Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Delayed Penalty was a refreshing surprise. Why? Because in the hockey romances that I’ve read, Russian hockey players have a bit of a reputation as being major players off the ice, with a tendency to over-indulge in the smorgasbord of American puck bunnies available. Despite his rather cheesy introduction at the beginning of the book, Aleksandr doesn’t live up to that stereotype. Granted Auden doesn’t realize this because she buys into the public image and hype and this is what made the book a treat to read – the breaking down of preconceived notions, fears, and walls as two people get to know one another and fall in love.
Reeling from the loss of her spot on her college soccer team and scholarship, Auden is thrown for yet another loop when the translation client her grandfather assigned her to ends up being the hottie from the bar the night before who she embarrassed herself in front of. Making matters worse is learning that said client is a minor league hockey player who doesn’t actually need a translator. As I was not in Auden’s shoes when she discovered that tidbit of information, I found the scene to be quite amusing. Obviously she did not and that’s why her response added to my amusement. But the more time Auden spends with Aleksandr, the less hostile their relationship becomes until their simmering sexual tension boils over. Oh Yeah! As their relationship develops it becomes clear that theirs won’t be an easy road as Aleksandr not only has to overcome Auden’s personal walls, they each have people in their lives who don’t want them together.
Henry does a nice job of infusing the right amounts of hockey, relationship building, outside interests, humor, steamy make out scenes, and conflict to balance out the romance of Delayed Penalty. While the initial stages of their relationship occur over the course of 4 weeks while Auden is out of school, the author unfolds the story in such a way that it didn’t feel rushed to me. I’m assuming that because they spent so much time together between her translation duties and their “hanging out” it felt longer than it was. I loved how well matched they were and how their Russian heritage factored into their relationship, which helped Aleksandr win over her grandparents. I found their actual relationship to be rather sweet – far sweeter than I would have expected from a hockey player – and that’s what made their separations so hard to witness. While I thoroughly enjoyed Delayed Penalty, I will advise hardcore sports romance readers that there seemed to be more emphasis on the romance than the hockey in my opinion. Keep in mind, Auden enters Aleksandr’s world as his translator so much of their time is off the ice which results in less on ice time, but there is still a good bit of hockey played. I for one cannot wait to read the next installment in the Pilots Hockey series to find out Landon’s story.
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
Check out the Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry Blog Tour post on Wicked Reads.
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