The Fictional Hockey League

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Body Check: Post 24-

Chapter 12 & Epilogue: Make-Up Sex and Beyond

Our hero and heroine have already basically made up and gotten back together, but afterwards Brody had to have his investigatory interview so he promises to come join Hayden at the hotel when that’s done.

Hayden tells Brody that she loves him and he’s filled with “sheer bliss” (156).

The joy in his heart spilled over, warming his insides and making his pulse skate through his veins like a player on a breakaway (156).

Sigh. We had to get one more hockey metaphor shoehorned in here somehow, I guess.

Hayden even goes so far as to say she’ll go to his games but she’ll also bring work along with her because, don’t forget, she hates hockey. That’s … not very gracious, frankly. Brody assures her that he’s already trying to sign with a west coast team so that she can keep teaching at Berkeley. Magnanimous. Not just any college will hire someone without a PhD after all. Harrumph. Then he tells her he loves her more than hockey and asks her to marry him.

They cap this off with more sex, this time in the hallway in the same place they first had sex. He even “peppered little kisses on her flat abdomen” (158). What happened to Hayden being curvy? Oh, right, she’s only curvy in the socially-acceptable way, butt and boobs, I guess.

But then, too, we have to contrast her flat abdomen in this scene with the rounded one in the epilogue, which happens a year later, in CA, when she is five months pregnant. Y’know, I’m very used to the epilogue-pregnancy trope in historical romances but I naively didn’t expect it in a contemporary. How is Hayden going to be a mom AND a professor AND finish her PhD?

Apparently Darcy is visiting and has taken a vow of celibacy. I frankly expected Darcy to get together with another player on the Warriors and realize that commitment isn’t so bad. So point to the author for surprising me with the vow of celibacy.

The epilogue takes us backwards to the time between the last scene and this. To sum up, Brody was (conveniently!) signed by the Vipers, putting him in LA. The text is very confusing here about commutes and courses, but I think they’re living in San Diego and Hayden is teaching online seminars as well as working on her PhD at the University of San Diego. I guess she’d have to be teaching online, since it’s 7.5 hours between San Diego and Berkeley. But she wouldn’t be a professor, not teaching only online. She wouldn’t be able to partake in faculty meetings and other kinds of university service that’s required.

 Brody is commuting from San Diego. That’s a two hour commute each way assuming no traffic. The only way I can see this working is if the practice facility for the LA Vipers is in between San Diego and LA so that some days he only has a one hour commute. But it’s a stupid set up regardless. Two hours after games before Brody can get home to San Diego? Games end at about 10pm, or later. And if the fictional Vipers practice at all like the actual Coyotes, they’d need to be at their practice rink almost every day at about 9am. Not to mention the required gym time, much of which has to happen at the arena and/or training facilities under the eye of trainers. And anyway, why not just live in LA since Hayden isn’t going to campus anyway.

I’m pretty sure there’s something missing from the text, but I don’t think enough is missing to explain the utterly bizarre choice of living arrangements.

The narrative then goes back to the wedding, which occurred in Chicago. Craig Wyatt/Mr Serious attended along with Sheila-the-now-Ex, to whom he’s engaged. Also, she’d apparently gotten half of Presley’s estate. Speaking of Presley, he didn’t attend as he was in rehab. Geez, these two couldn’t hold off their wedding for Hayden’s only family to be able to attend?

Other than rehab, Presley had gotten a fine and four years’ probation. He also lost the team which is now owned by the gentlemen’s club party birthday boy. Random. Becker also got probation and Brody still isn’t speaking with him.

Back in the present, we learn that Brody is policing Hayden’s food choices, which pisses me off. He didn’t bring her the ice cream she asked him to pick up. Why?

“I told you why I didn’t pick up the ice cream,” Brody grumbled. “You’ve got to eat healthy, babe. You’re carrying a future champion in that belly of yours. Our son needs proper nourishment” (163).

This is conversation is presented as playful banter—Hayden counters by saying it’s a daughter who will win the Nobel Prize. But I’m more concerned by Brody’s assertion on what Hayden can and cannot eat. It’s perfectly reasonable for him to voice concern or talk with Hayden about her food choices and how it might affect the unborn offspring, but it’s not okay to make decisions about her body.

As I said, it’s supposed to be flirtatious, to some extent, and the two head off to meet Darcy for dinner with promises of sex when they get back home. And of course the novel ends with the two of them telling each other how much they love each other. Brody says he’d do just about anything she asked because he loves her that much. Anything except, apparently, lie for her father or buy her ice cream.

So, that was Body Check by Elle Kennedy, all 165 pages of Harlequin Blaze glory. Hockey Hero meets Hockey-hating Heroine with family troubles that affect him as well and they fall in love anyway, amidst the concern of their one-dimensional friends and family.


  1. So many things! Bad hockey similes, ridiculous trades, nonsensical living arrangements, pregnancy, why do so many books end as if the author was leaving for the airport and had to throw everything into her book/suitcase?

    But I am struck by the ice cream as well. That was the part I hated most about 50 Shades, this whole deal of bossing the heroine around eating. I find it creepily paternal and completely unsexy. But perhaps that says more about my food priorities, if I want ice cream, I'm damn well eating ice cream.

    Speaking of food, it's breakfast time. Thank you for all this, and I am really looking forward to finding out what the next book is. I have hopes. I find it interesting that I have read so many hockey romances, and yet I don't seem to have read the same ones you have. Perhaps I should start paying for them.

    1. You're so right-- if you're going to write an ending, write an ending. Don't just throw everything into a blender and call it a day. The epilogue deserves as much editing and research as the rest of the ...

      Oh. Right. This is a book that included the magic pants and zero idea of how playoffs-- and in fact, *time itself*, works. Why should I have expected better of the epilogue?

      The next book (starts Monday!) is not a Harlequin. And while it didn't have many pages more than Body Check did, it felt like it dragged on for an eternity. Hopefully, even if I haven't made the book sound interesting, readers can enjoy my slow descent into insanity and utter rage at the idiocy of the three main characters.

    2. Whoops, got carried away-- there are other things I want to say. The food thing bothers me, too (likewise in 50 Shades/Twlight. I haven't read either but I've read close critiques of them. Those critiques inspired this blog, in fact.) Creepy patriarchal policing is not sexy.

      As for differing books- I think we'll likely have some cross-over. I didn't read all of your reviews, in fact, because I didn't want to be too influenced on the ones that I have in my queue to work on. :D It'll be interesting to see where we differ!

      (I do pay for my hockey romances, but I often choose based on what's on sale/what's cheapest. Which... may not be the way to get the best books.)

  2. Guess which author has the number one sports romance book right now?