The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Body Check: Post 22

Chapter 12: Heroine Takes Charge

After two days of moping, during which time the Warriors lost to the Vipers in Game 7 and are out of the playoffs, Hayden realizes that lying around and eating ice cream isn’t going to help anything, so she decides to fix her father.

[A]lthough she may not be able to “fix” Doug’s broken heart or Brody’s decision to stay away from her, she could sure as hell do something about her father (142).

Well, I don’t think Doug has a broken heart, actually. I think he was disappointed, but there was never any indication in his behavior, words, or Hayden’s description that he was in love with her (although I do think he loved her, or could have gotten there.) More importantly, the words “do something” in the second half of the above quote are a rephrasing of “fix” and that’s problematic. People really can’t fix another person. And even if I’m just arguing semantics with that, there’s a bigger problem. Presley is Hayden’s father, a grown man who has made his own decisions, for good or ill. Not only is it questionable for anyone to jump in to “fix” things, but it’s even more troubling that it’s his daughter. I’m not sure that’s a viable dynamic.

That said, Hayden heads to the arena where she knows that the league will be interviewing her father. She’s going to look her father in the eye and demand to know what’s going on! Gosh darn it, she wants answers! The truth! About this thing that is only tangentially her business…

But first she has to eavesdrop on him. While he’s on the phone, she hears him refuse to cover for Becker anymore. So now we know he’s involved. See? I TOLD you all he wasn’t the great guy everyone thought, since he was willing to just change plans willy-nilly on his wife to go to the gentlemen’s club with Brody.

Hayden does confront Presley and when he explains it’s pretty much precisely what Sheila-the-soon-to-be-ex said. The only new information was that part of his justification for his choices was that he was afraid if he lost his money, he’d also lose Sheila.

Hayden then goes into a bit of a spiral about how she should have been there for her dad and how she should have known somehow. But I really can’t see how. Hayden is allowed to live her own life—most parents, in fact, want their children to live their own successful lives. She said earlier in the book that she spoke with her father on the phone weekly and wanted to spend more time with him but he pushed her away. Short of being psychic or snooping through Presley’s email and tapping his phone, I don’t know how Hayden could have known.

Presley agrees to face the consequences for his actions and to tell the truth to the league investigators. But first, he demands to know what’s going on between Hayden and Brody. Hayden tells her dad that it’s more than an affair, that she wants to be with Brody, then wonders why she was able to say that to her father and not to Brody. My guess? Because she only just figured it out and hasn’t seen Brody since then. But Hayden seems to like to blame herself for things that she actually has zero control over.

She also claims that she doesn’t deserve Brody because all she’s done since meeting him is push him away, and he has “stayed by her side” despite the rules and her saying it was a fling (147). Hayden likens this to the stability she’s always claimed to want. I liken it to stalking and not actually listening to what a woman says she wants. It’s a fine line, I guess.

(No, actually, it’s not a fine line, I’m just being snarky. What it is, is an accepted trope. Think about it—had it been Doug or any man that wasn’t super attractive and somehow inherently noble, we would have thought his insistence a problem. But because of the ways romance novels work, the readers and the narrative know better than the character and thus Brody’s choices are romantic. To be fair, his choices were far less egregious than many heroes’ choices in other novels.)

Hayden decides she needs to trust Brody’s choice to put things on hold and goes off to find him so she can tell him that.

Brody, meanwhile, is waiting for his interview with the league and, as usual, thinking about how much he wants to be with Hayden. Craig Wyatt, aka Mr Serious, aka the captain of the team, calls him aside to chat. He admits he’s been sleeping with Sheila (no surprise) and that he knows who took the bribes, and it was the goalie (ha! Ha! I told you so! There’s no WAY you could fix a hockey game without the goalie being in on it!) and Becker. Which is dropped on Brody as a huge surprise and a big blow, but of course readers known this from the previous scene with Hayden so it’s missing its impact here. Even so, that’s where the chapter ends, with Brody in disbelief.


  1. I am too lazy to go back and reread the bribery subplot, but isn't a goalie the highest paid player on the team? And wouldn't he jeopardize that multimillion dollar salary by letting in goals? Must be a pretty big bribe. Personally, I would bribe the refs, less money and more guarantees.
    I think we're all in disbelief by now.

    1. The goalie certainly *can* be the highest paid player. I know Mike Smith wasn't his first year, though, for example. (Pretty sure Ray Whitney was. Could be wrong.) The text doesn't specify. But you make an excellent point regardless. Given how much even the lowest paid NHL player is paid, the bribe would have to be *substantial*. And given that the reason the owner made the bribes was because he needed money, this seems like an incredibly inefficient plan.

      You're so right about bribing the zebras. And their calls are so inconsistent anyway, no one would notice.

  2. Hey Commish, I have a feeling I know what book you're doing next, based on the few hints you've dropped. Yes, my knowledge of hockey romances is that ridiculous. And if I'm right, the author is someone I've met in online writing groups, so I won't feel good about commenting on it. I'll still be reading, of course, and very interested.

    This leads me to think that my own book might even be in your queue, an idea both horrifying and exciting. It would certainly be a thrill to be this closely read by you, but painful too. However, if there is justice or karma, it will happen. This is why reviewers should not be writers. And I would comment back, for sure.

    I may be wrong, and then I will comment away. Can't wait until Monday morning! Also, this message will self-destruct in 60 seconds.

    Cherry ( I don't know what's going on with Blogger, it keeps rotating through my various pseudonyms.)