The Fictional Hockey League

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Guest Post!! Melting the Ice

I'm so pleased to present to you today a guest post. The writer, Mme Pred, is a friend of mine and also was my hockey team's captain, so clearly she knows her stuff. She's also delightfully snarky as you'll soon read. 

Melting the Ice - Jaci Burton
First, let’s get the usual ridiculous characters out of the way. You can’t have a romance novel where the main character is some boring profession like an insurance claims adjustor or anything that would have ever been featured on Dirty Jobs. No, everyone has to have an amazing career where even if you’re just starting out, you have some means of support that allows you live as if you’d already achieved greatness. So we have Carolina, who is a fashion designer - she’s quit her job working for some other Really Important Designer and now she’s making her own line. Her brother just happens to be a professional race car driver. And their father is…Vice President of the United States. No, he can’t just be a CEO of a random Fortune 500 company - he has to be the VP of the nation. Really, I’m not sure WHY he had to be a huge political figure, since there was nothing in the plot that really required it. He does loan Carolina his private jet at some point, and there are some Secret Service agents around from time to time, but there is no assassination or kidnapping attempt, no coup d’état plans, nothing that couldn’t have happened with just a regular super-rich dad.

So Carolina had this one-night stand a long time ago with Drew, who is now a professional hockey player. He plays for a team called the Travelers, which is based out of New York City. They play in Madison Square Gardens, so I’m assuming it’s really the Rangers, but without saying so. And the guy seems to have a sense of fashion and a knack for modeling, so maybe we’re supposed to be picturing Henrik Lundquist as we read this? Anyway…the one night stand ended after one night (duh) and Carolina never really got over it.

We later learn that Drew is from Oklahoma, the undisputed hotbed of hockey talent. And he went to college, then decided to go pro. He wasn’t a great player growing up, and didn’t decide until later in his hockey career that he wanted to go to the Show someday. He worked and proved himself, and now he’s a stud in the NHL. Except that isn’t realistic, is it? The ones who make it tend to live hockey 24/7 for many years, and don’t often take time out for college, drinking binges, and the like. One doesn’t simply wake up at 23 and say “oh shit, college is ending and I guess I’d better get serious about this hockey thing if I’m going to make the big time!”

She’s working on her new clothing line and mentions to her brother that she’s going to need some models. Not just any models, but the kind that look really good in underwear. But instead of using her fashion designer connections to hire the sort of people who might be good at modeling and decent at look really good in underwear (I don’t know, maybe underwear models?), she asks her brother. Who immediately suggest that his best friend, professional hockey player Drew, would probably love to be an underwear model for the chick he banged long ago and never spoke to again.

But OF COURSE this is the best way to go about things! After all, what guy isn’t just sitting around hoping to someday get the chance to model underwear? For a girl he knew back in college and who may still be angry at him? I don’t have any brothers, but I’m just guessing that if I did, they wouldn’t put ‘modeling in my sister’s stupid fashion show’ on the top of the list.

Drew accepts the request, since why not - maybe he’ll get some free undies out of the deal! Carolina is very uncomfortable with his presence, but that doesn’t stop her from moving forward with the Great Underwear Plot. She goes to his game in order to make some sketches that will help her with inspiration for the menswear line, and when Drew sees them he is amazed at the way she captures the speed and beauty of the sport. Like nothing he’s ever, ever seen before - not even with all of the thousands of photographs that have certainly been taken of him through his hockey career!

There are sub-plots involving the brother and his girlfriend, and the team. The team wins at home but not on the road, which means that it must be all of the sex Drew ends up having with Carolina. They are both really, really busy people who work 24/7, but there is a lot of sex to be had, so somehow they manage to find the time. And the place - ah, the places…

At one point, Carolina needs to take photos of Drew in the special underwear she designed with him in mind - and later, we find out that this underwear is so special that it simply wouldn’t work with any other dude as a model. Which means you probably can’t sell much of it, if it’s so body specific that it will only look good on a pro hockey player.

Anyway, she arranges to meet him at MSG after a practice so that she can take a preliminary photo shoot of him on the ice, in his underwear. Amazingly, they just gave Drew the keys and let him lock the place up when he’s done. I’m really surprised that he would agree to being photographed in his underwear on the ice - the cold would definitely NOT do any favors to his reputation and the shrinkage must be horrible! But he agrees, and they do their photo shoot. To be followed by a BJ on the ice, right in front of the net. I think most goalies would find that to be worthy of a penalty for defiling the crease!

Are there really NO cameras in MSG that would catch this on video? And did they really just leave these two alone in the building? Even on empty nights, there is usually at least one guy patrolling these sorts of buildings! And then the physical issues - I don’t know how long they were on the ice, but it’s pretty cold out there - especially if you’re not dressed for giving BJ’s on the ice (what is the appropriate dress for such an occasion?). Either she works fast, he’s really quick, or she had to have had some sort of frostbite.

After the ice incident, they move on to the locker room where Drew returns the favor. In the locker room. The. Locker. Room. I have been in quite a few ice rink locker rooms - including some really nice ones - and I haven’t seen a one of them that would look like a good place to get it on. Sure, it could be handy if you’re hoping to get a nice fungal infection of your nether regions or some MRSA in an unfortunate place - but they are not sexy places. The smell enough should be enough to tell you that this is not a place to get your freak on.

In the end, everything works out for everyone - the losing streak ends, the fashion show is a success, the underwear fits and everyone lives happily ever after. At least for the first couple of week. After which, I assume they both make an embarrassing trip to the clinic to get the fungus thing taken care of.


  1. Really? There's another one of us? This is like my birthday & Christmas all rolled up in one, I have found my tribe and apparently all I have to do is move to Arizona and play hockey. Enjoyed this review so much, and you saved me ten bucks. I was wondering if I should actually invest in some of the "better" writers instead of always going for the freebies. Now I know, price is no guarantee of quality. VP of the free world does seem a little over the top. I could do without the fungal image though.

    But you didn't answer the big question: does this author know her hockey?

    1. Oh there are several more lurking about. Alas, I am no longer in AZ, so while I do (in general) recommend moving there and certainly absolutely no question recommend playing hockey, I suspect you can find more of your tribe all over.

      I'll see if I can get Mme Pred to answer The Big Question, though...