Title: Empty Net
Series: The Assassins Series, Book #3
Author: Toni Aleo
Blurb: In Toni Aleo’s third novel in her hot Assassins series, the chiseled men of this Nashville hockey team can make anything happen when they go all out for the women they want—even turn a one-night stand into a happily ever after.
Audrey Parker is up against the boards. She’s stuck in a job she hates and pining for a total jerk. Meanwhile, her sister Fallon is moving out and getting married to hockey star Lucas Brooks. Where is Audrey’s Prince Charming? Nothing she does has ever seemed to be good enough for any of the men in her life. Audrey’s about to hit rock bottom . . . until she wakes up next to Tate Odder.
The thrill of moving up from the minors to the Nashville Assassins was a welcome distraction. But not even becoming the first rookie goalie to tally three shutouts in the Stanley Cup finals alleviates the pain. With the loss of his parents and sister weighing as heavily on his soul as ever, Tate Odder can’t keep pretending he’s okay. That’s when he meets smart, sexy Audrey. Her gentle warmth and quirky sense of humor make him feel whole for the first time in too long. But to stay that way forever, Tate must find a way to accept his past and learn to live for love.
Thoughts: Having read the first two books in this series, I was quick to get started on Book #3. And as usual, Aleo tells a great story! In this book, we finally get Audrey's story. At her sister's bachelorette party, Audrey finds herself getting into another argument with her so-called boyfriend, Levi. She finally decides that if he doesn't want her then she'll find somebody who does! So when she's approached by a sexy guy at the bar, it doesn't take her long before she invites him back to her hotel room. But the next morning she makes it plain - that is where things end for them.
Tate doesn't want that to be the end - he's fascinated by this woman, and he's happy when fate intervenes. He hasn't been able to get his one-night stand out of his mind. He feels something for the first time since his family died, and he doesn't want to let that go. And he's willing to keep putting himself out there until she realizes that they are perfect for each other. But neither are prepared for the shock in store for them when Levi decides isn't letting her go!
As always with Aleo, the characters are so charismatic that it is easy to get drawn into the story. I found Audrey's character a bit irritating - she is constantly going on about how she wants her own Prince Charming, yet she does everything possible to keep that from happening! She picks guys that she knows she's not going to get that with, and then sits and whines about it! Then when she has a guy that is perfect for her, she wants to throw it all away! Overall, you fluctuate between really liking her character, or really being so aggravated with her that you want to just smack some sense into her! Outside of issues related to her own happiness, she is likeable as a character. And she's so damaged by her past, that you sympathize enough with her that it doesn't damage the story overall.
And Tate more than makes up for it. The poor guy is even willing to chance being categorized in the 'friend zone' in order to get close to her, betting on the fact that they will eventually wind up together. He's sweet, sexy, patient, and even a little insecure at times, making him utterly believable - and more than that, totally loveable. He's a perfect 'prince charming'!
This is a great Assassin's story, and I did love it - but it wasn't my favorite of the series. Audrey's character was inconsistent most of the time, which could be a little aggravating. However, I was very glad when she finally quit being such a doormat! There was also a certain storyline in the book that was a little too predictable - I wish Aleo would have taken a less predictable route with it, maybe taking the opportunity to show that even though we can't always have the 'ideal' family - we can still be happy and find other opportunities to achieve what we want in life. But she does make up for this disappointment with a heart wrenching ending that has you holding your breath for the conclusion! Another that you won't want to miss from this great series!
The first and second books from this series, Trying to Score and Taking Shots, are also out now! Blue Lines (book #4) has a tentative release date of August 12, 2013.
Review By: Sarah
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