Thursday, February 23, 2017

REVIEW: PUCKED OFF by Helena Hunting

PUCKED OFF by Helena Hunting
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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.
PUCKED OFF is a spinoff of the PUCKED series and is considered a standalone. I, personally have not completed the other books in the series and I felt like I didn’t have gaps in the story. I didn’t feel like I was missing important details because I didn’t finish the other novels in the series. Helena Hunting did a phenomenal job of filling in possible new readers and reminding previous readers of the events leading up to this novel. PUCKED OFF revolves around Lance “Romance” Romero, whom was introduced in a previous book in the series and a new female, whom is supposed to be kept a secret until you read the book.

Lance Romero is haunted by his past and he feels he has no way of escaping it. The one woman (Tash, whom we met in the previous novels) he entrusted his secrets to, has betrayed him in more ways than one and continues to manipulate and hurt him every chance she gets. “But I’m weak for Tash. I don’t know how to say no to her, even though she’s bad for me.” –Lance. Every time, she reels him, just to crush him and he’s dumb enough to keep coming back, but enough is enough. This is the last time. “I’m so done with being used.” –Lance. He’s trying to sever the tie to her, but he needs an outlet for all the chaos in his head because now more than ever, he can’t escape those demons lurking in his thoughts. He hits the ice harder, picks more fights, and ends up in the penalty box more and more. But all the injuries are taking a toll on his body and messing up his game. Now his coach demands he see a massage therapist to help fix him and bring him back to top playing condition. The only issue is he loathes being touched. He can handle taking the hits on the ice, but someone actually touching him, especially a female, makes him lose his mind. Growing up, he was conditioned to associate physical contact with pain and he avoids it all costs, but when he is given the ultimatum of “go get a massage or get benched”, he has no other choice. His expectations have him preparing for the worst, but when he arrives at his appointment he finds his ultimate “wet dream” as his massage therapist. "…she’s a natural redhead, and I have a serious weakness for them.” –Lance. He finds his reaction to her bewildering, especially when she actually massages him. His conditioned response and usual sensation he associates with physical contact is absent when she puts her hands on him. “Instead of feeling like there are bugs crawling under and over my skin, all I feel is warm. Warm hands. Warm.” –Lance. For the first time in his adult life, he isn’t repelled by this kind of touch and because of that, he is determined to find a way to keep her as his massage therapist, but it proves harder and harder to keep it professional when he is also very physically attracted to her. But as things heat up between Lance and his massage therapist, his past comes back to haunt him. Tash is relentless in her mind games and is determined to have him back, even if that ruins his only chance at happiness. He has to figure out a way to completely dissolve whatever it is they had going on and remove Tash from his life, otherwise he has no chance with this new woman in his future. She helps ground him and calms the chaos in his mind and he NEEDS her, more than anything. But his own personal insecurities have him uncertain about their possible future and that limits his ability to fully let her in. Those self-doubts lead to insecurities in her as well, and this leads to mixed messages and hesitations, when all they need to do is trust each other and open up to one another.

This was a perfect combination of sexy and sweet, with the right amount of comical relief and just enough angst to keep me reading way past my bedtime. This story proves that your past does not dictate who you become in life…YOU do. Your CHOICES do. Lance proved that you can overcome your past. He is this broken boy in a man’s body and my heart absolutely melting and broke for him throughout PUCKED OFF. His efforts at “deserving” this new woman in his life were heartbreaking and #swoonworthy at the same time. The dark emptiness he felt was brightened by her light. “…she’s the light I needed to find my way out of the dark spaces in my head.” –Lance. She became the reasons for him to heal and cut out the toxic things in his life and to help him realize that your past will always be there, because it’s part of your story, but it doesn’t need to be your future. 

“Loving this man isn’t going to be easy, but I still want to try.” –the new woman
I’ll be completely honest, I tried my hardest to savor this novel for as long as I could, but in the end, I completely devoured it! I LOVED every minute of it and I would highly recommend it! I believe if you’ve enjoyed any of Helena’s novels, then you’ll find pure bliss with this one. Lance is definitely up there with Randy (from PUCKED OVER and PUCKED UNDER) as a top fav of mine in the PUCKED series.  I haven’t heard any specific details on more novels happening in this series, but there are still some teammates that could get novels. I’m holding out hope that Helena finds their voices and gives us their stories one day.  

5+ “Deserving” Stars
xoxo, Vivian 💋


Links to follow Helena Hunting:

AMAZON US Link to other novels in the series (click on image)

A PUCKED Holiday Outtake (#1.1)
AREA 51: Pucked Series Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (#4.1)

GET INKED (A PUCKED series & CLIPPED WINGS series crossover Novella)

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