(The Assassins Series)
by Toni Aleo
Published: December 9, 2013, Loveswept
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
For a long time, Piper Allen has had a thing for her sister's brother-in-law, Eric Titov, but always from a safe distance. Not that he ever saw her as anything but part of the family anyway. He was too busy scoring, not just goals but puck bunnies too. Until one night in the bar he walks up to her, completely focused and wipes her off her feet and into bed, for a long and unforgettable night.
Unforgettable for Piper that is, because Eric lets her know in no uncertain terms that it was a one time deal, never to happen again. But what Eric doesn't know, as he tries hard to forget the memory of Piper's sweet body with a selection of Nashville's 'finest', is that two blue lines on a pregnancy test say that night will be equally as unforgettable for him.
Determined to live his life wild and free, and not ever get sucked into anything permanent, Eric finds himself fodder for the media more often than not. Something that does not go over well with the owners of the team. When he not only is put on probation, but also finds out he is going to be a daddy, it's like the floor has disappeared under his feet. Until he considers one may be a solution to the other.
When Eric proposes marriage right away, Piper can't help but be hopeful. She knows it is a marriage of convenience for now, but underneath that cocky shell, she has seen a genuine side to Eric. Despite everyone's misgivings, including his own, Eric is starting to show more and more of his heart.
The good girl and the very, very bad boy produce an awful lot of heat!!!
The story is actually a very sweet one, aside from the fact that in true Toni Aleo fashion it is a panty-melter, it is also a bit of a character study. Now I know for a fact that there are many who will chew up and spit out Eric, for being an insensitive man-whore........but wait.......this is one of those situations where you can't jump the gun. You don't know enough about the guy to start judging him right off the bat. Not that that excuses any behaviour, but if you give him half a chance, and get to know him a little first, I bet it will go a long way to perhaps understanding a bit better.
Don't forget, he IS a young buck, cocksure and adored and up until his marriage to Piper, unattached. But he is also a good son to his parents, a good teammate, a giving human being and has never gone out to harm anyone intentionally.
Piper, although considered 'a good girl', is also known as flighty and unreliable. Also not entirely fair. Just because she has chosen to explore a variety of directions in her studies and her jobs, doesn't mean she is not a reliable person, it simply means she has very diverse interests when it comes to what she will spend the rest of her life doing. None of that necessarily reflects on whether she can be a good mother, or whether she can stick with one man. Those are ridiculous and judgemental conclusions to make. And yet her family makes them.
It takes both of them quite a bit of growing up and getting real to prove to themselves, each other and the people around them that this will work.
There is no high drama in this book, no high suspense or shocking revelations, but a steady, entertaining and progressive story of maturing and an ultimate coming to the senses. With personable characters, flawed and all, who become nicely fleshed out over the course of the book. I did miss a bit of hockey, though....😉
✨A tempting, steamy and touching story.✨