I received a complimentary copy of the ARC--as well as these promotional materials--from Give Me Books Promotions, but all thoughts provided in my review below are my own. Thanks to Give Me Books Promotions for including me in the Release Day Blitz!
In my defense, I didn’t know she was his sister…
"Sexy and fun with a delicious hockey hero, DIRTY SECRET is great for fans of Elle Kennedy, Toni Aleo, and Sawyer Bennett. I devoured this book!" -NYTimes Bestseller Lexi Ryan
This team hates me. Something about my chronic case of resting prick face and that thing with the captain when the season started.
My fist, his jaw. Yeah, we go back and not in a good way.
Coach says no more “confrontational BS” or I don’t play at all. And that’s a hit my career in the NHL can’t take.
So the plan is simple. Keep my head down and finish out my contract with my fists checked.
There’s just one problem.
Allie. The girl from Vancouver eight months ago. The one with the sexy, shy, and sinfully bold smile and the sweetest, wettest mouth I ever tasted. The girl who blew my mind and then blew out of my life without giving me her number.
Turns out she’s the captain’s little sister.
And even though my career depends on it... I can’t stay away from her.
If you’ve been waiting for a new secret cinnamon roll hero to fall in love with, meet Vaughn Vassar. The possessor of Resting Prick Face and a bad rep, he’s also a Slayers hockey player who does nice things when no one’s watching. Another thing he’s hiding? His huge crush on Allie, the mysterious woman he had a one-night stand with almost a year ago who vanished before he could find out more.
Natalie “Allie” Baxter actually knew quite a lot about Vaughn, starting with the fact that Vaughn’s been her big brother Greg’s hockey archrival for years. Oof. But Natalie was drawn to him after years of casually watching him around the rink, and it was enough to wear down her shouldas for the night.
Eight months later they unexpectedly meet again at a bar in Chicago, and despite everything—his bad rep & plans to move to an Oregon team, his feud with her brother, her plans to have her own life outside of the NHL and its players—they want more. And more again.
I’ve said before that Mira Lyn Kelly is one of my fave contemporary romance writers and it’s because of books like Dirty Secret. While her books are on the lighter side of the angst spectrum, the characters still wrestle with topics—in this case, the pressure of parental expectations and feeling inferior to someone else—that a lot of people will relate to.
Kelly's love stories are magnetic and straightforward, and I just want to luxuriate in them even as I’m feverishly flipping the pages. And Dirty Secret’s also sweeter than most, with a hero & heroine who have often been ignored and misunderstood but who pay attention to each other *swoons and wonders if there’s anything sexier than actually seeing someone.*
There are a few moments in Dirty Secret when the transition feels a bit abrupt to me—and I’ll be honest, Allie’s big brother Greg, star of an earlier book in the series, Dirty Player, is so immature in this book at times that he kinda gets on my nerves (hey guy, don’t you get you’re messing with people’s lives here?!)—but overall, this book’s just as delectable as a…cinnamon roll.
4.25 stars out of 5.
When I get home, I kick my Chucks into the corner by the closet and look around my empty apartment feeling at loose ends. I don’t trust myself with the replay of the game I just watched. I can’t handle seeing Vaughn Vassar looking at me like that again tonight. Not without risking things neither of us ought to risk.
Closing my eyes, I slowly lower myself to sit at the stepdown to the living area and try to focus on all the reasons leaving the bar was the right thing to do. Telling myself that kiss from this afternoon was a mistake, no matter how good it felt.
I could be back at the bar in--
Knock, knock, knock.
Sucking in a startled breath, I push to my feet. My heart speeds as that restless feeling in my belly turns into a kind of instinctual pull that draws me to the door.
I don’t have to check to know this isn’t my brother.
It’s not George looking to chat, or Helene showing up with snacks and office gossip.
My fingers tingle as I reach for the knob, my heart races, and my mind empties of all the reasons this is a mistake. Of everything except the relief surging through my veins as I swing the door open. Vaughn is braced against the frame again. He’s lost the suit jacket, and his big arms are flexed and straining as he barely holds himself back.
“I shouldn’t be here,” he says, the words gravel rough and rubbing against me in ways that only make me want to hear more. “I don’t even have a fucking excuse to check on you.”
“But you came anyway,” I whisper, drinking him in.
“I came anyway.”
The muscle in his jaw jumps over and again as his silver eyes swirl with an intensity that matches the energy coming off him in waves. I shouldn’t be reaching for him, but I don’t think I could stop if I tried. I want this. I want him. My fingers curl into the gap between the buttons of his dress shirt and I tug.
There’s a beat of resistance when he pulls back and our eyes connect—and then he’s launching forward on a growl so savagely possessive, I feel it through the deepest part of me. That big arm I couldn't stop staring at sweeps around me as his mouth crashes against mine in a feral kiss. This isn’t tender or tentative. It’s desperate and hungry and has me half climbing his body before my shoulders hit the door he just swung shut with his foot.
Hands roaming over my thighs and ass, he alternates between gentle and desperate, stroking one second and gripping the next. Making me groan around the thrust of his tongue. Making me rock into that thick, steely ridge lodged between us.
“Allie, tell me this isn’t a mistake.”
I need more of his mouth, more of his kiss. More of his huge chest pressing hot and hard against my own so I can’t feel anything but him. “It’s not a mistake.”
It’s critical. Necessary.
It’s my first full breath in weeks, months. “We just—we just need to get it out of our system. That’s all.”
His nostrils flare, and his eyes burn over me as his hand tightens in my hair. “I don’t think—” But instead of finishing whatever he was going to say, he blows out a harsh breath and gives me a single nod.
And then I have it, the crush of his kiss.
Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire. Mira Lyn Kelly is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment.
Give me that HEA, please.
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