you ended up playing hockey?
ET: Yes, I am able to get my aggression out but also I grew up playing, it is the only thing I know.
TSP: Your adoptive family is wonderful, how have they influenced your life growing up?
ET: I think they taught me how to love and be loved again, I still have walls and I don't want to let anyone in, but they taught me love is out there for me.
TSP: Most people see you as a bad boy, how do you respond to that?
ET: Its true. I'm an asshole.
TSP: What is it about Piper that grabbed your attention where so many other women have not?
ET: Her heart. You can see it in her eyes. She is the most unbelievable person I've ever met. She has me. Heart and soul.
TSP: How has being with her changed you?
ET: She knocks down my walls and makes me be the real me. Its hard cause I want to build them up again all the time but then I look at her and I know I don't have too cause she is there to help me be the best man I can be.
TSP: Where do you see herself in ten years?
ET: Hopefully coaching Dimirti's hockey team and happy. As long as I have these two I will be happy. They are all I need.
Opposites do more than just attract in Toni Aleo’s latest Nashville Assassins novel about a very bad boy and the good girl he can’t resist.
The instant Piper Allen sees Erik Titov, she wants him—wants his rock-hard body, sure, but the strength and mystery that lies behind that superstar hockey jock demeanor, too. So when he sidles up to her at a bar and slinks his arm around her waist, she’s lost. What follows is the wildest night of her life . . . followed by inevitable heartbreak the next morning. And then, a few weeks later, a very big surprise: two blue lines on a pregnancy test.
Only a check to the head could make Erik fall for a nice girl like Piper. But since their crazy-sexy night together, he’s been trying to forget about her alluring body by falling into bed with every woman in Nashville, and it’s not working. So when Piper shows up at his house with a baby-bomb to drop, it doesn’t take much for Erik to suggest the nuclear option: marriage. While it’s supposed to be all for show, the second they say “I do,” the ice between them starts to melt into sizzling steam.
“Are you coming up?” she asked.
“Only if you want me to,” Erik responded quietly.
“Oh, I want you to.”
Erik paid the cabdriver as Piper quickly opened the door and hopped out; turning back she saw Erik was right behind her. He wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her close, his rock-hard length stiff against the small of her back. Dropping her head back onto his chest, she looked up at him as he looked down at her.
“Ready for some fun?” he asked.
She nodded. “I’ve been ready for a while.”
For more Blue Lines teasers, visit the next stop on the tour!
BUY LINKS: AMAZON | BN | iTUNES
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a fan of sports-themed romances I was immediately drawn to this story but felt like I was put through the wringer when it was done. From start to finish this was a difficult read as the two main characters weren't always easy to like. There were times I wanted to smack both of them for their childish actions and constant desire to screw things up worrying about what might or might not happen. Luckily, the talented Ms. Aleo managed to somehow make them endearing enough so that I was rooting for their HEA and had a sigh of relief and satisfaction upon the story's conclusion.
Erik is an acknowledged man-whore who sees nothing wrong in enjoying his life, spending time with whatever woman catches his eye. After a childhood of blood, abuse, and constant rejection, he feels he's earned the right to be carefree and doesn't feel the need to apologize. It's not until his career is in jeopardy that he's forced into straightening up and it's at this time that his incredibly memorable one-night stand with Piper changes his life forever. He always knew that Piper was the one woman who could change him and force him to deal with his past which is why he always tried to stay away from her. Their hot night together created a baby though and has kept her in his thoughts every day since. Pretending to be a happily married couple is his only chance at keeping his job but he worries that he'll never be the kind of man she needs and that he'll end up becoming the man his father was. This constant fear led to many asinine decisions on his part. He spoke heartlessly numerous times and treated her in a careless manner often in the early stages of their marriage. She, and the promise of love and family, slowly changed him into a man able to open his heart. As they grew closer we got to know him on a deeper level and saw the real Erik, the giving and loyal man his adoptive father taught him to be and that brought a tear to my eye.
Piper has always been flighty, going from one career to the next. It's taken forever to find the job she enjoys and just when things seem to be going in the right direction she discovers she's pregnant by her one-night stand with man-whore Erik. She's always been loyal to her family, but with their condescension in thinking her incapable of raising a child on her own, she's left choosing a sham marriage with Erik to help him and her dream of a HEA with Erik. Piper is a kind-hearted woman who doesn't always make the right decisions but she always stands by those decisions. She sees goodness in Erik and is willing to go through fire to help him see that goodness too. She's a highly emotional woman which led to numerous fits of rage and crying jags that made me a part of her emotional rollercoaster ride and left me frustrated by her behavior. In the end though I admired her strength in standing by the man she deeply loved. She finally took charge of her life and went after what she wanted to culminate in an immensely satisfying and heartwarming conclusion.
This was a hard story to read at times because of the gut-wrenching and highly emotional characters. Not everyone was a hero which was realistic but hard to accept. The story went on a bit too long as well, dragging readers through a lot of negativity and depression, before giving us a hard-fought but richly deserved HEA. I've not read the other books in this series but had no problem diving right into this one and now have an intense desire to pick up the other books to see what I've been missing. All I can say is bring on Phillip's story soon as I'm dying to have him find the woman who can end his player ways too!
My rating for this is a B-
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Toni Aleo is the author of the Nashville Assassins series: Taking Shots, Trying to Score, Empty Net, and Blue Lines. When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel. She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog.
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