The Fictional Hockey League

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Virgin’s Secret Marriage: Post 12

Chapter 8: Subplots & Ice Skating

(Posts for the foreseeable future may be a bit brief and slapdash. Sincere apologies—it’s been a heck of a few months and the Commissioner is digging her way out of them.)

(My old tablet, the one that died over the weekend, seems to be working again. I have no idea. And there’s a new one on its way to me, although it remains to be seen if I’ll keep it since the old one is working. Regardless, I’ll write posts while I can. And I’m going to try and power through the rest of this book before anything else breaks or goes wrong…)

Emma has been dropped off at work and is pouting because she didn’t get a goodbye kiss, but she also doesn’t actually want a goodbye kiss, and I understand being confused but good lord, Emma, get it together.

Then we have an update on her wedding planning, in a subplot that I really don’t care much about. Suffice it to say that the bride has lost the shipment of wedding flowers (yes, seriously). She’d gone to the airport to pick up the flowers, in order to save her groom some money, and after collecting them, let them sit as she went to the restroom, and they were stolen. She cries at Emma a bunch and says she’s worried her husband-to-be doesn’t love her and blah blah blah why is there no hockey?

Then someone we’ve never met before shows up, sent by Joe to pick Emma up. The only reason I’m going to bother mentioning anything about this person is because she’s so unexpected—her name is Hannah and she owns and is chief mechanic of a classic car repair shop in town. I approve. (I care not one whit about cars, but I like that we have a female character in a traditionally male dominated career. Then again, she gets about a page here and I have no idea if she’ll show up again. Her entire purpose in this chapter is to shuttle Emma from the wedding place to the practice arena.

When Emma asks what happens if she doesn’t want to go with Hannah, the response is as you might expect.

“Then I’ll catch heck from Joe and he’ll come looking for you, and probably cart you off to the rink, anyway” (103, and the comma errors came with the book.)


To be fair, Joe is trying to be romantic. When Emma gets to the rink she finds that it’s lit by “wall torches” instead of the overhead lights and Joe wants her to join him, skating. He’s had someone pick up some of her clothes, buy her a pair of skates (figure skates, sigh), and set up a stereo and picnic basket.

If you’re wondering how he knew what size skates to buy her, so was Emma. Apparently he took a pair of her shoes to the skate shop and “had them sell [him] a pair in a similar size” (105).

Readers, have you ever ice skated? I don’t remember figure skates all that well (I haven’t worn them since my teenage years) but I know that I’m super picky about my hockey skates. Not because I’m such a great player that I can tell differences based on quality, but because my feet cramp incredibly painfully if I’m wearing the wrong size skates. When I bought my most recent pair of skates, I tried on a bunch of them, usually in two sizes each. And then once I’d chosen a pair, I had them baked to mold themselves to my feet.

I will admit that figure skates are far more flexible, so I imagine it’s not quite the same thing. Even so, I do remember being picky about sizes when I skated as a teen. And when I took my little sister skating this past winter, she started with figure skates and found the ones in her size so uncomfortable that she went back to try a different pair. (And then she got hockey skates, and I was so very proud of her, heh.)

I just would think that a professional hockey player would understand how difficult it can be to get skates that fit comfortably. I mean, pros get their skates custom sized and made for them. They often wear two different sized skates (off by a quarter size, mind you, not like a size 10 on one foot and a size 7 on the other.)

Oh well.

So they skate about the rink, Emma having some difficulty because of course she does. (Joe has to keep her from falling.) Apparently Emma used to skate competitively as a kid (Hey! Just like Flurry!) but quit when she was 12. And she hasn’t skated at all in 7 years because it would make her think too much of Joe.

Judging from how long she skated competitively, and based on Flurry skating as a kid and then not again for 20 years, I’d say Emma might be rusty but she shouldn’t be having trouble with just going around in a circle. It’s amazing how quickly that stuff comes back to you.

Oh well.

There’s some chatting about how Joe’s mother didn’t really support his desire to play hockey because she was worried he wouldn’t make the pros (fair worry, since most people don’t) and neglecting his education would thus not be a good idea. Then Emma asks him why he hasn’t bene shaving which leads to kissing. That leads to them wanting more, so they head for their house.

HALLELUJAH, they didn’t go have sex in the locker room. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Although since Emma is still a virgin, that would have made for a heck of a first-time story, I suppose.)

Joe drops her off at the house so that he can go get groceries. Emma goes in alone and is startled, but happy, to find far fewer boxes strewn about and is incredibly delighted to find that Joe has done some unpacking.

That’s where the chapter ends, which is weird to me. The two were in such a hurry to have sex that they rushed home … and Joe drops her off. And the plot moves on to the Great Unpacked Box Discovery.

… oh well?


  1. Since this is only Chapter Eight, I predict that he dropped her off so she can discover something which will prevent them from having sex. Because nobody interrupts a seduction to get groceries, unless they have a vegetable kink.

    Also, wall torches at a rink? Sigh.

    1. Yeah, I have zero idea what the author meant by "wall torches." I'm picturing medieval-castle-(hollywood version) torches, but I assume that's wrong. I hope that's wrong. But even just wall-sconce light fixtures is bizarre. Assuming it's a practice rink, there wouldn't need to be seating, so I guess you could put lights on the walls, but that's certainly not something I've ever seen in any rink I've been to. Sigh indeed.

      As for your prediction, you are Quite Close. Except he discovers it and they have sex (just slightly later and with more angst) anyway. Tune in tomorrow. ;)