There is something in the Romance Writer water because next to hockey players Russians are my new favorite things. *Note to self: Must get me one of those guys.* In Kate Meader’s “So Over You”, Vadim’s a fabulous Hero in that he’s outrageously Russian. He feels it’s his duty to be dry, stoic, condescending and in-charge; which comes across as terribly Russian. Vadim also has the best turns-of-phrases and internal monologues. Simply put, he’s delightfully Russian. Isobel’s a wonderfully layered Heroine. Currently she sees herself as too tall, too athletic, and not attractive. However we discover when she was younger she didn’t have these insecurities. Isobel was fearless as a teen; be it on the ice or with men. Then tragedy struck taking away her ability to play competitive hockey. Leaving only the voice of her now dead yet still pushing and judgmental father in her head.
The owner of the Chicago Rebels hockey team died and left the team to his three daughters. Two of the daughters didn’t get along and they never met his illegitimate third daughter. At first relations between the women were extremely rocky but have smoothed out. They have Awkward Sister Wine night each month. The eldest daughter, Harper, assumed she would inherit the team alone. Now she’s come to terms with having her sisters input. At least Isobel’s. The one rule is no fraternizing with the players. However that rule is a moot point since Harper’s seriously dating the team’s center. All the women have mental and emotional scars left by their father. He had an affair and left Harper and her mother when Isobel’s mother got pregnant. Even during that marriage he continued to have affairs. Because of her father’s sexual exploits Isobel believes hockey players can’t be faithful.
There are many caveats to owning the team. The sisters must attend all home games. They must make decisions regarding the team together. But the big one is the most nerve-wracking for the women. The team must make the Stanley Cup play-offs or else it will be sold off to AN awaiting consortium. This is information they’ve kept to themselves. However they’ve been making high-stakes trades, firings and hirings to stinging public criticism. The general public and their critics think they are flighty women making emotional and hasty decisions. However every move they’ve made is calculated to get them to the play-offs. One hiring has brought back someone from Isobel’s past. Someone she’d rather try to forget.
Her younger sister Violet is trying to help her ‘get her groove on’. But finding a man who’s interested in a tall, athletically built woman, who’s not fashion-forward is difficult. Isobel wasn’t always insecure around men. When she was a teenager she was confident enough to pursue someone she had a crush on. Someone she wanted to lose her virginity to. Unfortunately her father caught them in the afterglow still tangled up and naked. He ended up chasing the young man out of the house with a hockey stick. That wasn’t enough he had his visa revoked and blackballed in within the NHL. Essentially he ruined the boy’s hockey career before it even began. Now several years later, Vadim Petrov’s the very talented player they’ve traded in. Unfortunately he’s injured. It’s up to her, as a coaching consultant, to work one-on-one with Vadim to get him back to top-performing levels.
Vadim Petrov doesn’t want to be attracted to Isobel Chase. Unfortunately his unruly body hasn’t gotten the memo. He doesn’t have the luxury of avoiding her since she’s his personal coach for extra training for his bad knee. He was angry for a long time. Angry about how her father used his power to exile him from the USA, the NHL, and Isobel. However he knew the old man could see the obsession Vadim felt for his Bella. The Girl With the Blazing Skates. Clifford Chase probably knew Vadim would rather die that give up the girl. So the old man basically banished him to Siberia. But now he’s finally in the NHL and Fate has seen that he and Isobel are reunited.
At first Vadim and Isobel’s interactions are hot-tempered and antagonistic. However because of bad blood and team gossip Vadim’s protective instincts awaken as does his feelings for Isobel. He learns that Isobel didn’t have an orgasm when they had sex when they were teens. This information stings his pride and makes him feel guilty. Vadim feels Isobel’s first time should have been the best and instead he only thought of himself. Now he wants a second chance to give her all the orgasms. Isobel however wants to become a full-time coach in the NHL. Therefore she can’t risk any scandal with players. She is tempted to go out with one of the trainers. But a jealous Vadim makes Isobel feel there will be gossip if she dates even a staff member.
It’s true there is a lot of gossip surrounding Isobel. One bitter player overhears Isobel telling her sister, Violet, about giving her virginity to Vadim when they were teenagers. The fact that Isobel is assigned to work with Vadim’s in one-on-one training sessions is not helping matters. Also not helping is the memory of her father’s voice saying she’s too good to just coach. She should push herself to play professionally. Added to memories of witnessing her father cheating on her mother and her college hockey-playing boyfriends cheating on her. Isobel refuses to follow a man around when she should be leading.
Isobel has an opportunity to try-out for the US Women’s Olympic hockey team. Unfortunately the first night she played a professional women’s hockey game was her last. A series of events lead to a horrific accident on the ice which almost killed her. The doctors say a bad fall or too hard of a hit could kill her. However, Isobel is willing to sign whatever waivers she needs to for another chance to play hockey. Even if it means risking her life. She only tells Vadim about her plans and he is furious she would be so frivolous with her life. Vadim interferes and Isobel refuses to be part of his life anymore. Vadim is an emotional player and this break-up can cost the team the play-offs. If the team doesn’t make the play-offs Isobel and her sisters will lose the team.
Kate Meader has another fantastic Chicago based series on her hands. The sex can melt ice, the banter is slap-shot quick, and the Heroes are just as hot as firefighter calendars. Ms. Meader infuses humor both with dialog as well as situationally. She also has tons of emotional backstory infused in this book. Vadim’s estranged mother and her reemergence in his life. The reasons and sentiment tied up with why she left are quite moving. Isobel is a delight. How she delivers her dialog, how she dresses, not to mention her internal jealous rantings over silicone-enhanced puck-bunnies is priceless. “So Over You” is an incredibly fun read with a riveting backstory between the Hero and Heroine. Especially since Vadim was her first sexual experience and his performance was less than stellar. It’s a big deal throughout the book and boy does Vadim make-up for his past lapses.
I’m giving “So Over You” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.