Winning has always come naturally for stud ice hockey defenseman Gus “the Bus” Persson. On the ice or off, he’s never had any trouble scoring, racking up goals—and girls. As the best player in his rookie class and the number-one draft pick of the Malibu Suns, he’s taking his game to the next level and is justifiably full of swagger.
So why does one of the Suns’ ice girls treat him like he’s invisible?
Bo St. James doesn’t have time for rookie hotshots who think their gloves don’t stink. She knows them, she works with them, she trains them. It doesn’t matter that Gus Persson is the hottest newbie she’s ever seen. She knows his type. She’s got big plans of her own, and she’s not going to let some cocky rich kid athlete keep her from her goals.
But there’s a chemistry between them they cannot deny. A lust that burns so hot, it threatens to melt the very ice on which they make their livings. The game has changed for both of them. Together, can these two play to win?
Let me start by saying that I adore Toni Aleo’s hockey series; I’m a huge sports romance reader and her stories and characters make for fantastic reads. BUT like a lot of readers, I struggled to find any redeeming qualities of the hero, rookie hockey player, Gus Persson, for at least the first quarter of Misadventures with a Rookie. Blame it on a poor first impression…his manwhorish ways…his showboating attitude…I just DID NOT like him, and I couldn’t understand why this was how Aleo characterized him…don’t get me wrong, Gus is actually a pretty decent guy once he allows people beneath his ‘God’s gift to women and hockey’ demeanor, but it was extremely difficult to see past the arrogant and entitled asshole that readers meet at the story of his and Bo’s story.
I’ve read a ton of books that have heroes like Gus, and I usually keep my judgment at bay until I see the reasons behind the hero’s actions. It doesn’t normally bother me when the hero is perceived to be a manwhore or has a higher than normal opinion of himself, but for some reason, Gus rubbed me the wrong way from the start, and I applauded Bo’s ‘stay the hell away from me’ glare and her adamant refusal to give Gus the time of day. But I also knew that Gus was going to wear Bo down because he’s persistent and seems to always get what he wants and it’s clear that there’s an attraction there even if Bo adamantly denies it.
I will say that my opinion of Gus did change for the better as the story progressed due to his interactions with his parents and the time he spends with Bo focusing on her wants and needs, but my initial reaction made it difficult to see him as the man who could prove to Bo that he kept his promises and was nothing like the man who destroyed her heart and made her the guarded woman that she is.
Bo St. James is an interesting heroine, not only because she doesn’t bow down to Gus’ greatness and actually makes him work for every inch he gets with her, but also because she’s learned from her past mistakes and has worked hard to get her life back on track after it was so thoroughly derailed. It’s made clear that Bo’s past wreaks havoc on her present, and as more information is discovered about exactly what happened to her, her fears…her insecurities…her unwillingness to accept Gus’ promises illustrates just how much she doesn’t want to repeat her past decisions and it also proves just how much she was affected by what happened and in some ways is making Gus pay for the first guy who left her behind and broke her.
Overall, I liked Gus and Bo’s story and despite my initial reaction to Gus, he does prove to be a lot more than the one-dimensional person that I and Bo felt he was. Did he completely change my mind about him? No…but that’s simply because everything occurred in warp speed and there just wasn’t enough time to truly see how Gus would be after he moved up to the NHL. I thoroughly enjoyed the snarky banter between Gus and Bo and when Bo finally gave into her desire for Gus, those scenes were scorching, so despite my kind of middle ground feelings about Gus, there were many parts that worked for me as a reader, which is why I continued to read even when my perception of Gus took hit after hit at the beginning.
3.5 Poison Apples
About the Author
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?