Back on my audible train, stopping back in at the Helena Hunting station. She knows how to write sports romance and drama. My sport of choice? Hockey. I have read a lot from Helena Hunting so I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. So I chose the All in Series. I was stoked to know that All in is the spin off series from the Pucked series so I knew I wanted to read it right away. I started with A Lie for a Lie and boy did it the bar high right out of the gate. These books are all standalones. Can be read in any order.
This book follows Rook “RJ” Bowman, current captain of the Chicago Hawks NHL team. He was a minor character in the Pucked series but now gets his own story. RJ is flying out to meet his brother in Alaska for their annual fishing trip. It was a trip that the brothers took with their father but since their father passed a few years ago, it’s just the two of them. RJ is looking forward to time to himself away from the NHL spotlight. Shocker, his brother can’t make it. His wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Diabetes is a touchy subject since the father died from diabetes. RJ doesn’t let being alone stop him.
Lainey is headed to Alaska to work on her thesis for her third Master’s degree. She has lived pretty sheltered life. She grew up on a farm up north and was homeschooled up to this point. (I was glad to hear that because many people in the South don’t know that the North has country elements to it too.) But she convinced her family to allow her to fly across the country by herself. It his her first time on a plane when she finds herself falling into RJ’s lap. The secondhand embarrassment was real with this one. She seems determined to want to do things on her own but it becomes apparent that she was duped. The place she has rented is a piece of junk. Leaks, power outages, rodents… Poor Lainey. It really tests her anxiety levels. And it would test mine as well.
Rj is there to help since he is familiar with Alaska. He leaves her to her own devices when they first arrive in Alaska, mostly because he is not in any place to really tell her that he thinks her place is a dump. He just met her. But during a power outage, he manages to convince her to stay at his place. He was so concerned about Lainey and genuinely wanted to help her. Her parents, (mostly mother) are not happy with her shacking up with some strange man. I get it. They don’t know anything about him and he’s not exactly telling the truth about who he is.
RJ is happy to discover Lainey has no idea who he is and he loves being just a regular guy with her. While I get that… one some level… I am not sure that I would have lied when asked what I do in the way that he did. I think RJ was looking forward to having some company even if it went no where. Things quickly escalate as she falls for him and he falls for her. Sadly, when asked what he does he tells her he also grew up on a farm. (That doesn’t really answer the question.) We hear from his point of view that he is “going to” tell her but he never gets around to it. I was more annoyed that he slept with her when he knew he was keeping something from her.
RJ’s brother calls about his wife being in the hospital and RJ is torn between leaving Lainey to leaving to check on his family. He doesn’t give her his number (Odd. Although, she doesn’t have a cell phone. She really does live under a rock.) He is hesitant about leaving her behind. But he hops on a plane to be with family. However, the power goes out, and Lainey has to make it through one more night before she leaves RJ’s bubble for good. The power doesn’t come back on before she leaves the next day. He never reaches her and they have no way to find one another again. They’re both heartbroken and it’s worsened by the fact that Lainey left a note but RJ never got it.
So you have guessed it… By now I am annoyed. Like how are these two going to get back together? Is she going to see him on tv? But it was worse than that. She’s devastated that he never called and he’s crushed that she didn’t care enough to leave contact information. It is awkward encounter when they see each other again… She’s at work and his team and her coworkers are crowding around them as they start at each other. (Secondhand embarrassment for me AGAIN.) There is something different about her but she is super overwhelmed and anxiety ridden at him popping up. Much less him being a pro athlete since she told him she was an alpaca farmer. The information that he lied and is the hockey league’s biggest playboy is too much for her. As it would be for any person.
Of course she has a friend that talks her into hearing him out. As you do. She picks a public place mostly because she doesn’t realize how big of a deal hockey is in Chicago. The talk gets hampered with the number of people that come up looking for an autograph and pictures. Lainey is different than RJ remembers and there is a reason for that. Most people who are readers can figure out where this is going. She’s gotten away from her overbearing family and is living on her own. RJ wants nothing more than to prove that she met the real him in Alaska and can be the man she needs. But he has an uphill battle. I was rooting for him.
I loved Lainey because even though she was super sheltered she was willing to give the world a try. She had more courage than me in most cases. RJ seems to just be getting his life settled down and was in a good place for a real romance… But why did he have to ruin it with a lie? I enjoyed that his family was there to tell him that he had fucked up and that he was going to have to do better than just have money. He withstood dealing with the rude comments her parents made. (And while I think he did something stupid… her parents were on my last nerves. Her mom made me want to through her out of the window.) Lainey tried to adjust to RJ’s life… and RJ was patient because he life was hard to get used to. They were easy to root for. I am off to read more in the series… I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
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