I stand by that I loved that book a lot but I think it’s got a bit of company on my favorites shelf when it comes to this series. I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to love another book in this series as much as ‘Poke Check’ but I’m happy to say that I was wrong because ‘Last Defense’ won me over practically from the first page.
First off let me just say we get a peek at all the usual suspects (meaning MCs from previous books) so that’s always a plus with me. We’ve met both of the MCs from this book in previous stories but only very briefly and while I remembered them I have to admit that neither of them seemed like real attention grabbers to me…which just goes to show you how much I know because as I said this one had me practically from the first page…I guess it’s a case of you’ve gotta’ watch out for the quiet ones.
Max Van Hellren is a defenseman and I have to admit when it comes to hockey my all time favorite player is #4 Bobby Orr. Former defenseman for the Boston Bruins so I think Max won me over by virtue of his position on the Railers but truthfully, I just came to really like him and then there was Ben Worthington…now, Ben doesn’t play hockey, nope, he runs CrossRoads Shelter it’s a no kill animal shelter…right? Tell me you don’t already like Ben. Not to mention how can you not like someone who names their dog ‘Bucky’ as in ‘The Winter Soldier’…sorry, that gets him so many coolness points in my books.
Needless to say, both of these men come with a full set of their own baggage…Max is 32, which is not young in the world of professional hockey and each game that he plays could very well be his last game ever. Max has a life threatening medical condition and no this isn’t a spoiler because this is all in the blurb. But for Max there’s only every been hockey and while this is his last season in the NHL, it’s the season he’s worked his whole professional career for…in fact probably his whole life he’s never wanted to be anything other than a hockey player and this is the season that could see him on a Stanley Cup winning team. The ultimate goal of every boy who’s ever laced on a pair of skates.
Ben has had it all. A job that he loved, living next door to his two adorably nosy aunts with his loving husband. A husband who died so suddenly and unexpectedly that Ben never got to say good-bye.
Things between Max and Ben start out simply as two men sharing a mutual physical attraction. But with each encounter they get to know each other a bit more and both men slowly begin to realize that they like each other and that the attraction has gone well beyond the purely physical.
Between the hockey and Ben’s work at the shelter which keeps him more than a little busy finding time to be together is another job altogether that these men both find that they are willing to put forth the effort for.
Sometimes books just grab us and we fall into them and that’s what happened for me with this one. Everything just came together for me in the best way possible and this book was a total pleasure to read. Sure there was a little bit of angst and drama but damn take out that and chances are what you’ve got is a hella’ boring story and this story just had the right amount to keep this reader interested. My attention was grabbed from the very beginning of this story and it never wavered.
While ‘Last Defense’ could easily be read as a standalone story I have to say my recommendation is to start at the beginning and enjoy all of it. I love reading a series where the MCs continue to recur in subsequent stories and while it’s not always necessary to know everyone’s background and who’s connected to who…it does make the story more interesting and in general just more enjoyable. This one is most definitely recommended.
An ARC of ‘Last Defense’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.