Honesty time; I know absolutely nothing about ice hockey. I'm Australian by way of the UK, alright? Ice hockey is like baseball; it's one of those strange sports that Americans (and Canadians) get all excited about and quote stats obsessively.
That said, I didn't need to know anything about ice hockey to enjoy this book, because while hockey was there, and played a significant part in the story, it's really a story about two people finding each other and learning to live with each other's complicated lives and backgrounds.
Lainey's had more bad experiences with hockey than good ones. A buried disaster in her past, an absent father and now a younger brother who's been sucked into the same world, the last thing she wants is to be stuck in Portland trying to sell her late father's failing sports bar.
Scratch that... the last thing she wants is to fall for Cooper Mead. He's living in the spotlight she's tried so hard to avoid, but when she finds he's hiding his own secrets, she realizes they have more in common than she ever expected.
Despite my complete ignorance of hockey (this is the first hockey romance I've ever read) I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a great story about two people who are perfect for each other figure out how to be together in spite of all the things that could keep them apart. There were a couple of really steamy sex scenes and some hilarious banter between the protagonists - Lainey was a fantastic heroine who takes no shit from anyone, and I laughed my ass off at the initial meeting between her and Cooper.
A thoroughly enjoyable read even if you know literally nothing about ice hockey. Five stars.
Playing Dirty is available now in paperback and is released in ebook on May 1.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.