Anton by Brenda Rothert
Chicago Blaze, #1
He’s known as Father Anton to his teammates—the brooding, sexy captain of the NHL’s Chicago Blaze has a reputation for…not having a reputation. Just like his diet and sleep routines, celibacy is part of Anton Petrov’s on-ice mojo. Or so they say. Anton stays mum on the subject. If the world thinks he chooses to abstain from sex, so be it. Better that than the truth getting out: there is a woman he burns for, but he can never have her. She’s his teammate’s wife, after all.
Mia Marceau is finally on her own. Now that she and her husband are living apart, she’s finding the peace she was desperate for. She spends her days in classes and late nights bartending, making her own way in the world at last. After what she’s been through, as long as her husband leaves her alone, she doesn’t plan to rock the boat. He still has the power to hurt those dearest to her, and she can’t demand a divorce with such a high cost.
A chance encounter with Mia has Anton hoping for a shot he never thought he’d get. And while she’s drawn to the intense, serious hockey center, Mia’s leery about playing with fire. That’s all Anton has ever known for Mia, though—a living, burning desire that won’t be denied—no matter the cost.
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I loved Brenda Rothert’s Fire On Ice series, so it was a no brainer for me to dive into her newest hockey romance about Anton Petrov, captain of the Chicago Blaze and all-around good guy. Anton is an atypical professional athlete – one who his teammates call ‘Father Anton’ due to his strict regiment and clean living lifestyle. There’s a litany of reasons why Anton thrives on structure and routine, and while his teammates give him shit for how he chooses to live, there’s not much that can throw him off his game, except for maybe a certain beautiful woman who’s owned his heart and his body since he first met her almost three years ago. The problem with his feelings, though, is the fact that Mia Marceau belongs to another man, her husband of eight years, who just so happens to be one of Anton’s teammates.
The life that Mia Marceau envisioned when she said ‘I do’ is definitely not the life she’s living; at 29 years old, she’s separated from her husband, working at a bar, and attempting to finish her degree all on her own with very little money. In her mind, the strong, confident, and independent woman she was is no longer present due to her estranged husband’s abuse and neglect and finding herself again, amidst the pain, the heartache, the self-doubt, and the bitterness is a battle, but it’s one that Anton is going to help make happen.
The fact that Anton doesn’t cross the line while Mia is still married proves just how honorable he is and the way things play out between Anton and Mia – their friendship, their growing connection, his ability to know exactly what to do and say to make her see herself as he sees her – makes everything about him that much sweeter and it makes the payoff in the end everything I wanted and needed it to be.
Anton’s Uncle Nix is a great secondary character. I love his interactions with Anton and his twin brother, Alexei, and as ornery and foul-mouthed Nix is, once Mia is in charge of his care, readers get to know the other side of Nix and how the bond he created with Mia helped them both.
There are quite a few hockey hunks’ stories I’m eager to read, but the one I’m hoping to see soon is Anton’s brother. He needs to be put in check by a sassy and sweet heroine who gives as good as she gets!
4 Poison Apples