Pucked Off, an all-new emotional and sexy STANDALONE from Helena Hunting is LIVE!!
Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***
I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”
I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.
Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.
I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.
At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.
I shouldn’t want her.
But I do.
I should leave her alone.
But I won’t.
This is the story I’ve been waiting for…
After witnessing Lance “Romance” Romero’s deviant behavior throughout the previous books in the series, I was desperate to learn the reasons behind his antics in his own words…I needed his backstory…an explanation for his out of control activities, but I didn’t want to learn about his history without his voice…his truths…his feelings that were expressed without the constant buzz he seemed to have or based on rumors and hearsay from the puck bunnies. I needed to understand why he appeared to be the life of the party…a legend both on and off the ice, and why he kept going back to situations and people who seemed to do nothing but use and manipulate him for their own gains.
And…once again, Helena Hunting gave me EVERYTHING I wanted and more in Pucked Off. She allowed me to see who Lance truly is and she took me inside his head and stripped him bare, forcing his demons out in the open and enabling readers to recognize that a lot of Lance’s issues stem from a violent and abusive childhood – one where everyone abandoned him and the aftereffects of that toxic treatment and his resulting behavior seeped into his adult life and led him to make choices that left him feeling empty and worthless.
Let…Want…Need…three words that clearly define Lance’s actions and reactions and those of the two very different woman who become part of his life.
Lance lets/allows Tash to play games with him because he doesn’t feel strong enough to walk away and think that he deserves better.
Lance lets/allows Poppy’s hands to heal the tension and strain of his bad choices despite his affinity to being touched.
Lance wants Tash to want the same things he does, so he continues to go back to her even though she’s toxic to all parts of his life.
Lance wants to be good enough for Poppy and deserve her body and the way she grounds him despite the secrets he still keeps.
Lance needs to find a way to change his habits and clearly see Tash for who she is.
Lance needs to look at who he is and what he’s done and find a way to accept Poppy’s goodness into his life and see himself as deserving of her kindness and affection.
Lance is a complex man and there is so much more to him than what he allows anyone to see; he allows the rumors and destructive behavior to speak for him because he won’t risk anyone seeing how truly damaged and messed up he is, but his bad publicity follows him around, screws with his head, and keeps him on a path consumed with bad choices and regret and the only way to make the cycle stop is to not allow anyone to screw with his head and use their knowledge of Lance’s secrets to manipulate him, exposing his insecurities and treating him as a man unworthy of love and respect.
And as long as Lance doesn’t allow himself to be used by Tash, wants to do and be better for the right woman, and needs to get off his destructive path and allow those in his life who truly love him to help set him straight.
All of these ideas are what drives the story line in PUCKED OFF…what leaves readers feeling emotionally unbalanced because Lance’s story is unlike the previous ones due to his past and the life altering effects it has had on him. But it’s also a part of his past that enters his present and inspires him to change…provides him with a new way of living, gives him an understanding of what relationships are supposed to be like and offers to stand by his side despite the difficulties of being a part of Lance’s celebrity life and what comes with it.
Poppy is an integral part of Lance’s transformation; it’s her faith in him…her care for him that allows him to fight his demons. I absolutely adore her because there is nothing fake about her…nothing vindictive or destructive in her personality. She’s a beautiful woman, inside and out, and although her history with Lance is tainted, she still sees beyond the rumors and outlandish behavior, which is exactly what Lance needs in order to combat his feelings of worthlessness and see himself as a man who has so much more to offer than just a night free of inhibitions.
PUCKED OFF is definitely my favorite of the series, partly due to how in-depth Hunting explores Lance’s issues and character and partly because of the camaraderie of his chosen family and the women who step up for their men and their men’s best friends. There are a lot of secondary story lines in the book that are just as pivotal as Lance and Poppy’s burgeoning relationship and Hunting does a great job of systematically weaving them together, allowing them to build off one another and be there as support when it’s needed. As heavy as Lance’s story is, the freedom that comes at the end of it is so worth the tears and frustrations I experienced, and I wouldn’t change the tumultuous journey I took with them because it gives readers hope that one’s past doesn’t have to define his/her future and fate just might give him/her a second chance to get things right with the right woman.
5+ Poison Apples
Armed with my clipboard, I walk down the hall to the waiting room. Lance is impossible to miss. Despite the fact that he’s wearing a sweatshirt and the hood is covering half of his face, he’s more than six feet of broad, hockey-playing man.
He’s so wide his shoulders encroach on the chairs on either side, which would explain why no one is sitting next to him. He’s slouched down so his head rests on the back of the chair, and his hands are clasped in his lap, a baseball cap hanging off one knee. His lips, plush and soft—I know since I’ve had them on mine; it might have been a decade ago, but I remember it clearly—are parted. He looks like he’s asleep.
I clear my throat. “Lance Romero?”
He doesn’t move.
Bernadette, the receptionist, gives me a meaningful look.
I clear my throat again and call his name a second time. He jolts awake and the hood falls back, exposing his face. It’s not in good shape. He has a black eye and bruises on his left cheek. There’s a fly bandage across one eyebrow.
Sadly, he’s still hot.
He blinks a few times, yawns, and smacks his lips, his tongue touching the split in the bottom one. His gaze sweeps the room and finally lands on me. Heat explodes in my cheeks and courses through my limbs, warming me from the inside out as he starts at my sneaker-clad feet and roams up over my yoga pants to my company-issued T-shirt before stopping at my face. I can’t look directly at him for more than a couple of seconds. I sincerely hope he doesn’t remember me. I cannot go there and also be professional.
I’m sure the smile he gives me has melted many a panty off a slutty bunny. Mine stay right where they’re supposed to, wedged up my ass.
I force a polite, professional veneer. “I’m ready for you now.”
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About the Author
NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
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