You guys, I was not expecting this novel. I just wasn't. It has completely RUINED me in the very best way. I have MAJOR, MAJOR, ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE feelings for this book. Like the kind of feelings that make me want to go back and re-rate every other book I've EVER read because it was so EPIC! You won't expect the angst in this story, but I guarantee it will sweep you off your feet. It will DESTROY you in the best way. Lance.... he is the DEFINITION of romance. He is why book boyfriends exist. He is ALL the things you want in man. He is PERFECT. And this story is unforgettable.
AND PS: You can totally read this as a stand-alone! Also, my review is below!
Title: Pucked Off
Series: Pucked Series - Standalone #6
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: 2/21/2017
SYNOPSIS:***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series**I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance."I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.I shouldn’t want her.But I do.I should leave her alone.But I won’t.PURCHASE HERE:
HOW DO I GET OVER THAT? Seriously, how on earth do I get over such a phenomenal story?
I'm just ::: stares into space, grasping for words::: I'm overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by all I'm feeling, and all I'm thinking. I almost don't know where to start with this review. And I most certainly feel as though I just had a moment. A BOOK MOMENT. One where I read something that affected me so deeply, I can't even form words to describe it.
I mean, my first response after finishing was to release several breaths, close my eyes, and savor the moment, the journey, I had just gone on. And then I had an immediate urge to go and re-rate other books I had read in the past because this story changes the way you see things. This book PUMMELS you in the feels. And I'm here to tell you that I have MAJOR FEELINGS for this book. My feelings are so HUGE, so MASSIVE, so ALL ENCOMPASSING they can barely be contained. And because of that this review is going to be long-winded and a little all over the place, so be prepared.
First off, before I even begin to get into things, I want to say.... I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS. I was not expecting the deep, torturous, gut you, make you cry, emotions that Pucked Off had in it. I mean, I am no stranger to this standalone series. I have read Pucked (which I LOVED) and I did read Pucked Up (which I, unfortunately, didn't totally love and because of that I passed on Lily and Randy's books. That said, I do plan to go back and read those now)! So yes, I know this series, and it's always been light and sassy and kind of OTT on the humor. And so, going into Pucked Off, I was expecting the same light feels as before... BUT NO. JUST NO.
NO. NO. NO. NO. NOOOOOOO!
Lance's book is deep and ache inducing and completely heartfelt. And it, from the very first sentence, steals the air from your lungs and traps you. I was literally STOLEN from the first chapter. It gave me a sensation of feeling fevered with the need, the urge, to know what was going to happen. Only a few books have done that to me in the past, and this was absolutely in the "group" of reads that I would classify as unforgettable. And I think so much of that had to do with Lance Romero.
Lance was one of the most breathtaking characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This man DESTROYED me. I mean, DE-FUCKING-STROYED ME! I had this clawing need to climb inside my kindle, wrap my arms around him, and LOVE HIM. LOVE HIM DEEPLY and THOROUGHLY until he knew he was an amazing book soul. This man is broken. So damn broken. His past is full of demons that are haunting him. And those demon's have shaped his perception of the world, of who he is as a person, and Lance is barely getting by. His view is so distorted that his destructive patterns are ripping him apart at the seams. And things are coming close to not only affecting his career, but his friendships, his life, his everything.
Lance, though, is the definition of a book boyfriend. But not in the way you're thinking. Not in that over the top, I am man, I am alpha, cookie cutter way we are used to. No, he is a book boyfriend because his struggle makes him FEEL REAL, ALIVE. It gives him LIFE to the reader and makes him RELATABLE. He is simply so easy to love because at his core, this man is good. HE IS ALL THINGS THAT DEFINE GOOD. And you just can't stop yourself from falling. It's a visceral, overpowering sensation.
But Lance doesn't see himself as anything of worth, and his behavior breaks you as a reader. When this mystery girl enters the picture, she breathes life into Lance's dark world. Honestly, this girl takes this book from SPECTACULAR to PHENOMENAL. She, for me, was one of the most incredible heroines I have ever read. The way she dealt with Lance, even despite the pain he had caused her in the past (and oh yeah, they have a past), was AWE INSPIRING. She was so sweet, so generous, kind, smart and forgiving, I was enthralled by her.
Reading Lance's love story invigorated me as a reader. Lance's vulnerability when it comes to this mystery woman was refreshing, and watching their relationship take shape inspired me, and it made me realize why I LOVE reading romance. There is something so very profound about the concept of soulmates. And I feel like that is what keeps me a romance reader. The idea of having that one person that is DESTINED to be yours and only yours.
I JUST LOVE IT.
And I love that sensation of falling in love as the characters fall. It's intoxicating. The way Helena Hunting wrote this book, I felt as though I was living it. It was palpable, visceral, tangible, like I could reach out and touch this romance, make it my own. I swear, I'm crazy in love with these characters. Their love story was raw and heartbreaking, beautiful and life giving, and that was because Lance's mystery girl was so good and pure, and Lance, who's broken and sad and desperate, lets this woman in and allows her to INSPIRE him to change and heal and CHOOSE a new way of living.
God, I hope that even makes sense, lol. But this was so much more than I was expecting and I was taken by how deep I fell in love with these characters. I truly don't know what else to say except, it's beautiful. The story is so beautiful, and I feel so romanced by it. I just want to talk about it, think about it, and LIVE in it forever.
Overall, you can obviously tell that I am LOSING my mind over Pucked Off. I MORE THAN LOVED IT. It's a standalone romance. YOU CAN START the Pucked Series here. Really, you can. And if I were you, I would. I just think out of ALL the books that have come out of this series, this is hands down the best. The most real and heartfelt. I give it infinite stars. I know I will always think of this book when I think of my ULTIMATE favorites. Romantic, sweet, heartbreaking and unforgettable, Lance Romero is the reason books boyfriends exist, and Pucked Off should be a mandatory read for every romance reader around. Phenomenal. Breathtaking. It was everything.
When I return, Lance is standing at the desk, checking his phone. He’s smiling.
“Ready to go,” I say.
He hits a couple of buttons, pockets his phone, and turns that grin on me. “Cool.”
I lock up the clinic, and Lance walks me across the lot. This time he doesn’t leave the usual space between us, and the back of his hand grazes my hip.
I’m nervous when we reach my car. His Hummer is parked right behind my Mini this time. I adjust the strap of my purse and look up at him. Strangely, he looks as nervous as me.
He scans my face and takes a small step closer. I can see his hand lifting in my peripheral vision. My hair is in a ponytail, which is sitting on my shoulder. He fingers the end of it.
“Why do I always want to pull this?”
I don’t have the opportunity to answer, because he drops his head and his lips skim my cheek.
“I want to kiss you.”
“You just did,” I whisper.
“I want do it again, but here.” His thumb touches my bottom lip.
He’s so close. His lips almost touching mine as he asks, “Can I do that?”
His lids grow heavy, and he kisses the corner of my mouth. Lance strokes my cheek and rests his palm on the side of my neck. The other hand skims the length of my arm until he reaches my fingertips.
He leans back a little, and for a second I think it’s over before it’s even begun, but he takes my hand in his. Uncurling my fingers, he lifts it and presses my palm against his cheek. A full-body tremor runs through him, and his eyes drift closed. He turns his head toward my palm, and I smooth my thumb along the contour of his bottom lip. A deep sound comes from the back of his throat, making my skin prickle and heat blossom in my belly.
When he opens his eyes again, the fire in them matches the heat flooding my entire body. “Can you keep yer hand right here?”
“If you want me to, yes.”
“I definitely do.”
He leans in and brushes his lips over mine again. It’s soft and warm. The next time he takes my bottom lip between his, he releases it slowly, and then does the same with the top one. When his tongue flicks out, I might whimper. Light fingers cup my head, and I tilt it back farther.
I part my lips, and his tongue sweeps my mouth. His groan is low, sending a shiver down my spine. He drops the hand that’s keeping mine pressed against his cheek. His arm winds around my waist, and he pulls me in tight against him.
I expect the kiss to grow in intensity. It doesn’t, though I can feel the heat building inside me. That feeling I’ve been searching for all these years is finally back.
NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She's writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.