It's a rare occasion that I desperately wish there were more rating options for those exceptional books out there. Five stars simply don't do BACK IN PLAY justice.
It's the end of the hockey season for Glaciers starting center and team captain Scott Walters, and he's feeling the strain and pain of age. Scott's on his fourth knee injury and not interested in anything but healing enough to play just one more year, even if it takes too many pills to help him manage it. Scott refuses to acknowledge that he might have a problem, but condemnation from the Glaciers owner, along with his walking papers, spins Scott's addiction out of control.
Spending the summer in Minneapolis with her brother, teacher Rachel Fielding is bummed she's got to leave, especially after meeting a man who takes her breath away. When Scott calls her a few days after meeting, she's beyond thrilled to get to know this sweet, sexy man. The two spend every moment of her remaining days together, but Rachel soon realizes that Scott isn't the perfect man she thought he was. Behind the good looks, charmer personality, wealth and celebrity lies a man she can see growing old with…if he doesn't OD first. Can Rachel help Scott kick his addiction? Is she worth getting clean for? Is his life worth shooting for one more year on the ice?
BACK IN PLAY is the 2nd book in the Power Play Series
by the über talented Ms. Aicher and is a spinoff of the Wicked Play Series
, which I LOVED. Her writing always goes back and forth from sensually erotic to gut wrenching to funny, and you never quite know which way a chapter will go until you're onto the next one. It was heartbreaking to see a team leader and genuine good man let go from the Glaciers, the only life he knows. I thought this statement was so tormenting:
"The very team that had started him down the road laced with one drug after the other was now condemning him for what they previously encouraged. What a goddamn fucking double standard."
My heart broke for him and the millions of others in real life who struggle with addiction after being treated for pain. It's such a realistic and typical story that could happen to anyone. The way that Ms. Aicher approaches Scott's tale grabs at your heart and refuses to let go, and she makes you feel like you're right there next to Scott, feeling his pain and cheering for his recovery.
And Rachel, seriously she is one of the strongest, most subtly badass MC's ever. She barely knew Scott, but even if she didn't have romantic feelings toward him, her character would have still held his hand as he attempted to get clean. I honestly couldn't have loved this book any more, it was so well written and poignant and I devoured each and every word.
Besides the fact that every facet of this book spoke to me, the erotic scenes were also incredibly hot. I don't want to ruin the storyline, but there are some underlying sexual issues that make you want to grab Scott and whisk him off to an undisclosed location and protect him from the world. The couple had some seriously wicked chemistry, the lust just jumping off the page. I could absolutely and happily read more about this couple!
Bottom Line: It really doesn't get much better than BACK IN PLAY. Though it is part of a series, it can and should be read as a standalone. It's so much more than just an erotic romance story.