Release Date: February 28, 2017
All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.
I love that hockey books are becoming a thing. As an avid hockey fan (go Sharks!), I was sad to see so many sports romance books that only revolved around football or baseball, and when hockey was used, it was just a general mention. "He played center." "The game was exciting." No details, no setting the scene, nothing. But that's not the case anymore, there's hockey books everywhere! And while some still fall short of capturing this amazing sport, there are quite a few that seem to know what's up.
In Juniper Falls, hockey is a way of life. If you don't play, you aren't important. No one cares about your future - only your right now. Tate Tanley lives in his fathers shadow. Everyone remembers the great Keith Tanley, but the side they didn't see was what sent Tate to the hospital with a broken arm many nights ago.When Tate gets promoted to starting goalie on the varsity team, suddenly his father is back and is everywhere. Tate is just trying to figure out what he wants. He knows he loves hockey, but the game doesn't feel his. It feels like it's his fathers and he wants to be as far away from that man as he can get.
Claire O'Connell has had her share of bad times. Leaving school a year early after getting accepted to Northwestern, she's back when her father suffers a health emergency. She's the only one who knows what happened with Tate and his father that night with the broken arm. But Tate isn't that scrawny boy she remembers. And as she falls harder and harder for him, she also sees the darkness that's eating away at him. Having to deal with her own demons doesn't help the situation.
This is my second book from Cross and I still enjoy her writing style. Her characters are alive, the situations believable, and the writing just flows. I loved the camaraderie between Tate and his teammates. And Cross does a good job at showing just how important friends and being part of a team are to high school students. High school is tough. No one knows really who they are or who they want to be so most are just living in the now. And that's what Juniper Falls captures. The now. But Off the Ice shows what happens when you begin to live for tomorrow.