Hip Check

Hip Check

4.4 25
by Deirdre Martin
     
 

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Esa Saari is a hockey player for the New York Blades with a bad-boy rep both on and off the ice. But when he suddenly becomes the guardian of his eight-year-old niece, Nell, he knows his excessive lifestyle is about to get body checked.

So he hires a live-in nanny. Her name is Michelle Beck, and she gets along great with Nell. What surprises him, though, is that

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Overview

Esa Saari is a hockey player for the New York Blades with a bad-boy rep both on and off the ice. But when he suddenly becomes the guardian of his eight-year-old niece, Nell, he knows his excessive lifestyle is about to get body checked.

So he hires a live-in nanny. Her name is Michelle Beck, and she gets along great with Nell. What surprises him, though, is that he instantly hits it off with her, too. Getting romantically involved would be a bad idea, but he’s finding it impossible to ignore the intense connection between them.

Michelle, however, takes her job very seriously, and must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart. And Esa’s got to decide if he can give up his bad- boy image for the love of a good woman…  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Martin’s fans will welcome the 10th New York Blades hockey romance (after Breakaway), in which playboy Esa Saari’s charmed life takes a well-deserved turn for the chaotic. Esa’s sister dies and his niece’s guardian abrogates her responsibilities after a year, so Esa reluctantly takes over caring for eight-year-old Nell. Flailing, he hires the first nanny he interviews: Michelle Beck, a petite, bossy brunette who upends Esa’s Barbie-doll notion that desirable women are “tall, blond, and malleable.” Esa celebrates his liberation from child care in a drunken threesome with twin models, and his eventual romantic wakeup call is his sudden inability to get it up for women who aren’t Michelle; meanwhile, the self-sufficient nanny falls inexplicably hard for her careless, thoughtless employer. Brassy British Nell steals the show from the lusting, dithering adults (though readers may not appreciate her use of “mong,” short for “mongoloid,” as a cutesy epithet). The supporting cast is amusing, but both plot and emotional development are thin. Agent: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Finnish hockey player Esa Saari is devastated when his sister, Danika, is killed and he becomes the guardian of Danika’s eight-year-old, London-bred daughter, Nell. A member of the New York Blades, Esa is beyond over his head, since his well-deserved reputation comes from his hard play on and off the ice. What does he know about little girls? Schoolteacher–turned–professional nanny Michelle Beck is just what the hockey star ordered. She’s not his usual leggy blonde, though, so he doesn’t expect to be distracted, but she is bossy, always telling him what to do. It’s soon clear that Michelle loves Nell, identifying with a child who lost her mother at a young age; she also sees more “uncle” potential in playboy Esa than he recognizes in himself. Will a sudden mutual attraction cause a faceoff in their rocky domesticity?

Verdict This latest Blades tale from Martin (Breakaway) includes hilarious jibes from teammates in support of our hapless hockey star. Coming from pro hockey players, the language here is as rough as the sport (the book includes a good deal of game action as well). The sex scenes aren’t numerous, but they aren’t particularly dainty either. This fun title is recommended for Martin’s fans and readers who enjoy romances involving professional sports.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Bad-boy pro-hockey player Esa Saari lives for hockey and not much else, and he doesn't see why becoming the guardian of his niece has to change things--no matter what the cute-but-demanding nanny has to say about it or how much she's getting under his skin. Blades star Esa Saari's world is turned upside down when he becomes the guardian of Nell, his 8-year-old niece, and knocked sideways when he realizes he has a thing for Michelle Beck, the nanny he hired to care for her. For a man who's always appreciated the smooth glide of an uncomplicated life, he's finding it harder and harder to remain detached and disinterested, especially with Michelle encouraging him to step up, participate more and to be honest about his emotions with the sweetly fragile girl. Esa was raised in an emotionally distant home, and he's never stopped to consider an alternative. That is, until now, when even he notices that Nell is looking to him for support and comfort. Michelle is a guiding light for both of them, and together, the threesome forms a protective cocoon against the world. But when Esa acts on his blazing attraction for the nanny and she responds, their cozy world will be ripped apart by a slew of negative factors, and their fledging relationship will be tested by family, friends and his very public lifestyle and negative reputation. Martin has penned an emotionally touching romance set in the tough, raw world of professional hockey, and her characters are realistic and appealing, with relatable, coherent arcs that make sense and show appreciable growth (though a touch less vulgarity in the dialogue would have been welcome). Even when Esa and Michelle make irritating, troublesome choices, they make sense for the flaws and struggles of the personalities involved, and we cheer for them as they overcome their mistakes and vulnerabilities. A sexy, successful contemporary romance, with chemistry, heat and a feel-good, affecting happy-ever-after ending that its intended audience will approve.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425251157
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Series:
New York Blades Series
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
465,987
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Deirdre Martin

"Martin's sexy contemporary romance [is a]... good bet for readers who enjoy Carly Phillips and Susan Elizabeth Phillips."—Booklist

“Deirdre Martin knows how to write a beautiful romance.”—Single Titles

“If you’ve never read any of Deirdre Martin’s New York Blades books, you are so missing out.”—The Brazen Bookworm

“Contemporary romance doesn’t get much better than this.”—All About Romance

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