Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Empty Net Blog Tour: excerpt, review + giveaway

We are today's stop on the Empty Net Blog Tour hosted by Reading Addiction Book Tours. If you're not familiar with Toni Alero's books, we'll let you in on this: she's a very romantic writer. Empty Net is the third title in her Assassins series and is packed with romance and hockey (the author also loves hockey, see her bio below). We're glad you stopped by.

Empty Net (Assassins #3) by Toni Aleo
Contemporary Sports Romance*ebook, 353 pages*published September 3, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | KOBO

Definition of an Empty Net: When a team pulls the goalie for an extra attacker, desperately seeking a goal.

Audrey Parker was in a horrible place.

She hated her job, her sister was getting married and moving out, but worst of all, she was in love with a total jerk. No matter what she did, every guy she met hurt her. All she wanted was her happily ever after. Her Prince Charming. Her Lucas Brooks! She didn’t know how to change her life but she knew she needed too.

Feeling like she was about to hit rock bottom, Audrey wakes up next to Tate Odder.

Tate Odder had lost everything.

After being brought up from the Assassins’ farm team, the Florida Rays to the Nashville Assassins, Tate hopes he’ll forget everything he has lost. He doesn’t. Each day gets harder to live in a place he doesn’t know. Even being the first rookie goalie to shut out an opposing team three times during the Lord Stanly Cup Finals, he still felt empty. With the loss of his parents and sister still heavy on his heart, Tate isn’t sure how to live like everything is okay.

But when he wakes up beside Audrey Parker, things start to change. She turns his life upside down with her kooky sense of humor and her bright clothing. She is intelligent and beautiful, and for once, he doesn’t feelempty.

Will Audrey be the person to fill the holes in Tate’s heart, making him whole again?

Or will another player ruin everything, leaving him feeling forever like an empty net? 

“I have to tell you,” she said with a shy grin, “It’s usually not this easy.” 

He looked down at her questionably, “Easy how?” 

“This easy to pick me up. I usually make guys work for it.”

He grinned and her smiled grew more, “So you want me too?”

She eyed him, her face bright with excitement. He may have been a little too forward but he was a blunt person, and hardly ever hid his feelings from anyone.

She moved closer, her eyes bright with lust as she said, “I do and I don’t even know you’re name.”

“Do you want to know it?” he asked with a cocky grin.

She moved in close, her wide brown eyes locked with his, “All I want to know is when you can leave? I have a room not even a mile from here.”

About the author:
Toni Aleo

I am a wife, mother, and hopeless romantic.

I have been told I have anger issues, but I think it’s cause of my intense love for hockey!

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 daughters dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, and reading the latest romance novel.

I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, and did I mention I love hockey?

Author Toni Aleo is a true romantic and it is soo obvious in her writing. Her characters aren't afraid to touch, to stare at someone's lips, to hug, or simply say "I love you." As a first time reader of her books, I got that, and in Empty Net I also got something else. Some might easily dismiss main character Audrey as being frustrating or simply not smart, but I read between the lines and picked up on the author's subtle hints. Audrey is a victim. She keeps thinking and hoping her ex-boyfriend--sleazebag of the year Levi--will come back to her. Oh, he'll come back all right--just to sleep with her, do another number on her confidence, and break her down some more. Guys like that belong in sewers. Yet, Audrey, thankfully, has an awesome support system in the form of her family, her sister and brother-in-law, Lucas, and close friends who aren't afraid to point things out to her and hug her when needed. When she meets hockey player Tate and hooks up with him without knowing his name, little does she know she's already met her own "Lucas." 

Audrey could be any woman and that's what I liked about her. She loves shoes, is crazy for her nephew, Aiden, loves to bake cupcakes, and has a big heart. Yes, every time Levi did something mean to her I wanted to yell at her but knew I couldn't. The best form of therapy for her turned out to be her next door neighbor, Tate (and cupcakes--read the story). I haven't read any novels featuring hockey and its players so prominently and I enjoyed that. Athletes on ice suddenly seem very sexy! With his sweet nature and way with people, it was obvious Tate's a great guy (he plays piano too) and yet he has his own hidden tragedy. Together, Audrey and Tate are the kind of couple a reader can easily root for and sigh out loud over when their magical moment finally happens. 

The author did an exemplary job conveying Audrey's abusive relationship and Tate's loss with respect and care. The pacing flowed nicely and the dialogue was realistic. There were a few times I thought some things became repetitive but there weren't many instances. Besides, I was too engrossed in Audrey and Tate's story and wanted to see these two lonely souls truly connect. Thank you Toni Aleo for making me sigh and smile while reading romance.

Rating: 4

Cover comment: After reading their story, I appreciate the couple on the cover more.

Book source: Purchased.

Tomorrow's stops on the tour:
September 27:

For the complete tour list, go here.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

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