Going for the Goal

Going for the Goal

by Sara Rider

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Overview

Going for the Goal by Sara Rider

Sara Rider returns with the third book in the Perfect Play series—a fast-paced, icy hot romance featuring a sports agent fighting an attraction to the NHL’s bad boy…and his ability to melt her heart.

In this perfect book for romance and sports fans, professional sports agent Jillian Nichols knows how to play the game to get what she wants. But admitting to what she needs has always been a challenge. Will she ever let her guard down long enough to let someone in? Or will the bad boy hockey player Nick “the Punisher” Salinger have to fight harder than ever for a chance to win her heart?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501132926
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 02/13/2017
Series: Perfect Play Series , #3
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 256,074
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Growing up, Sara Rider dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. When that dream was squashed by her extreme dislike of running, she decided to do the next best thing: write about professional soccer players. By day, Sara spends her time working in the field of research ethics and daydreams about plotlines and character arcs. She spends far too much time at public libraries and never leaves the house without a paperback or an e-reader stuffed into her purse.

Read an Excerpt

Going for the Goal

1

NINE YEARS AGO

Jillian Nichols had faced a lot of adversity in her quest to become a professional sports agent, but this was the first time her own bra was actively sabotaging her. She’d been in the middle of an impassioned speech trying to convince a drunken college basketball player to sign with Pantheon Sports Management when her underwire popped out and impaled her tender skin. She pushed her way through the throngs of partygoers crowding the small apartment to find the nearest exit and ended up in a cold, dark interior stairwell. Clear of prying eyes, she wasted no time digging her hand into the front of her black sheath dress to adjust the rogue wire.

The concrete floor was icy cold beneath her tights-clad feet. She should’ve grabbed her boots before slipping out, but she’d been in too much of a hurry to free herself from the push-up bra of death to think straight. She regretted that hasty decision the second her left foot sank into a wet puddle on the landing. Dear god, please let that be water.

She hissed as the thin strip of metal popped right back out of the fabric, jabbing into her chest again.

Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, “The Imperial March” from Star Wars sounded from her purse—the ringtone she’d set for her boss. She rummaged awkwardly for the phone and answered, “Hi, Mr. Parsons.”

She winced as his loud voice boomed through her cell, demanding to know how her “networking session,” as he euphemistically called it, was going. Jillian tended to think of it as “trotting out the young female intern to get the attention of an obnoxious, hormone-driven young athlete.” This was all part of a scheme to aggressively court Matt Turner, a University of Minnesota basketball player who still had another year of college eligibility left but had more than one NBA team interested in drafting him early. He’d taken a liking to her when they’d met in the office a few months ago, and Parsons hadn’t wasted any time using her youth and gender to bend the NCAA’s rules about agent recruitment practices.

Landing an internship with a prestigious agency was the only way to make it in this cutthroat business, and Pantheon was the biggest agency on both coasts, but this wasn’t exactly the learning opportunity she’d signed up for. It was bad enough she’d been shipped out to the wilds of Minnesota for the last few months instead of working out of the New York or LA offices like she’d expected. Even when she did manage to convince some young hotshot athlete that Pantheon was the best agency out there, Parsons never gave her any credit. After four months, she was sick of it.

One day she was going to open her own agency and do things her way. No underhanded recruitment tactics, no flouting the regulations governing the profession—she was going to earn her success through hard work and honesty. Then again, that wasn’t going to happen if she didn’t get a solid letter of recommendation from Parsons and a passing grade for this internship.

“It’s fine. Great. I think Turner’s interested,” she said. No need to tell him that interest was geared more toward getting her into bed than signing with Pantheon.

She wedged the phone between her ear and shoulder so she could quickly strip off her wet tights and keep working on the stubborn underwire while Parsons prattled on, painfully unaware of his own ignorance. He’d claimed to have been impressed with her grades during her interview—she was at the top of her class—but she was pretty sure she could’ve handed him a Playboy magazine in lieu of her transcript and he still would’ve hired her. He didn’t care about her brains or talent, only that she was young and attractive enough to get the attention of male athletes.

“Good job, Nichols. Now get back in there and see if you can charm him a little more. We’re on a tight timeline. I want you to land Turner by any means necessary. Do you understand me?”

“I’m not sure I do,” she said slowly.

“I hired you for a reason, Nichols. Guys like Turner think with their dicks, not their brains. Anyone can promise to make him millions of dollars, but you have assets none of my male interns have. Assets that can easily sway Turner. Use them if you have to.”

Revulsion battered her stomach like a rockslide. Parsons had dropped some lewd hints over the past few months, but this was the first time he’d outright suggested she sleep her way to success. Her entire body shook with anger. “Actually, Mr. Parsons, I qui—”

The phone slipped out of her grasp. She managed to catch it before it crashed onto the concrete floor and brought it back to her ear.

“What was that, Nichols?”

She tilted her head back and sighed, feeling like all the air had just been pulled out of her lungs. Interning for Pantheon was the most degrading experience of her life, but quitting now would mean giving up on her dream completely. One o’clock in the morning wasn’t the time to make rash life decisions. “Yes, sir.”

She hung up and leaned against the cold gray wall to catch her breath. What she wouldn’t give to take back these last few hours.

She cast a quick glance around to make sure there were no hallway cameras, then took advantage of the isolation to unzip her dress, pull the front down to her waist, and finally yank the damn underwire right out of her bra.

“Need some help with that?”

She yelped and jumped backward, stumbling and dropping her phone again, as a guy with a six-pack in his left hand climbed the stairs. He stopped halfway to her landing and caught her phone as it tumbled toward him.

“No, thanks,” she said, throat dry with embarrassment as she quickly pulled her dress back up to hide her lace-covered breasts.

She crossed her arms as she watched him bound up the remaining steps. How did a guy of that size move so quietly? He was well over six feet with shoulders so broad, he nearly filled the stairwell. She assumed he was an athlete with that body, but with his stubble, worn jeans, and utilitarian brown jacket, he looked more like a sexy lumberjack.

There was something strangely familiar about his rugged face. Midnight-blue eyes, a strong jaw, and a slightly crooked nose that only added to his handsomeness. The kind of face she would want to grab hold of with two hands and pull into hers until every memory of this disastrous evening was burned out of her brain—if she weren’t so mortified.

“My phone?” Thankfully, her voice had regained most of its normal composure. She kept one arm tightly pressed across her chest to hide the fact that her breasts were now lopsided, and held the other out expectantly.

Instead of handing it over, he made a show of inspecting the phone. “Looks like I caught it before the screen cracked.”

“Are you expecting a reward or something?” she snapped, letting her frustration get the better of her. She just wanted to go back to her tiny rented apartment, wipe off all her carefully applied makeup, and sleep until the entire night was a distant memory.

He gave her a wicked smile that made her knees go weak. “Pretty sure I already got one.”

She swallowed. Everything about this guy, from his cocky swagger to his enormous size, screamed “bad boy.” What was wrong with her that she actually found his whole tall, dark, and fresh-from-hewing-lumber vibe so attractive? Maybe it was because he looked like a man, unlike all the overly entitled, immature frat boys at the party, that was so refreshing to her senses. Or maybe it was because this guy was so hot, he could make a woman melt in the middle of Antarctica.

But none of that mattered. She was here to sign Matt Turner, not get distracted by some random guy who happened to check every one of her “yes, please” boxes.

He chuckled and held the phone out, and she immediately snatched it from his hand, then spun on her heel to push open the door to the hallway.

The heavy metal door didn’t budge.

“Needs a key card,” the guy said, gesturing to the black panel along the wall.

“I don’t suppose you have one?” She’d forgotten about the security in the building. Someone from the party had come down to escort her up because the elevator was key card enabled. She should’ve realized the stairwell would be locked as well.

“Nope, but I’ll call my buddy to let us in.” He pulled out his own phone and dialed. After a few seconds, he hung up and shrugged. “No answer.”

“That’s fine. We can walk down and sneak into the elevator with someone who lives here.” She could handle walking down the seven flights to the lobby, despite her bare feet, but considering it was the dead of winter, she needed to get her boots and favorite navy peacoat she’d left inside the apartment.

“Elevator’s malfunctioning. That’s why I took the stairs.”

She stared at him with eyes so wide, it felt like they were bulging out of her head. She looked for some kind of a sign that he was joking, but it didn’t come. Defeat hammered into her shoulders, killing off the last bits of her adrenaline and forcing her to feel just how tired she really was. She hung her head and groaned.

“Hey, don’t worry. My buddy knows I’m coming. He’ll look for me eventually.” He shrugged off his jacket and set it on the floor. “Here, we can have our own party until he comes.”

“Turn around first,” she ordered in her most authoritative voice.

“Why?” he asked innocently, but his eyes zeroed in on her crossed arms.

“Just do it.”

“Fine, but promise you aren’t planning to push me down the stairs.”

The idea that she could make this giant of a man unwillingly budge a single inch was so absurd, she laughed in spite of herself. He turned around without further argument, giving her the chance to pull out the underwire from the other side of her bra.

“Done,” she said with a sigh of relief. Her boobs might not look perky and round anymore, but at least they were even. She eased onto the ground and watched him remove a couple of beers from the six-pack he’d been carrying.

He slid down the wall and took a seat a few feet from her on the floor. The faint scent of his cologne pushed through the dank odor of the stairwell, making her feel like she could finally breathe again. She wanted to inhale the spicy, masculine notes until they filled her senses.

“Beer?” he asked.

When he handed her the dark brown bottle, she hesitated. Despite smelling like a brewery after some guy accidentally spilled his beer on her, she hadn’t had a drink all night. She took her job seriously, which meant never drinking when she was on the clock. But she was tired of being the good girl who never got anywhere. She was twenty-one years old, a straight-A student, and the hardest-working intern Pantheon had ever seen. For once, she just wanted to relax. “After the day I’ve had, why not?”

He removed the cap with his hand and tossed it into the corner of the landing, then took a long sip.

She copied his movement, wrapping her hand around the top of the bottle and twisting. “Ouch!” The metallic edges of the cap dug into her palm, leaving a harsh red imprint.

“Let me.” He leaned over, covered her hand holding the bottle with his, and popped the cap off like it was nothing.

“Thanks,” she muttered, cheeks burning as his hand lingered over hers. The dual sensation of cold glass and his warm skin made her whole body tingle.

With a sly grin, he slid his hand away, no doubt completely aware of the effect he had on her. “If it makes you feel better, I’m super claustrophobic.”

“Really? Or is that just a feeble attempt to cuddle up to me?”

He winked, and she rolled her eyes. “What? I’m a man who likes to take advantage of a good opportunity. And from the way you keep biting your lip, I can tell you’re thinking about it, too.”

Her hand flew to her mouth.

He punched her lightly in the shoulder like she was one of his jock buddies. “I’m just messing with you. So are you in a terrible mood because the party sucks, or is it my company making you miserable?”

“I can’t say I’m happy to be stuck with the guy who saw me fixing my bra, but I can’t really blame you for that. Bad timing.”

“For the record, I disagree. That was miraculous timing.”

Thank god the lighting was dim, because she could feel a flush creeping up her neck. “Anyway, I’m sure the party is fine if you’re actually here to party.”

“What other reason is there to be at a party?”

She took a sip of beer. She hated IPAs, but the hoppy, malty flavor was less bitter on her tongue than anything else she’d had to deal with tonight. “Work.”

He raised his eyebrows in shock. “Uh, no offense, but you don’t really seem friendly enough to be a prostitute.”

She couldn’t stop the high-pitched laugh from bursting out of her chest. “I’m not a prostitute, I’m a sports agent. Or at least I will be. Right now I’m just an intern.”

His grin returned. “That makes more sense. But I wouldn’t have pegged you for an agent.”

“Why’s that?”

“You’re a woman.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” she said sarcastically.

“Well, you could always unzip your dress again if we need further proof,” he responded with mock seriousness.

The half bottle of beer she’d drunk must’ve already gone to her head, because she was starting to find his incessant flirting and cocky attitude more charming than annoying. Somewhere along the way, the tension had eased from her shoulders, and the millions of thoughts roaring in her mind had faded to a dull whisper. “I’ll pass.”

“I’m Nick, by the way.” The smile he gave her was genuine, and made him look even more devastatingly handsome.

“Jillian Nichols, currently with Pantheon Sports Management,” she added drily.

“So, Jillian, why do you want to be a bloodsucking leech when you grow up?”

Taking a page from his book, she punched him in the shoulder.

“Ouch, you’ve got muscles there, Nichols.”

“No, I don’t. See?” She flexed her pathetically thin bicep. “I literally hit you as hard as I could. It doesn’t matter how many weights I lift, or even if I eat a crate full of steroids. I can’t put on a single pound of muscle no matter how hard I try. I also can’t throw a ball of any shape or size without tripping over my own feet, and I’ve been cut from every team I’ve ever tried out for. Oh, and I’m completely injury-prone. Swear to god I once broke my collarbone just by looking at a baseball bat.”

He laughed. “That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard a woman brag about.”

“I’m not bragging. I’m explaining why I want to be an agent. I suck at sports, but I love them and want to be involved. I’m also smart and know how to get what I want. Distractions can make or break an elite athlete. How can someone focus one hundred and ten percent on their training when they’re worried about a contract dispute or whether they’re getting traded next year? Athletes need someone to look out for them, make sure they’re not getting worked over by the real leeches out there. Being an agent means I can stay involved with the sports I love and make a real difference for the athletes who need someone on their side.”

She quickly knocked back the rest of her beer to mask her embarrassment. She’d been rambling on like a Miss America contestant. Where had that even come from? She wasn’t the type to share her life story with strangers.

“So you want to help people. That’s cool,” he said with what seemed to be genuine sincerity. She had a pretty good bullshit meter, but she’d known Nick for less than ten minutes. She couldn’t help but be suspicious of a guy who went from jerk to Prince Charming that quickly.

She shrugged.

“All right, tell me how you’d help Dean Sanderson.”

“The Toronto right wing? He hasn’t lived up to his potential at all.” Every nerve in her body seemed to electrify with his question. He was challenging her, but she was more than up for it.

“Yeah, but he’s still got some good playing days left.”

“And that’s why I’d try to get him a trade to the lowest-ranked team in the league that’ll take him. He needs a new start. Somewhere he can feel like he’s actually contributing rather than taking up space on the bench.”

He twisted to face her and narrowed his eyes. “Interesting strategy. And what about Joe Symonds?”

“Forty-one and refuses to retire? There’s no question he’s getting sent down to the minors at the end of the year, so I’d push for a trade with Dallas. From what I can tell, the only thing he cares about is getting on the ice. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing for or what league. Dallas’s farm team is close by, which means he could stay in a big city, making his wife and daughters happy, and he could keep playing until his body disintegrates.”

“Impressive. You know your hockey. ” He continued to lob questions at her, amiably debating some of her assertions, until she’d completely lost track of time.

Eventually she was yawning too much to answer coherently.

“Am I boring you?” He flashed a cocky grin that suggested he wasn’t all that worried about the possibility she wasn’t enjoying his company.

“No, just tired.” She smiled, realizing she’d been anything but bored. In fact, she’d actually managed to have some fun in spite of the late hour and cold concrete chilling her butt. Nick was easier to talk to than she’d expected. Sweeter, too. She hadn’t experienced this kind of connection with anyone in a long time. But she was here for work, not pleasure. Unless she wanted Parsons to fire her tomorrow, she’d best remember that.

He shifted closer, letting his knee rest against hers. “Want another beer?”

She shook her head, trying to ignore the wave of heat bursting from the spot where their bodies touched. “We should try knocking again. Maybe someone will hear us.” She stood up and banged on the door.

He was on his feet behind her in less than a second. She didn’t actually hear him stand up, but she could feel the heat of his body radiating behind her, like her nerves were wired to detect him.

“Your zipper,” he said gruffly. He wrapped one hand around her hip, causing her to suck in her breath, while the other slowly pulled the metal tab up to her nape.

“Thanks,” she said breathily.

Instead of letting go, he tightened his hold on her side. It was possessive. Thrilling. “You’ve got freckles all over your shoulders.” His finger ran along her skin like he was tracing a line between the little brown dots.

“My mom says they’re the devil’s kisses. One for each of my sins.”

“She’s wrong. I think they’re beautiful.” His whispered words caressed the sensitive skin on her neck like a kiss.

She shivered and braced her hands on the metal door. How would it feel to let go of her responsibilities just once and act like a normal twenty-one-year-old? One who remembered that parties were supposed to be fun, not high-stakes business meetings. One who had a seriously dangerous attraction to the guy currently setting her skin on fire.

His hand crept around to her stomach, pulling her closer and making her core feel like a volcano about to explode.

Her resolve shattered under the weight of her desire. She twisted to face him and ran her hands along his chest, emboldened by the hungry look in his eyes. He dipped his head, and her heart fluttered. She wanted to kiss him. Lose herself in him. She pressed up on her toes to close the distance, anticipation ratcheting in her belly with each disappearing inch of space.

The door behind them swung open, smacking her square in the butt.

“Salinger! You made it!”

She jumped out of Nick’s arms and rubbed her tender butt cheek while he engaged in some sort of secret handshake with the frat boy. Under the weight of her growing embarrassment, the stairwell started to feel uncomfortably small, like the walls were closing in. She wanted to push her way through the two burly guys, grab her stuff, and get the hell out of there. But that would mean reminding Nick of her presence. Right now, she kind of appreciated that her almost-make-out partner had already forgotten she existed.

Exhaustion won out over embarrassment. “Excuse me,” she muttered, slipping between the door and the other guy’s arm and heading straight into the heart of the pulsing bass to find Turner.

He was passed out on the floor with an empty vodka bottle still in his hand. Disappointment mixed with relief in her stomach. Parsons would be pissed, but there was nothing she could do about it now. Time to go home.

She located her coat beneath another girl’s butt on the sofa. The boots, buried in a massive pile of footwear near the front door, took a little longer to find. Nick breezed into the apartment just as she found the left one.

“The Punisher’s here!” a random voice yelled.

Oh my god. The guy she had nearly jumped in the stairwell wasn’t just another college jock. He was Nick “the Punisher” Salinger—first-line defenseman for the Minneapolis Warriors and the biggest goon in the NHL. She’d just spent the better part of an hour trapped with one of the top rookies, and instead of acting like a professional, she’d turned into a puck bunny. Her desperate urge to leave amplified a hundred times over. She needed to get out of there.

“Hey, Jillian, wait up. I never got your phone number.”

She froze. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Another guy stepped in front of her, blocking the exit. “Maybe you should give me your number instead,” he slurred. She tried to push past him, but the guy didn’t move. He seized her upper arm, squeezing so tight she yelped.

“Let her go,” Nick growled.

“Maybe I don’t want to.”

The only thing she saw was Nick’s fist flying toward the guy’s face before all hell broke loose.

Customer Reviews

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Going for the Goal 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book # 3 in the Perfect Play series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For your enjoyment, and to better understand the series I recommend reading in order. Jillian & Nick have quite the past. Now, as he begs her to be his agent, she does not think it is wise to mix business with pleasure. Her reputation and future are at risk. Nick has waited almost a decade to be with his dream woman. Now, her needs her for more than just the physical. He needs her to save his career. This was such a heartwarming and HOT book to read. I found myself with laughter and tears. I am hoping the series continues, since it is so good. ***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.
PennieM More than 1 year ago
There was so much right about this book. First, we have a hot, sexy, bad boy hockey player and we have an independent woman who is a workaholic. Nick Salinger and Jillian Nichols met nine years ago and after spending an evening talking while locked in a stairwell it ended after Nick was involved in a fight. This was the beginning of "The Punisher" and now he is looking for a new agent and steps into Jillian's office where she turns him down. Oh, this just starts a wild and twisty and oh so good story. I truly enjoyed this story and deem it a standalone since I have not read the others in this series. **Received an ARC copy for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
ehaney578 More than 1 year ago
GOING FOR THE GOAL is a hearty story that will stick to your ribs…and warm your heart! Nick is your typical ego-driven, overblown athlete that fights on and off the ice and thinks the sun rises and sets for his own purpose…on the outside. On the inside, he’s a loyal brother and friend protecting the ones he calls his own against any threats, whether it’s with words or fists. This has given Nick the reputation of a short-tempered brawler/bad boy, which is quickly becoming frowned upon. Nick is literally skating on thin ice in his career and after nine seasons with the New York Vipers hockey team, he’s very likely getting traded…unless he can turn his image around. That’s where Jillian comes in. Jillian is an amazing heroine. She’s tough, persistent and very hard working. Her struggles to be successful in the male-dominated career field were admirable and endearing. Jillian never gave up, no matter how many setbacks she suffered. She’s also very passionate about her work and sincerely cares about her clients. Jillian certainly isn’t without her flaws, but she wasn’t too proud to acknowledge them either. I admired her greatly! Nick and Jillian are brilliant together! Their chemistry was off the charts but it’s their moments out of the bedroom that made my heart swoon and my knees a little weak! I love how supportive Nick was of Jillian’s career. Their pairing was seamless and natural. What I also really loved about the book were the secondary characters. They really pulled the story together, filling in all the nooks and crannies with their sage advice, humorous retorts and loving support for Nick and Jillian. I never wanted it to end! Sara Rider is a new author to me and I am so glad I took a chance on this book! I love Ms. Rider’s writing style and her quirky sense of humor. She’s definitely made a new fan in me. GOING FOR THE GOAL is definitely a book I’d recommend you add to your reading pile. ***ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own***
amatate More than 1 year ago
I’ve been meaning to try this series for a while but never got around to it. Once the featured sport was hockey, I couldn’t put it off any longer. This can certainly be read as a standalone. Characters from the past two books appear as secondary characters, but each book features a new couple and I never felt lost or like I missed a big piece of the history. The writing was solid and the pacing brisk but thorough. I was engaged throughout the book, and found the couple and their romance really enjoyable. I read a lot of sports romances, especially hockey-centric ones, so it’s always nice when an author takes a bit of a different angle. In Going for the Goal, the heroine is a female sports agent trying to create a name for herself in a man’s world and have her own company thrive while maintaining an ethical standard. I liked both the hero and heroine. They’re both brusque in many ways and challenge each other a lot. It made for some good banter and fast-paced dialogue. I always like when the heroine is a strong professional who can hold her own, and that’s exactly who Jillian is. I was even more pleased that it was the hero falling harder and pursuing the relationship in this romance. Not only did it fit with Jillian’s personality, but it made for a more interesting read. The brooding hero with the heart of gold tripped me up at first. In my opinion, that characteristic is overdone and feels like a silly cliché. However, I thought the author balanced Nick’s sweetness with a nice intensity. It never felt disingenuous and there was a sufficient history which provided insight into why he had those contrasting personality traits. Nick and Jillian’s romance was both sweet and fiery. I liked the concept of a missed connection resurfacing. I also appreciated that the author let time pass over the course of the book. The jumps in time flowed cleanly, making the timeline believable and giving depth to the sports/professional aspects of the plot. I did wish there was more focus on the relationship and chemistry building between the two, but the connection felt solid and not solely fueled by lust. The conflicts facing the characters and couple were unique and kept me invested in their story. There were a few times I started to worry things were becoming too predictable or cookie cutter, but the author surprised me and took the plot in a different direction. Although the hockey specifics weren’t exceedingly thorough, there were enough details to keep me- an avid hockey fan- satisfied. I really liked the sports agent aspect, especially the behind the scenes strategizing Jillian did for her clients. Not only did we get to see Jillian in her environment, but it also kept things really interesting on the romance and personal levels. Going for the Goal was a good hockey book with a sweet, but smart romance. The characters were well developed and likable, the pacing perfect, and there were enough surprises keeping things fresh. I’ll definitely be going back and reading the other two books from this series and following the author’s future works. *ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.*
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
The synopsis sounded like my sort of sorbet, so I was pretty excited to get the invite to read this. I loved Jillian and Nick. They're both stubborn and loyal to a fault. They butted heads and pushed each other's buttons and it was all so much fun to read. Oh, and their chemistry was off the charts. The conflict was intriguing and I loved the small twist at the end. Of course there was a lot of miscommunication and jumping to conclusions, but it wasn't quite as annoying as normal. Overall, a quick and cute read. I'll definitely be looking into the other books in the series. **Huge thanks to Pocket Star for the invite to read**
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--GOING FOR THE GOAL is the third installment in Sara Rider’s adult, contemporary THE PERFECT PLAY erotic, romance series. This is professional hockey play/enforcer Nick ‘The Punisher’ Salinger, and sports agent Jillian Nichols’s story line. GOING FOR THE GOAL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story line is revealed where necessary. The reader was first introduced to our heroine in book two-Keeping Score. Told from dual third person perspectives (Jillian and Nick) GOING FOR THE GOAL follows the personal and professional relationship between NHL enforcer Nick Salinger, and sports agent Jillian Nichols. Eight year earlier both Nick and Jillian were newbies in the world of sports: she an intern with an agent whose reputation as a misogynistic pig pushed Jillian to hand in her resignation; and he a rookie hockey player who spoke more with his fists than anything else. Fast forward to present day wherein Nick Salinger needs a new agent but Jillian Nichols refuses to accept any clients whose attitudes match the infamous Nick Salinger. When a disastrous fight with a teammate almost destroys Nick’s career, Jillian remains steadfast in her refusal to accept Nick as a client until the truth about what happened is finally revealed. What ensues is a campaign to rival all others as Jillian struggles to clean up Nick’s reputation while her own slowly begins to unravel and fall apart. The relationship between our couple begins acrimoniously. Nick’s reputation as a fighter pushes all of Jillian’s buttons but neither Jillian or Nick has ever forgotten about their first meeting and the possibility of what never was. Jillian struggles to be accepted into a career dominated by the male of the species and with it comes the sexist attitudes of those who think themselves better than everyone else. The sex scenes are seductive, intimate and intense. We are introduced to several members of the NHL’s New York Vipers including rookie Sebastian Liakos and his fiancée Alexa Whittaker , captain and goalie Mike Lambert, left wing Luke Anderson, and an assortment of coaches, trainers and team owner John Whittaker ; Nick’s younger brother Ben-a high school teacher and struggling actor; as well as Jillian’s former mentor Lou Parsons who sets out to destroy Jillian’s career. Soccer player Jaime Chen (Keeping Score) has a couple of cameo appearances throughout the story. GOING FOR THE GOAL is a story of betrayal and revenge; romance and love; second chances and happily ever afters. The premise is lively and inspiring; the characters are dynamic and heartwarming; the romance is captivating and passionate. GOING FOR THE GOAL is a fascinating story line with a few twists and turns to the conflict resolution.