⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: The Rival by Kendall Ryan

A HUGE improvement over the first book in the series, this light and steamy love story is everything that I look forward to from this author’s work. While reading The Rebel, I was drawn to the heroine’s broody ex, who earned a bad rep in that book. I wasn’t sure that I particularly liked Alex going into this, but I could tell that there was more brewing beneath the surface. That turned out to be correct; he’s a man who knows that he messed up, and now he’s craving the intimacy and connection of a relationship. I loved the focus on the emotional connection in this (though there are plenty of steamy moments), and it was so good to see Alex’s softer side. The forced proximity and forbidden dynamic make this a page-turner, so this quick, sexy story absolutely flew by. It’s got a few timeline issues and there are a couple of threads that were just sort of dropped, but I sincerely enjoyed this as a whole.

The story follows Alex, a hockey player who spent the last season making headlines – in a bad way. After his relationship with a good woman crumbled, Alex thought that he wanted to go back to the single life. But it doesn’t take long to realize that the emptiness he feels from casual hookups isn’t what he wants either. He just wants the RIGHT woman. When Alex finds himself sharing a remote cabin with his ex’s assistant for the summer, the two bond over their broken hearts. Both Alex and Aspen are struggling to find their footing after ending long-term relationships, and neither one is in the right headspace to start anything real. But the attraction that sparks between them is impossible to ignore, and their connection gets deeper with every day they spend together.

I loved Alex in this. We see a completely different side of him here, and it’s a lot easier to empathize with his decisions. I also loved that he really is a relationship type of guy; Alex wants the intimacy that he can’t get from casual encounters, and he is such a loving, hurting man. Aspen was easy to like too, and their connection was obvious from the start. The emotional build was great, and most pages are devoted to the two of them together – one of my favorite things in a romance. I do think that the timeline has some issues (and some inconsistencies). Plus, the conflict drags on longer than necessary, with a reconciliation that felt abrupt. But that doesn’t take away from the love that I have for the rest of the story; this is exactly the kind of quick, low angst love story that I was hoping it was going to be. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this forbidden romance.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fZdJE9


Blurb:

Being stranded in remote Canada with a hottie?
Wasn’t part of my summer plans.

Dump my cheating ex? Check.

Land an amazing job with Boston’s professional hockey franchise? Check.

Fall stupidly in love with hockey’s favorite bad boy? Ugh.

After wasting years of my life with the wrong person, I told myself all I wanted was a little no-strings fun. Enter Alex Braun—a wealthy, handsome, notorious playboy who’s equal parts charming and dangerous as hell to my wounded heart.

After enduring a very public breakup of his own, the sexy player doesn’t want to be anyone’s forever. Too bad he barreled his way into my heart, instead of just my bed.

But this professional athlete knows a thing or two about competing, and he won’t let go so easily.

This romance contains one grumpy, emotionally damaged, but gorgeous-as-hell hockey player, and a whip-smart, hardworking heroine who’s never quite fit in. It should only be read by those who like their men brawny and their romances red-hot!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fZdJE9


In case you missed it!

The author decided to go a different direction with the covers for this series, so if you’re wondering how you missed this one, take a peek at the old covers below. While the original covers were gorgeous, the black and whites are more reflective of the tone of the series (a little more introspective and less steam-focused than some of her other books). I adore the original cover for The Rival, but that lake kiss is definitely more suited to the story (and it’s pretty sexy too).


Start the series today!

I didn’t particularly love the romance in The Rebel (you can read my 3-star review here), but it does work well as a series starter, and it introduces us to the hero at the heart of The Rival. You could certainly skip The Rebel and still enjoy The Rival, but it provides some insight into Alex that’s appreciated and makes the reading experience richer. Totally up to you!

Blurb:

Holt

Six years ago, Eden barged into my life and turned everything upside down. We spent one scorching-hot night together, and then she disappeared into the sunset with the golden jock everyone adored. Which makes sense, right? A girl as beautiful and brilliant as Eden Wynn doesn’t end up with a rebel like me.

I expected them to live happily ever after, but that’s not what happened. She’s back in my life—and tempting me like no one else has. And while I’m certain I’ll only tarnish her shine, I want her. 

I’d heard the old notion that one night held the power to change everything. I just never believed it.

Until now.

Eden

I’m public enemy number one.

Turns out, the East Coast is protective of their hockey team and very vocal about not wanting a young female owner. Well, too bad, because this team is all Grandpa Wynn left me, and I have no intention of walking away.

Enter my new head of security, Holt Rossi. My history with him is . . . complicated. Chemistry reignites between us while the world waits for me to stumble.

He’s supposed to protect me—but who will protect my heart from him?

Grab your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MBnRb6


The Rookie is coming July 20th!

A talented rookie who’s about to lose it all. 
A reluctant sports therapist who might be able to help.

This is a sizzling new romance in the Looking to Score series. Each book can be read as a standalone.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3szZM4B

The Rebound is coming September 14th!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3u0fOFe


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

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