Bad Pucking Influence
By Michele Lenard
Colorado Bulldogs, Book 2
Thor meets Tony Hawk in this comedic, low-angst/high spice MM romance about a serious hockey goalie who is drawn out of his shell by a bratty skateboarder, a dare involving cake, and a lesson in how to use joysticks-for video games of course.
On the surface, I’ve got it all. I’m the starting goalie and Captain of the Colorado Bulldogs hockey team. I’ve got more money than I know what to do with. I can count an entire team of elite athletes as my friends. And according to the pundits, I’m an eligible bachelor.
That's the image everyone sees, but it’s just a role I play. A part dictated by my career. I have to be just as perfect off the ice as I am on it since everything I do reflects on my team in some way or another. So, those questions I have about why I don’t crave sexual contact the way my teammates do–questions I’m afraid to ask with the world watching… I decided a long time ago it didn’t make sense to look for answers until after I retire.
Then I ran into him.
Tripp is loud, obnoxious, and full of confidence. Some people find his sass off-putting, but not me. I find it intriguing, and I admire his ability to be himself, consequences be damned. Apparently, I also admire the way he looks, since my eyes seem to linger on him longer than they should, and when he sets his sights on me…
Waiting for retirement to explore who I am seems like too big a sacrifice, so when Tripp offers to help me answer some of those questions about myself, I jump.
I'm tired of pretending to be Mr. Perfect… Tripp and his playboy antics might be just the thing I need to figure out who I am outside of hockey. The only problem is, everyone–including our mutual friends–see him as a bad pucking influence.
Bad Pucking Influence is a low-angst, high-spice MM romance featuring a hockey player and a brat, not a hockey book featuring a romance. Fans of bratty playboys and gentle giants will enjoy this light-hearted, steamy yet touching love story.
Since I first saw Tripp at a team barbeque Xander dragged him to last summer, I’ve found myself noticing him more and more. In my defense, it’s hard not to. Standing at six feet, with perfectly mussed bleached-blond hair and dark stubble that’s hard to miss since the contrast is so stark, it’s the mischievous tilt of his lips that really captures my attention. I often find myself wondering what’s going on in his mind, particularly since he’s a professional at giving people the shock-and-awe treatment. His antics amuse me more than they should, even when they involve silly excuses to measure my biceps with his hands.
Between his loud looks and even louder personality, he doesn’t exactly fade into the background, and if I’m being honest, I find his brash nature freeing. I sort of like that he’s become a bit of a regular fixture in our social circle. What’s confusing to me is that it’s not just his personality that catches my attention. His appearance fascinates me, especially now, with him skating around shirtless.
Tall and lean, every muscle is on display, showing off a smattering of tattoos that would otherwise be hidden. They’re kind of mesmerizing to watch as they ripple under his skin. So is the youthful gleam in his eye. It’s not arousing exactly, but it’s something. Something I’ve yet to put a label on, but I only seem to experience it around him. Which might mean sitting here watching him is a bad idea, at least until I sort out some of my confusion.If only I could look away.
Noah and Tripp are one of my favorite couples that I’ve come across in all the books I’ve read this year. Tripp’s out-and-proud, raunchy, flirty attitude is a great match to Noah’s more laid-back, serious, thoughtful self. Neither of them are really expecting anything to come from Tripp’s teasing, especially Noah.
Tripp’s exuberant personality and no-relationships lifestyle mean that no one, even his closest friends, gets to see more than what is on the surface. He doesn’t let people in behind the scenes to find out where he comes from and what he’s gone through in his past.
Noah has dated a bit here and there, but for the most part he has been concentrating on his hockey career. He doesn’t really connect with anyone intimately in any meaningful way, but he’s never given much thought about it, figuring he’d have plenty of time after his hockey career was over to find someone.
Tripp and Noah fall into a casual friendship, which eventually leads to Tripp helping Noah figure out his sexuality. It was almost mesmerizing following along as Noah comes into so many realizations about himself on his quintessential journey of self discovery. He learns a lot about himself and what he likes, which was really satisfying as a reader.
Tripp, being someone who shuns relationships, still forms a strong connection with Noah, something he tries hard to avoid but still winds up being constantly drawn back into. We do get to finally peek behind the curtain into his past, which also provides a very satisfying resolution.
I really enjoyed this story, and am giving this 4.5 stars. It is focused heavily on Noah’s journey, but there’s enough hockey time to satisfy those who want it. If you’re here for the intimate scenes, you will not be disappointed—there are quite a few, and they are hot and spicy, but they do contribute to Noah’s self discovery so are really not gratuitous. Given these scenes and the adult language, this book is recommended for readers 18+.
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About the Author
Michele is a tomboy who writes contemporary romance (usually sports themed) that is both sweet and steamy. Her goal is to make you fan your face as you wipe a tear from your eye. Her books are part of a series but there are no cliffhangers so each can be read as a standalone. When she isn't reading or writing she enjoys the outdoors, something that pops up in her books from time to time.
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