I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Portland Storm #5
on November 20, 2014
Genres: Love & Romance
Source: the Author
It was supposed to be a single night of fake names, half-truths, and anonymous sex. Neither of them was prepared for it to become more. Keith Burns, star defenseman for the NHL’s Portland Storm, was just looking for a way to pass the time and ease the loneliness of his lavish lifestyle. Brianna Hayden wanted to find herself—and maybe learn to love herself again—after health issues changed everything. Anonymity is the name of their game; the rules were laid down at the outset. But when a chance encounter brings them back together long after the game should have ended, all their initial rules get thrown out the window.
It isn’t long before partial truths and dancing around the pain of the past gets complicated. Their physical chemistry is off the charts, but it isn’t enough. They both want a future, but Keith has an unspeakable history involving his two brothers that he just can’t share with anyone, not even Brie. She needs the truth if they are going to have any chance at moving forward. If he can’t give it to her, it might land him a permanent spot in her penalty box. If Keith can get In the Zone, he’ll be on the forecheck—but Brie’s heart is the goal he’s seeking.
2014 has been the year of Hockey Romance in my house, finding Catherine Gayle and Toni Aleo’s books back in January kick started my obsession, and the Portland Storm is HANDS DOWN my favorite series. (I adore Toni’s Assassins, but the Portland Storm have this sense of reality, which I’ll talk more about in a minute.)
In The Zone is the fifth book in this series, and I have to say that Keith and Brie are my favorite – so far. (I say so far because I’m 99% certain a Katie/Babs book is coming, and there is no doubt that they win the favorite of EVERYONE who has ever picked up a Portland Storm book.)
Here’s the thing, and I mentioned this before, her books are real and raw. The characters are flawed, broken and sometimes downright assholes. Keith is so broken that it hurts. And Brie? She is possibly the most real character I’ve ever come in contact with. I saw pieces of me in both of these characters – I have been in Keith’s shoes – the older sibling who was a bit relentless. I have also been in Brie’s shoes struggling with self-worth. So I found them both so easy to slip alongside.
And of course? We have the team. The secondary characters are what makes this series worth it. And the continuity from book to book is phenomenal. We’re watching Dana give birth to Zee’s first baby. Babs and Katie are fighting their way through life, as the two youngest members of the series. Nicky is battling his addiction. These characters are so real to me now, so much a part of my life that I can’t help but dive into the pages of each new book with anticipation.
If you’re a fan of romance, a fan of sports, or just plain looking for a good escape? Catherine Gayle’s books are for you! (Although I DEFINITELY recommend starting with book 1, Breakaway, as this series really needs to build up for you!) A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Catherine Gayle for allowing this fan-girl to read and review an advanced copy of this amazing story!