Jan 30 2014 10:30am

First Look: Jaci Burton’s Melting the Ice (February 4, 2014)

Jaci Burton
Melting the Ice
Berkley / February 4, 2014 / $15.00 print / $7.99 digital

 Everything’s coming together for budding fashion designer Carolina Preston. Only months away from having her own line, she could use some publicity. That’s when her brother suggests his best friend as a model—hockey player Drew Hogan.

Carolina and Drew already have a history—a hot one, back in college. Unforgettable for Carolina, but for Drew, just another slap shot. This time, though, it’s different. His perfect body would be for professional use only. This time, she could use him.

Drew is all for it. He’s looking forward to the exposure. Plus, it would give him a chance to prove to Carolina that he’s changed. If only he could thaw her emotions, convince her to let down her guard and let him in just one more time…

With the seventh entry in her popular Play-by-Play sports series, Jaci Burton returns to the hockey rink with Drew and Carolina. For years Carolina has been avoiding family friend Drew after throwing herself at him in college led to one big night where she lost her virginity and ended up with a cold morning after. Drew was a hot shot on the rise, far from ready to tangle up with his best friend’s sister.

But Carolina’s never forgotten the good—or the bad—that came from that night. Her deeply buried feelings begin to surface as she prepares to launch her own fashion line and wants to use sports professionals to do it. Except when this leads to Drew’s modeling for her.

“You could also ask Drew.”

Just hearing his name caused Carolina’s pulse to jump. For precisely that reason—and about a hundred others, she said, “No.”

“Why not? He plays here in New York, so he’d be the perfect sports figure to tap into. You’d have access to him, and you already know him.”

“Gray’s right. Drew would be ideal,” Evelyn said. “He’s good-looking, sexy, and immensely popular. He has a huge fan base. I can’t think of anyone who would be better to help launch your line.”

The problem was, neither could Carolina.

For his part, Drew knows he made a mistake in letting Carolina go. He wasn’t ready then, but years in the limelight tempered with the demise of his college mentor to a tough battle with cancer has put things in perspective for Drew, and this time he’s determined to show Carolina he’s in it for keeps. As they start to work together, Carolina sees that Drew’s interest is genuine, that he’s not the self-serving playboy burned into her memory from that night. But Drew’s chase isn’t so simple, and Carolina’s not easy to catch.

"Lina. You want a –”

She wasn’t there. Huh. He threw off the covers and went into the bathroom. Not there, either.

Her clothes were gone, too. Maybe she went into the kitchen to make coffee.
Coffee sounded like such a good idea right now. He climbed into his jeans and went into the kitchen.

Not there.

She was gone. She’d left his apartment without saying a word.

She’d left him.

Just like he’d left her that night in college after they’d slept together.

He shook his head, dragged his fingers through his hair and leaned against the kitchen counter.

Well, that felt shitty.

And now he knew how Carolina had felt. He leaned against the kitchen counter, shaking his head and smiling at the thought of the payback she’d given him.

A payback he’d damn well deserved.

Well played, Carolina. Well played.

The hockey world here is front and center, including one very hot sex scene on the ice. And the insight we’re given into the game is once again Burton’s hot spot. Even while things are picking up between Drew and Carolina personally, professionally Drew and his team falter a bit, and this is a nice dose of reality. Drew and Carolina are good at helping each other take their minds off of work when the pressures of fashion and sports get to be too much, resulting in one of the most memorable scenes of the series.

“Quit talking dirty to me.”

She laughed, then came closer. Drew palmed his shaft, rubbing back and forth.
“I can’t help myself. You bring out the best—or is it the worst—in me.”

And now he wasn’t the only one turned on. “This isn’t productive.”

He reached around to grab her butt. “Screw productive. I think you want to have sex on the ice. It’s probably some long-held fantasy of yours.”

“I’m thinking more likely it’s yours.”

“Nah. My fantasy has always been a blow job on the ice.”

“Is that right? And just how alone are we here?”

“Everyone’s gone. The crew didn’t want to hang out, so I bought them lunch and told them I’d call them when we were finished here so they could clean this up and lock the place down.”

“Is that right?” She dropped to her knees on the carpet, realizing he must be freezing in his bare feet. Even with the carpet down, it was really cold.

“Get up, Carolina.” Instead, she reached for his cock, sliding it between her palms.

“We already know it’s not too cold out here for you to get a hard-on. And like you said, we are alone here, right?”

His gaze had hardened, just like his cock. “Yeah.”

She dragged the briefs over his hips, letting his cock spring free. She grasped it in her hand and stroked it, letting its heat warm her hands. “You’re hot.”

But Drew and Carolina come up against walls of conflict again and again. There’s the issue of their best friend and brother Gray’s finding out about them, the merging of two workaholics’ schedules, and some creeping self-doubt on both sides. Can they pull it off with these obstacles—and so much history—between them? With Melting the Ice, Burton shifts focus from the Rileys to the Prestons, but she’s built another solid family line with more great sports stories to come.


Learn more about or order a copy of Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton, available February 4, 2014:

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Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.

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