Friday, March 16, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Time Out by Jill Shalvis

Harlequin Blaze    Feb 21 2012

224 pages    by Jill Shalvis


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NHL coach Mark Diego's plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend—and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy….

When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don't just burn angry—they burn very, very hot! But that'll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he's planning on playing very dirty, too…

Time Out was a satisfactory enough read, and while I did enjoy the hero, hockey coach Mark Diego, the heroine Rainey Saunders annoyed me to no end.

This was a sweet and sexy read, one of those teenage crushes/first loves that come home to roost. Rainey is a director at the city recreation center in charge of youth programs and because Mark's team of testosterone hockey players got in a bar fight, (that went viral on social media) Mark decides to punish his players with a douse of penance and volunteering at his hometown rec center.

The sparks snap and crackle and Jill Shalvis goes a fine job crafting a sensual tale between two stubborn people. But I couldn't get past Rainey's sulky moments and constant insecure flashbacks. Apparently when she was sixteen she had a major crush on the four years older Mark and even walked in on him in a compromising situation. All these years later she still holds it against him and constantly throws it in his face.

Yes, Mark is over the top Alpha, and it appeals on a certain level. But both characters are flawed here and watching them dance around the past and the present had me wondering if they had a future. At one point, Mark yells out in frustration, "You were jail bait!" In other words, he showed more maturity in their past and even in their present situations as alpha as he is than Rainey. While I admire her work ethic and moxie, she grated on me. Constantly.

I also wanted more insight into Mark's inner thoughts, what little bit we were shown wasn't enough for me. A little more peeling back the layers would have been nice, but Blaze does not exactly delve into characters too deeply.

All said, it was a good read, but Rainey's annoying insecurities wore me down. Fun and sexy froth, but no real depth.

3.5 stars out of 5

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