It's a blast from the past as second chances are given when a woman is reintroduced to her unrequited high school crush...a man who wants a do-over for the hurt he caused her long ago in a sizzling connection that has them waging battles on the ice and off. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of FLOW by Liz Crowe, along with my impressions of it, then add this second installment in the Detroit Sports Network series to your bookshelf!
When Emerson Tyler’s unrequited high school crush crashed into her first group meeting of the DSN’s social media department, it was strange to say the least. When she learned that her crush wasn't as “unrequited” as she’d always believed, things got even stranger.
She'd sworn on the day Bryce Nordlinger crushed her teenaged heart--not to mention ruined her reputation in order to save his lady-killer status--that she would never trust him or any man ever again. And she had no intention of breaking that oath, no matter how much more tempting he’d become as a grown up NHL star.
Bryce had always wanted Em to be more than the smart, snarky high school girl who helped him with his terrible English essays. But he’d been busy burnishing his rep as future jock stud, and when his fellow hockey bros caught him skating with her alone in a deserted rink, he’d chosen the easiest path--one that left her hurt in a way he never thought he’d be able to heal.
His complete shock at seeing her, all grown up and more beautiful than ever in the meeting room at DSN, morphed into a steel-plated resolve. He would win her back and make up for the mess he’d made of her high school senior year, while dragging the once-proud Detroit hockey program out of the dumpster fire and back to prominence at the same time.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Readers looking for a bit of steam as well as suspense will get all that and more in this tale of second chances set in the world of hockey. As the second installment in the Detroit Sports Network readers will recognize some of the characters, while also meeting new ones who quickly become part of the family in a tale that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Emerson and Bryce met each other in high school, forming a foundation for a relationship that neither has forgotten over the years. What was once friendship soon morphed into something more back then, something that ended before it barely began and that was a blow to Emerson's self-esteem, setting her on a path where she's never felt good enough. Whereas for Bryce, he now feels nothing but embarrassment over that night's behavior that hurt Em's heart. They've both longed for a chance to re-do that night, a chance to right the wrongs of their youth to find HEAs as adults and they finally get that chance when she starts working in the media department representing his hockey team.
Em and Bryce's journey was an emotional one, from the misunderstanding of their teen years to the drama of her ex and his reputation weighing on them now. It made for a rocky road to romance as well as a few surprising twists and turns. Bryce was once a foster child who finally found a home courtesy of his hockey talent. It opened up the world to him, gave him opportunities that fed his ego and had him hurting the one young girl to really matter to him. The years since have seen many one night-stands with none meaning anything to him. He's definitely a player when readers first meet him, someone full of anger and trying to drink his unhappiness away. Seeing Em jumpstarts his heart once again though and from that moment on he's determined to show her how much she means to him through charming and endearing actions...towards her and her son. Em was a quiet and studious young girl who was in awe of the bad boy hockey player, but she knew she wasn't his type. Her tutoring of him had them finding a surprising bond, but pressure from his friends had him pushing her away. Being mocked and made fun of for her looks left her susceptible to a marriage that further shredded her self-esteem and has her now dealing with a dangerous ex as an adult. I was saddened by Em's negative view of herself, but happy for the supportive group of women in her life...both co-workers as well as her friend, Hannah. They helped her live a life beyond work and were her cheerleaders when she needed them most. Throughout all their ups and downs this pair are imperfect characters and frustrated me a time or two, but despite that I enjoyed their story and found myself rooting for them every step of the way. The moments of danger and suspense keeping them from their HEA were a bit over the top however and seemed to come out of the blue, particularly the stealing of an identity early on. These events were a distraction and the main story of second chances was satisfying enough on its own that these extraneous events could've been omitted with nothing feeling lacking. The romance between them was steamy early on before becoming more of a slow burn as the story progressed and as they rebuilt their friendship. By the turn of the final page I was left a bit exhausted by all the danger thrown at this couple, but cheering their hard-fought journey to HEA.
My rating for this is a B.
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fundraising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.