A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the USA Today bestselling author of the Heller Brothers series.
“Kelly Jamieson is my go-to author for hockey romance.”—Jami Davenport
Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.
As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.
Kelly Jamieson’s USA Today bestselling Aces Hockey series can be read together or separately:
Don’t miss any of Kelly’s alluring reads:
The Bayard Hockey series: SHUT OUT | CROSS CHECK
The Last Shot series: BODY SHOT | HOT SHOT | LONG SHOT
The standalone novel: DANCING IN THE RAIN
Praise for Cross Check
“Cross Check is a fantastic addition to this exciting new adult hockey series.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“I was really impressed with how Kelly Jamieson pulled off this story. The one word I’d use to describe it? Dynamic. . . . Thank you, Kelly!”—Cover to Cover
“I’m on a Kelly Jamieson streak! Another great one from Ms. Jamieson.”—The Book I Love
“I really enjoy hockey-themed stories . . . add in college . . . and enemies to lovers . . . and this book hit several of my yes tropes. I liked it and definitely recommend.”—Smitten with Reading
“Entertaining, sexy, and sincere!”—What’s Better Than Books?
“You’ll fall for this enemies-to-lovers story.”—Hypable
“Cross Check was a fun college hockey romance with some intense issues built into it. I loved every moment of it. I respected the way Kelly Jamieson made a fiery romance educational as well. I highly recommend this book to new adult fans out there.”—A Novel Glimpse
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I bite my lip as I reread the letter in my hand, my stomach knotting.
At the end of each semester, the Academic Achievement Committee reviews the records of all students and takes appropriate action, including issuing warnings, placing students on probation, granting leaves of absence, advising students to withdraw, or suspending or expelling students.
Sitting on my bed in my room in the house I share with three friends, I drop my chin to my chest and squeeze my eyes shut.
I’ve already read the letter, but I tried to forget about it over the winter break. Now I’m back at college. Classes start tomorrow and shit just got real. I have to meet with my academic adviser next week and figure out how I’m going to pull my grades up.
This has never happened to me before. I may not have been a straight-A student in high school, but I never got below a B. Of course, I had my parents always on my back about getting my homework done, helping me with projects, and looking at every test and paper I brought home.
A knock on my bedroom door has me jerking my head up. I shove the letter under a pillow and call, “Come in!”
The door opens and Skylar bursts in. “Hey, you’re awake.”
“I am.” I make myself smile at her. I’ve been faking smiling through the whole winter break so my family wouldn’t guess how messed up I am. Although yesterday, my brother Gareth had a “big brother talk” with me about my behavior last term, so he suspects. Ugh.
Our housemates, Brooklyn and Natalie, appear in the door too.
“Hi!” My smile widens. “You’re back!”
“Just got here.” Natalie moves into the room with a big smile that slips as she studies me. “Your aura is looking a little brown. Is everything okay?”
I blink. “Brown? Is that bad?” What am I saying? A brown aura has to be bad.
She perches on the side of my bed. “It can mean confusion or discouragement.” She eyes me.
I’m a little skeptical of Natalie’s ability to read auras, but right now she’s nailed it. Heck yeah, I’m confused and discouraged.
“You usually have such a bright aura,” Natalie continues. “Beautiful bright orange.”
She’s told me that means I am an outgoing social person who likes to party. Which is what got me into this confused and discouraged state. I summon all my energy to try to create a bright orange aura, imagining flames outlining my body. However, it appears I can’t really fake that the way I faked being happy and carefree at home with my family. I need to deflect Natalie’s attention from me. “How’s your aura, Brook?” I joke.
Brooklyn grins, leaning against the door. “Very bright,” she assures me. “Break was good.”
“And we all know Skylar is beaming because she and Jacob are back together,” I add.
Skylar laughs. Yeah, she’s happy. It’s so nice to see. “We’re going ice-skating this afternoon,” she says. “I came to invite you to go with us.”
“Yeah. There’s a pond in Seneca Park that they turn into a skating rink. Jacob thinks it would be fun to go there and skate just for fun.”
Jacob is Skylar’s new boyfriend. They were pretty much inseparable before Christmas, but were apart for a few weeks over the break, so their reunion yesterday was mega-steamy. Now they want to go skating? I’d think they’d want to stay holed up in a bedroom until classes start tomorrow. But Jacob’s a hockey player for the college team, so I guess he likes skating.
“I don’t have skates,” I say.
“Neither do I, but we can rent them there.”
“I don’t know. A bunch of us.”
“I’m not going.” Brooklyn pushes away from the door. “I don’t do cold.”
I look at Natalie. She shrugs. “I might go.”
I debate the invitation. I’m inclined to blow Skylar off. But to do what? I don’t have homework, my mom did all my laundry while I was home for the break, and on a Sunday afternoon I’m probably not going to find a party to distract me from all the shit I want to be distracted from.
A lot of stuff went down last year, and things between Skylar and me were messed up. We’ve been best friends since high school, but last term we had a falling out and for a while we weren’t even speaking to each other. I know it was mostly my fault, and when I finally figured that out, I knew I had to work at repairing my friendship with her. That’s one of my goals for this term, along with bringing up my marks before I get kicked out of school, or my parents find out about my academic probation and drag my butt home.
So because fixing things between Skylar and me is important, I find myself agreeing to go skating.
It turns out Natalie doesn’t come either, so when Jacob picks us up, it’s just Skylar and me. He drives us to the pretty park off the campus of Bayard College. It snowed recently and everything is pristine white, the black tree branches layered with white and the branches of dark evergreens holding big clumps of snow. The sky is clear blue, the sun bright, and it’s hard to feel glum surrounded by so much light and freshness.
We enter a small but tall building with lots of windows. Inside there’s a big stone fireplace and a bunch of picnic tables and benches. Jacob leads us over to a window where we can rent skates. I ask for size eights, hoping there’s room for the thick socks I’ve donned. When I turn around to find a place to sit, I see Jacob’s friend Ben waving at us.
I detest Ben Buckingham.
He’s a pompous, pretentious guy who thinks he’s all that, with his designer clothes and perfect hair and all the adulation that goes with being a star hockey player on campus. But even more than that, I despise him because he judges me.
I know he does. I’ve seen him at parties, watching me flirt with other guys, leave with other guys, and I can feel the waves of disdain coming from him. He thinks I’m a slutty tramp.
But that’s his problem, because I’m not going to be ashamed of owning my sexuality.
I should have known he’d be coming along with Jacob, since they live together and play hockey together. I look around for Jacob’s other friends, but Ben appears to be alone. Reluctantly, I cross the room toward him.
“Hi.” I take a seat on the bench, not close to him. “Where’s everyone?” Hopefully already out there skating.
“Nobody else wanted to come.” He leans forward, elbows on his knees, already wearing his hockey skates.
Shit. When Skylar said a bunch of people were going skating, I figured I could handle it. Now this is just weird, with two couples, one of them being Ben and me, and we are definitely not a couple.
“How was your winter break?” I ask stiffly, pulling off my boots.
“Okay.” He shrugs. “I went home to Buffalo for a few days.”
“Not really. But whatever.”
His response makes me pause and flash him a curious look.
“And we had that tournament in Florida,” he adds.
“I heard the Bears were runner-up.”
“Yeah.” He makes a face that clearly tells me he’s not satisfied with being runner-up.
I guess when you’re competitive, you don’t like losing. Ever. “Well, win some, lose some.”
His eyes flash with annoyance. Which makes me want to annoy him even more.
I take in his perfectly tousled brown hair, dark designer jeans, black pea jacket, and the scarf he wears looped perfectly around his neck, looking like he’s here for a fashion photo shoot.
“Do you have a suit and tie under there? Who dresses like that to go skating?” I ask him, waving a hand up and down. In contrast, Jacob is wearing a knit cap and a plaid scarf tucked inside a big thick hoodie over loose, faded jeans.
Ben looks down at himself, then gives me a once-over. “I do,” he says easily. “And I don’t know if you’re one to talk, party girl. Better zip that jacket up or your hooters are going to freeze.”
I glance down at my chest and my cheeks flush hot. My long-sleeved top is low cut, but it’s not like I have a lot of cleavage to worry about, and I brought a scarf too. I bend to wrestle the skates on, a little ashamed of how bad-mannered I am around Ben.
That’s not me.
But I’ve been doing a lot of things lately that aren’t me.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read many books by Kelly Jamieson and I have fallen in love with all of her characters but Ben holds a special place in my heart, he is everything I want from a man, he is sweet, caring and so freaking hot !!! I love this series, I love that the characters are young and learning about life, yes they make mistakes and sometimes they learn from them and sometimes they don't but let's be honest that's what real life is. Seeing these guys realise that life isn't just about them, they aren't the be all and end all makes for great reading and then Kelly throws in them learning about friendships,trust and love, then you get a perfect read. Great job can't wait for book 3 in the Bayard Hockey Series
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. I like Kelly Jamieson, and I like hockey. Still this was not my favorite of her books on hockey, or her characters, however that does not diminish the story. I can't give it a four star, but it was not a 2 star either. So I did not Ella in that last book, so she had to work at it to redeem herself in my eyes, and after a while she did. Then there was Ben, he also had to work at being worthy in my eyes, because some of the thing he said annoyed me. but eventually they were good to go. Now I could sit here and tell you the story, but what good would that do, it is enjoyable, and you should read it for yourselves and get your own view point, because it is entertaining.
This is book # 2 in the Bayard Hockey series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding of the series, I recommend reading in order. Ben & Ella have best friends in common, who are dating. They are always invited to get together with them. They do not really seem to get along. Ella finds herself suddenly attracted to a man she never considered remotely hot before. She is appreciating all the other qualities about him she never knew. Now if only she knew why? I love this series! Whew. Okay, now that we have that out of the way - I just want to tell you I think this is the best book yet. I really love the controversial subjects and how they were handled here. The characters are very down to earth with real world problems. Who doesn't love a story with hot hockey players? Great solid read. ***This early copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed Cross Check but I did not enjoy it as much as most of Jamieson's other books. For me, there were too many "learning moments" that I found annoying. I'm not someone who reads for personal growth and the preachy bits were things I already believed, so the after school special moments in the book came across as borderline condescending at times. I did, however, like both of the characters despite their flaws and ocational bouts of immaturity and judgment. The secondary characters were likable and well written as well and I hope there are more books in this series. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Jamieson's other books. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Entertaining, sexy, and sincere! Cross Check, the latest novel in the Bayard Hockey series, is a slightly more emotional tale about the heartbroken, grief-stricken Ella who has been neglecting her studies and masking her sorrow after the loss of one of her friends, and Ben the gorgeous, up-and-coming hockey star who seems positively perfect but has a few dark secrets of his own. The writing is fluid. The plot is a heartfelt mix that tackles important contemporary issues faced by young people today including friendship, family, campus life, suicide, rape, mental illness, sex, relationships, love, and hockey. And the characters, including all the supporting characters, are kind, engaging, and supportive. Overall, Cross Check is a romantic, sweet, moving read that has a nice amount of drama, angst, tension, humour, banter, attraction, dirty talk and chemistry and even though it's not my favourite Jamieson novel I think lovers of the new-age-college-romance genre will certainly enjoy it.
Story 5 *, Emotion/Passion 4.5 *, Sizzle 4.25 *. I love this author and don’t hesitate to push the one-click button when she has a new release. This is the second of the Bayard College Hockey Series and it is Ella’s story. She is an emotional mess, failing her classes and known for being a party girl. She is just beginning to repair her relationship with her very BFF Skylar after a tumultuous year for both. Ella hasn’t been doing well academically or socially since the suicide of a close friend the year before. Whenever she is with Skylar and her boyfriend, his teammate Ben is there and there is no love lost between Skylar and Ben. In fact, one might say they are enemies…except somehow, Ben’s eyes are always on Ella and she certainly keeps tabs on the quiet, snobby but hot and charismatic Ben. He is just so rude, calling her “Party Girl”. Their mutual attraction grows and each tries to ignore the other. It takes time for Ben to notice that Ella has changed and is now focused on studying and repairing relationships. Ella doesn’t trust Ben, or hardly anyone. The reader is sucked in, captured by the story, and kept anxiously hopeful throughout that these two will pay attention to each other. Missed communications and perceptions create a bit of angst. The author addresses some heavy topics of depression, slut-shaming, suicide and date-rape. These important issues for young people are integral to the story and sensitively managed. With this author, a satisfactory HEA is a guarantee! #MainelyStories #KellyJamieson #NetGalley #Loveswept
This is more than a love story. The topics the author tackled were so well written; thought and discussion provoking that I actually went back to Skylar and Jacob's book (Shut out) to reread some passages that were also discussed in this book. There is tremendous growth in not just the two main characters but in the supporting characters as well.. The character development also helped to move the story forward and what they each found and took from the other was very also instrumental in their growth ( he gave her structure, she gave me support). And the end, Oh I cried. It was a wonderful story. I have gone back to amazon and added all the other books.....
Kelly Jamieson has done it again!I loved this book.A great story about college students who are making decisions about their futures.The guys are hockey players,Ben and Jacob are prospects for major hockey teams.Jacob and Skylar were the main characters in the last book,but I feel you could pick this book up and be filled in.Ella and Ben had a hate relationship that turns to a passionate one.The book is full of drama and angst as these young people are trying to grow up and make mature decisions.The book was true to life with the problems that these people had to deal with such as suicide and depression.Well done Ms.jamieson can't wait for her next book.
I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review. I find it difficult to relate to stories where the characters are in college. I'm well beyond those years. That Kelly could write the story and not make me feel like I'm 100 years old was great. Although young, the characters are mature and have depth. The issues they face are real and difficult, and Kelly does an amazing job bringing these issues to light. Ella's and Ben's characters were a great surprise. They were quite different than what they came off as in book one. The hockey aspect of the book is great, you can tell she is a true hockey fan. Let's not forget the sizzle... Ben and Ella had some major chemistry!! I am looking forward to more Bayard Boys!!
Ella and Ben are coming at life from two different directions. Ella has gotten off track and is on academic probation due to her lack of focus, partying too much and general lack of discipline her freshman year in high school. Ben is striving to make it into the NHL and is focused on both his game and his studies. They each feel disdain for each other in the beginning. Ella thinks Ben is a snob and he thinks Ella is a party girl. Both of them hide behind their personas for different reasons. Ella and Skylar are both still struggling with the suicide of their friend the previous year and both have taken different paths in dealing with that grief. Ella knows she needs to be a better friend to Skylar and sets about trying to do that. Ella also makes a vow to focus on her schoolwork, less partying and more focusing on being a better student. She knew she went off the rails and is paying the price with academic probation. The bar she sets for herself is pretty high and does not include a relationship of any sort with a male, let alone Ben. Ben does not want distractions from his pursuit of being drafted. He thinks a girlfriend would hold him back and is adamant that he wants to just focus on his career and school. Ben realizes that he may have judged Ella harshly but also gets her to see that his life is far from perfect. He had a rough childhood and does not want anyone to know how bad it was. Ben does do a great job of focusing and accomplishing what he needs to both with school and hockey. I liked how he would prioritize and still find time to have fun. Ella and Ben basically collide one night and the sparks shoot off. Neither one of them handles it all that great in the beginning. They each are full of insecurities that causes some problems. Ella questions her reputation and whether she is good enough for Ben. She also questions what others will say about him when they find out they are together. Ben feels he does not measure up and it is compounded when he meets Ella's parents. They both agree to work it out together. You will have to read the book to see how it all unfolds. It was a quick, easy read and, although it did deal with some sensitive topics (rape, sexual assault, suicide, mental illness) it was done in such a way that it just wove through the book. I am grateful to have received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Sexy, Heartwarming Love! This is an enemies to lovers romance that I could not put down, and read in one day. Kelly Jamison is the queen of Hockey Romance but takes on so much more with this heartwarming, sexy romance. Ella Verran has made a mess of not only her reputation and grades but also her relationship with her best friend Skylar, since she has come to College. Ben Buckingham is the the star forward on Bayard’s Ice hockey team and his goal is to be drafted into the NHL. As these two are thrown together, their opinions and feelings for each other will slowly and surely rock each other’s worlds. Sizzling chemistry and passionate feelings change them. All their flaws, fears and struggles will make them stronger and better together. But will their passion lead to Love? Will Ben leave Ella with a broken heart? Or will they get their HEA? The author did such a fantastic job, not only with this romance but with some very real tough life issues that were dealt with in this series. Loved it! Received an ARC through the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily wrote an honest review.
This was another great addition to the Bayard Hockey series. It was fun, flirty and witty while at the same time dealing with some pretty serious issues. I enjoy this enemies to lovers trope as Ella & Ben go from enemies to friends and lovers. Their chemistry was pretty undeniable. I feel like Ella redeemed herself in this book and I am happy for that as I do like her character. I like her more because of Ben though. I really feel like they bring the best out in each other and am so happy they got over the judgmental opinions they had of each other and were able so see what they have in common and how much they like each other and how wrong they were about the other before. As always Kelly Jamieson gives us a wonderfully crafted story and it is a bonus that it is set around hockey and her knowledge of the hockey world seems to be pretty spot on!
This is a fun and sexy romance full of college angst - from the party girl Ella to the perfect hockey player Ben. Ella has a history and is still dealing from the issues surrounding her friend's suicide, while Ben is hiding issues in his past. Despite believing they hate each other, because of mutual friends, they keep getting thrown together. Slowly they start to build a friendship/relationship that is full of fire and ice. I particularly enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the way the author tackled some tough subjects. Fans of the genre will love this book. While it is part of a series, it is a stand alone novel. While I've read many of the author's books, this is the first one I've read in this series and I had not trouble jumping into the middle of it. If you're a contemporary romance fan, add this one to your TBR list - you'll be glad you did. Just be aware that this is a very sexy story with some very explicit scenes that are not for younger readers.
**Advanced reader copy received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review** In this second book in the Bayard Hockey series, we get a little bit of everything - love, hate, emotion, empathy and of course hockey! While this is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone and your enjoyment will not be effected. Ben Buckingham is a stud on the Bayard hockey team and his chances of being drafted into the NHL are very high. While Ben projects himself as a polished, well-dressed athlete, there are some things in his past that he would much rather leave there and solely focus on hockey and moving forward with his life. Ella Verran is going through her own trying time since she's just been put on academic probation and she's trying to repair her relationship with her best friend Skylar. Since Skylar is her best friend, she often finds herself hanging out with her and her boyfriend, Jacob, who also happens to be best friends with Ben. Ben and Ella have always had a love-hate relationship and for them, spending time together isn't exactly high on their list of things to do. Or is it? As Ben and Ella get to know one another better and they see other sides of each other, they realize that maybe they have judged one another completely wrong. While neither of them is looking for a committed relationship, are they going to be able to smolder the sparks that are igniting between them? While this book does center on college, hockey and relationships, I felt like it centered on so much more. It dealt with love, loss, forgiveness and mental illness and it shed some light on issues that sometimes are still difficult for people to address. Kudos to Kelly Jamieson for writing not only a great love story, but one that shed light on other important topics.