Hard Stick: A Breakaway Novel

Hard Stick: A Breakaway Novel

by L. P. Dover

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He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

Don’t miss any of New York Times bestselling author L. P. Dover’s red-hot Breakaway novels:
Or these heartwarming Second Chances romances:
“L. P. Dover knows how to create the men who make us swoon, the book boyfriends we all want.”—New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin

Praise for Hard Stick

Hard Stick is a sexy hockey romance that heats up the ice, and the bedroom!”—Sarah Robinson, bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends series

Hard Stick is the action-packed hockey romance you’ll never forget.”—Addicted2Books

“Loved the storyline, the plot was very developed with some suspense, drama and of course romance, the exact amount to make this book good and interesting.”—Collectors of Book Boyfriends & Girlfriends

“I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who loves a story that has a little bit of everything in it. If you’re looking for a storyline that will suck you in and characters you will fall in love with and want more of, then this is the book to read! . . . Hard Stick is truly a book that is a case of ‘Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,’ but in the best way possible.”—Book Bitches Blog

“I loved everything about this book. I highly recommend this author.”—Jack of All Trades, Master of None Book Reviews

“You’ll be sucked in from the start and will feel the book hangover before you’re done.”—Seraphim Book Reviews (five stars)

“L. P. Dover did a great job with this book and if you know going into that it has more of a suspenseful love story, you might not be so surprised. I recommend this book. I couldn’t put it down.”—Wicked Love of Books

This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101967836
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Series: L. P. Dover's Breakaway Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 45,484
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

L. P. Dover is the New York Times bestselling author of the Second Chances series, the Breakaway series, the Forever Fae series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed and Dangerous series, and a standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. She loves not only to write, but also to play tennis, hike in the mountains, go white-water rafting, and sing. A Southern belle with a former life in periodontics, L. P. Dover lives in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The incessant ringing of my phone jerked me awake. Rubbing my eyes, I glanced at the clock and groaned; it was eleven o’clock. It didn’t surprise me when I looked down at my phone and saw Cole’s name.

“This better be good. What are you doing calling me so late?” I mumbled into the phone. My bedroom light was still on so I shielded my eyes from the brightness. I fell asleep slumped over and now my neck was on fire.

Cole revved his motorcycle engine and sighed. “I’m on my way to your place. There’s something you need to see.” Cole Harper was my best friend, a guy I’d grown up with. He followed me to Boston after my parents died in a car accident just a few weeks after graduation. We both attended MIT and he was the closest thing to family I had other than his parents. Usually I’d be out with him and our friends, since it was the weekend, but those days were long gone.

I rubbed the back of my neck. “Now? You know that’s not a good idea.”

“I don’t give a crap,” he growled. “Your boyfriend can go screw himself. After tonight, you need to get rid of him. There’s a reason he doesn’t take you out in public.”

“I already know why,” I grumbled. Only Cole and one of my close girlfriends from back home knew about my relationship with the business tycoon. His name was Mitchell, and he didn’t want our relationship to go public until his divorce was final.

Cole snapped. “No, you don’t, Kris. I’ll tell you everything when I get there.” He hung up before I could stop him. Little did he know that his visit would only stir up what I was trying to avoid. Leaning my head against the wall, I couldn’t help but think back to the first time I met Mitchell. Things were so different back then.

It all began with a moment of pleasure.

That was all it took for me to fall head over heels for the man who could ultimately ruin my life. What the hell am I talking about? He already had. I was trapped inside a sick game where he controlled all the players and I was the main piece. Even now, his eyes were on me. I didn’t have to look out my bedroom window to know that someone was out there, watching me.

Mitchell Blackwell was a powerful man, the owner of Blackwell Holdings, and always used to getting what he wanted. When he hired me to decorate his office building, I was excited about the opportunity. I didn’t have the clientele that some of my other colleagues had at Simon & Associates; that included Cole as well. He was on the rise as one of Boston’s best architects. Working for them was a dream come true, and even more so, being hired to work with Mitchell.

My career skyrocketed after working with him as an interior designer. There were so many people wanting to be my clients, I barely had time to breathe. I had no clue I was going to fall for the man. He was in his late thirties, about ten years older than me, but with a body any young man my age would be jealous of. Being the smitten girl that I was, I wish I would’ve been able to see the hell he was going to put me through. The love I thought we had turned into a dangerous obsession, one I didn’t know how to escape from.

I realized Mitchell’s true intentions after I spent a few late nights out with my friends. He said he wanted to make sure I was safe at all times, but after he started showing up unannounced, I began to think differently. He wasn’t trying to keep me safe, he was keeping tabs on me, on who I was with. If another man touched me in any way, he would be right there on my doorstep, ready to make sure I thought of no one but him. Sometimes he would give me a passionate kiss and then rush off, but most of the time he’d want more and the sex would be demanding, passionate . . . or hard and possessive. Again, at the beginning I loved it, felt special, but then realized I was his obsession and this was getting out of control. Now that Cole was on his way over, Mitchell would no doubt find out and show up.

At first I loved his attention and the way he made me feel wanted. Now he terrified me, only there was no escaping him. Maybe that was why his wife had left him.

The sound of Cole’s motorcycle blared down the street and I sighed. I hadn’t told him what Mitchell would do if his people spotted another man coming to my condo. It’d gotten so bad that even my male clients steered clear of me during our meetings. It was like Mitchell was everywhere, scaring the shit out of every man who tried to get near me. And he could do it, too. There was no way anyone could take him on and make it out on top.

Cole banged on my door and I opened it, refraining from flipping off the guy I knew was in the shadows somewhere watching. With his bleach-blond hair in disarray, Cole stormed inside, his jaw clenched tight.

“Is there a reason you’re so pissed?” I asked, shutting the door.

Huffing, he turned to face me, his green eyes full of anger and concern. He unzipped his black leather jacket and set his helmet down. There were many times I rode on the back of his sport bike, but Mitchell didn’t like that. In fact, he didn’t like Cole at all. He believed Cole was trying to steal me away, and no amount of telling him otherwise could sway him. I knew the truth, though. Cole was like my brother.

“Heck yeah, I’m pissed,” he growled, pulling out his phone. “I want you to see what kind of dirtbag you’re dating. I don’t care if the guy’s worth millions. You deserve more than to be hidden away while he does whatever the heck he wants.”

Customer Reviews

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Hard Stick: A Breakaway Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hot, sexy, riviting... could not put this story down and makes me want more, more, more...
SusanReads1 More than 1 year ago
I devour everything written by L.P. Dover. I love her writing and always look forward to curling up with her stories! Kellan is the Captain of the Carolina Strikers. He is a patron at a bar where Kristen works. He has an interest in her, but she seems hesitant and he can't understand why. Kristen has a past she is hiding from and a fear of trusting anyone. She is very hesitant to get involved with a man for several reasons including trusting her judgment. This is a romantic suspense story. I don't want to ruin the story and say too much. I will say one click for a great story that oozes hot athletes, suspense, drama, angst and love! Why no voting buttons? We don'
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great read, love the plot. I read it in two days.
Anonymous 6 months ago
good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
voraciousreaderKB More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet, fun story with suspense and intrigue thrown into the mix to make it a satisfying read. I enjoy everything L. P. Dover writes and I love stories about hockey players, so I was excited to read this and I wasn't disappointed. Kristen is forced to take on a new identity when she runs away from her psycho boyfriend. She is devastated when she leaves her home, job and everything else in her life behind. She is currently working as a bartender and she misses her former job as an interior designer. She is afraid if she goes back into the field she loves, her ex will be able to track her down. Kristen works at the local bar that Kellon, a professional hockey player and his teammates frequent. Many of the guys in the team have asked Kristen out but she refuses. She isn't interested in any of the sexy hockey players, she is too caught up in all her problems to even notice them. Kellon likes the challenge of trying to get Kristen to go out with him. Once Kristen finally agrees and she gets to know Kellon, she realizes he is not the womanizer she thought he was. I feel sorry for Kristen she has had some tough breaks and deserves some happiness. She is a nice person but afraid to get involved with Kellon because she has so many problems. I love how protective Kellon is with Kristen. He won't let anything happen to her and always puts her first. He is loyal and an all around good guy. I really enjoyed the storyline and the characters. Kallon and Kristen are good together and have a lot chemistry, they just need to work through all of Kristens problems. Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book vIa Cocktails and Books and Netgalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
TiannaMorvant910 More than 1 year ago
Hard Stick was amazing. I didn’t want to put it down. The twists and turns kept me going and cheering on Kristen to have finally caught a break. Kristen is a strong character that doesn’t know how strong she is until she has no choice but to be. Starting fresh is never easy but with good friends by her side, she manages. Meeting Kellan Carter, she thinks he is just like every other Hockey player that comes in the bar. But, looks can be deceiving and she finds that she can’t really stay away, even though her past may not be as long gone as she thinks. Throughout the book, like with a majority of L.P. Dover’s Books, we get glimpses of some other people or couples from previous books. I love that we are able to get new little bits of info and see them while experiencing something completely new. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally read Hard Stick, but you can safely bet that I will be devouring the rest of the Breakaway Series after this!
SaraBetty More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book.. As a lover of sports themed novels this one "put the puck in the net" for me.. Just enough of everything including a little danger when a deranged man is obsessed with our heroine... Our here is beyond every woman's book boyfriend.. The book is well written and well edited... All aspects of the story line were handled very well and the 'sexy" was in very good taste without going into the "gross" as some authors do... Still very "hot"... Quickly moved on to Book Two and that also kept me reading into the night.. Have to wait for Book Three until February 2018 but look forward to the release date... I loved the way Book One carried over into Book Two just enough... This is a good read and again, if you don't like hockey it will not make a difference in your enjoyment... The Love Story is the main game...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Psycho ex vs. a Real Man is no contest. I loved this story in part, because it reminds me of my hockey playing college boyfriend. Hot, sexy, loving and loyal to family and friends. A great start to this new series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this story. Characters were believable. Storyline intense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story...more please
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
I love a hockey story with a heroine who really does not understand hockey but develops a love for the sport and an athlete. Kristen is hiding out, trying to lead a normal life. Kellan is finally looking for more than a one night stand. She tries to keep her distance, but Kellan does not give up and neither do her few friends. Going out for that one date changes her life again and Kristen hopes for an HEA. Together they face danger and a past that comes back to pull them apart. I was not prepared for the twist to this story but enjoyed it very much. I look forward to the next in this series. I received a copy of this story from Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.
KristieK More than 1 year ago
Hard Stick By: LP Dover ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Star Review by Kristie K A hockey romance with a twist, LP Dover delivers a slap shot win with Hard Stick… Kellan Carter rules on the ice. Captain of the Charlotte Strikers hockey team, he knows how to handle his stick…both on and off the ice. But, Kellan is also a good guy, and a gentleman. He doesn’t take home every ice groupie that hits him up, and he lives a much more subdued life than his teammates. Kellan knows what he type of woman he wants, down to earth, sweet, fun, and sexy…everything that bartender Kristen Robinson happens to be, including drop-dead gorgeous and very hard to get. When his persistence pays off and lands him a date, he is determined to earn her trust and extend his luck beyond one encounter. Kristen Robinson chose the wrong guy. Her sweet and innocent nature left her vulnerable to the worst type of predator…those of the heart. Her mistake forced her to leave everything behind, start her life over, and pray that her mistakes don’t follow. Afraid to make the same mistakes twice, Kristen keeps people, especially men, at a distance. She is successfully keeping the sexy hockey players frequenting the bar she tends at arms length, until Kellan Carter breaks through her defenses. He surprises her with his laid back and relaxed demeanor, and the simple, fun, and easy going time they spend together. When Kristen’s past comes back to haunt her, she has to decide if she’s going to let him in…or let him go. I'm not a big hockey fan, but I happen to be a HUGE fan of athletes… ;) I knew I wanted to read Hard Stick when I saw the blurb and cover reveal. That cover is gorgeous…so sexy. And the blurb was sweet and unexpected for a hockey novel. I loved the characters, I cried along with Kristen…felt helpless with Kellan…and swooned with them both. They were easy to love, fun to watch, and well developed. The plot and storyline were different from your typical hockey novel, so unique in their genre. I struggled slightly with the execution of the plot, as there were times when it just seemed to easy…too predictable. That being said, there were some pretty heartbreaking and amazing twists thrown in too. Even though I felt some of it was a bit predictable, the areas that happened too fast or easy, did so with grace and talent. I did enjoy this story, and will definitely read more of Ms. Dover’s work. This was a well earned victory, for sure. Kristie K
froggy29532DC More than 1 year ago
L.P. Dover is off to a great start with the Breakaway series, Hard Stick was awesome, I couldn't put it down. From the very first page it was full of heartbreak, suspense, intrigue, and very interesting characters. This is the story of Kellan Carter, captain of the Charlotte Strikers hockey team and Kristen Robinson, Interior designer turned bartender. She has secrets, big secrets that could destroy everything and everyone in her life. This book is loaded with twists and turns, happy and sad moments, friends and fun. It made me laugh, cry and want to scream. I cannot wait to read more from the other characters in this book, Dallas in particular. Before you start this book, be sure to get comfortable because you will not want to put it down until the last page has been read. And buckle up Buttercup because it is going to be a wild and exciting ride!!
JWright57 More than 1 year ago
L.P. Dover is a new author to me and I have to ask myself why haven't I read any of her other books. Hard Stick is book 1 in the new Breakaway Series and this is Kellan Carter and Kristen Robinson's story. Kellan is powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers Hockey Team, Kristian is the bartender at the bar that the team use and he has crushed on her forever. Kristian agrees to one night with Kellan but will one night be enough , can Kellan get Kristian to trust him not only with her body but with heart as well..... The cover of this book will have you believing this book is all about Hockey, well Hockey does come into this story but the bulk of this story is about Kristen and her secrets and how Kellan the good guy gets her to trust and love again. I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to more in this series
CCarroll More than 1 year ago
I loved a few things about this book. 1) The story is not what you think. 2) The plot actually had some great twists and interest other than sex and hockey I have enjoyed many books by L.P. Dover and this one was a bit of a surprise with the plot. When the cover leads you to assumptions about the content, you can get hung up on that. We are expecting a sports style read, judging from the gorgeous hunk of body going on. This is Not one and I was so happy about that! This story has a bit of depth and some surprises along the way! Made me enjoy the heck out of this book! That is not to say there is not a lot of sexy heat along the way... oh, there is! But you get so much more with this one. There may be some triggers in this for some. * copy received for review consideration
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--HARD STICK is the first installment in L.P.Dover’s contemporary, adult BREAKAWAY sports, romance series focusing on the men and women of the professional hockey team The Charlotte Strikers. This is team captain Kellan Carter, and bartender/interior designer Kristen Robinson’s story line. Told from dual first person perspectives (Kristen and Kellan) HARD STOCK focuses on Kristen Robinson’s fight for her freedom from a controlling ex. On the run, following the murder of her best friend Cole, Kristen finds herself in Charlotte, North Carolina, falling for the team captain of the Charlotte Strikers. What ensues is the building relationship between Kristen and Kellan, and Kristen’s struggle to stay one step ahead of her past. The relationship between Kristen and Kellan is one of immediate attraction but due to her past, Kristen keeps everyone at a distance fearing the possibility of retribution and revenge. In hiding, with a new identity, Kristen will come face to face with her past-a man who is determined to keep Kristen to himself. The $ex scenes are intimate and passionate without the use of sexually graphic language and text. We are introduced to several members of the Charlotte Strikers- alternate captains Dallas Easton and Braeden Wallace, Coach Carlisle, and rookie Maddox Ledger, as well as Kristen’s friends Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s brother and FBI agents Jason Avery and his wife Aylee; Kellan’s mother Mary, and long suffering father Graham Carter. The requisite evil is all too familiar to our story line couple. HARD STICK is first and foremost a story of suspense as the hockey trope takes a backseat to our heroine’s battle with her past. There is a twist in the story that I suspected early on but a twist, none the less. The premise is entertaining but there are definitely some over the top scenarios as it pertains to the suspense, mystery and take down; the characters are charismatic and colourful; the romance is seductive and provocative. HARD STICK is a dramatic, intense and enjoyable read.
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Romance and Danger! This was definitely not what I thought it was going to be. With a hot hockey player on the front I didn't expect all the dangerous twists and turns. But it was a great story that pulled me into the drama and kept me on the edge of my seat till the ending. I thought that Kristen and Keelan had great chemistry together and there were some super hot sex scenes. The writing was great. It had a great pace and build. Good drama and tension throughout. Great ending. Great combination of Hotness and emotion. Received a ARC through NetGalley and voluntarily wrote an honest review.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
Kristen has a sudden life changing incident occur. She ends up living in another location with a new name. She has had so much upheaval lately that nothing feels right. Not until she meets someone who makes her feel safe and whole again. Kellan has wanted Kristen to give him the time of day for some time. He wants to show her he is no longer the type of guy she thinks he is. He wants someone forever, not just a one night stand. This story is sweet and sexy. I found myself eagerly turning the pages! I loved how charming and protective the leading man is. The hot men that are in this series make me eager for the next installment to come. ***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.
micharch More than 1 year ago
Kellan and Kristen see each other several times per week at the bar Kristen tends bar at. Kellan is a hockey player and goes to the bar with several of his teammates to kick back and relax. Kellan has noticed Kristen for a while but she blows off any type of advance from anyone, especially his teammates. Kristen has been burned in the past and is definitely looking to stay low and try to keep her life a secret. She is on the run from an abusive ex and he has shown he will stop at nothing to get her to be his. Kellan finally wears Kristen down to date him and it goes much better than she thought it would. She knows she has a lot of baggage and weighs how much she can tell him about her past. With no family to be able to help her, she is left to struggle through with the help of a few good friends. Kellan knows she is leery of him, but doesn't realize the extent of it until she begins to let him in. There were definitely some surprises in this book. It keep me reading to see what was going to happen and how it was all going to play out. I did like how Kellan was persistent in showing Kristen he was going to be there for her. Her friends did pull out all of the stops to help her when it was needed. I was at a loss at times though when they didn't have answers that they should have. The plot flowed well and the story line kept moving forward. Overall a good read and I was honored to receive an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Stacie93 More than 1 year ago
Hard stick by LP Dover is a knock-out read!! Kristen and Kellan are from completely different backgrounds but when they meet an interesting story unfolds. Kristen has many secrets in her past. Kellan is a hot shot hockey player. Can Kellan get past all of Kristen's past secrets?? This book is filled with passion, mystery,suspense and hot sex. Pick up this book to see how it all goes down. You won't be disappointed!!
Laura_F More than 1 year ago
An amazing start to another awesome series by LP Dover! Kellan, the star of the Carolina Strikers, has been asking Kristen out only to be turned down every time. Kristen moved back to North Carolina after running from her past. When the decision is made to finally move on, she decides to finally say yes to Kellan. What follows is an amazing relationship and tons of twists. There were so many surprises in this story and I don't want to give anything away. This book sucked me in and kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. Kellan was so much more than what he seemed at the beginning. He's protective, loyal, and supportive. Once Kristen let him in, their relationship was near perfection. Kristen has been through a lot but was able to remain positive and happy. I loved the cameos by some of my favorite characters from other series. There were so many emotions felt in this book that was light on the sports and heavy on the drama. I can't wait to see what's next for this series!! *This is my voluntary review of an advanced reader copy*
LilleyLoohLah More than 1 year ago
An interesting story wth some strong characters. Kristen is in a relationship with a rich, besotted and obsessed businessman (basically he's a bit of a whacko). When his craziness comes to the surface Kristen has no other option but to change her identity and start her life over again. With the help of the FBI she starts afresh and is getting into the swing of small town living when she finally succumbs to the charms of Kellan carter, the Captain of the hockey team. Kellan (and a few of his team mates) have been pursuing Kristen for almost a year, she works in the local bar they frequent. She has however, been putting off there advances, mainly due to the fact that she was stereotyping them. Things are looking up for Kristen, but just when she started to let her guard down, her past comes back to haunt her in the worst way. With some cringeworthy twists and turns, some sexy scenes with a super hot, super perfect hockey player, I found this story highly enjoyable. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Momscookingthebooks More than 1 year ago
This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I enjoyed her writing style and I definitely will check out more of her work, however, I am torn about this book. Did I like it? Yes I did. So what’s the catch? I thought it was a sports romance, but it’s more like romantic suspense, so I was taken off guard and it wasn’t what I was expecting. It did have some hockey and about Kellen’s team, but a lot more going on than just a typical sports romance. So see, not really a bad thing. The first four chapters were about Kristen and the set up for her meeting Kellen. The characters are developed and they have great chemistry. This book doesn’t rush their romance and there are twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, which is a good surprise. The story kept me involved until the end. I really did enjoy this book and look forward to more in this series. I don’t want to give you any more info as you really need to delve into this book for yourself. If you want a great romance with a lot of drama, suspense and hot hockey players, then this is the book for you.
nelriv More than 1 year ago
Received and ARC for fair review for netgalley. I enjoyed book, totally fell in love with Kellan, and did like Kristen. I was so broken hearted over Cole, but loved how Kristen did not forget him, but constantly remembered that he was a loyal friend til the end. Mitch was a total nutcase, but it enjoyable to read the lengths he went thru with his crazy obsession. It is always heartwarming to read about a group of friends that are there for you, and Kristen had that. I can't wait for next book, I am hoping it is Dallas and that reporter.