Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Title: Stay
Series: WAGs #2 (Wives and Girlfriends)
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Release date: June 20, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4 stars


Can you fall in love with someone you've never even met?

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it's against the rules for her to check his file, she's 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting... until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He's still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won't show her pretty face.

But it's nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can't fix. Hailey can't resist the offer. Matt can't resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn't have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.

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This book was just what I needed after the intense fantasy book I had just finished. It was just pure sexy, light and frothy fun. To be honest, since reading Good Boy, I wasn't especially excited about reading Matt's book. In fact, I could barely remember who he was. But it didn't take long for me to this was a special guy with a lot to offer.

The single dad trope is hot right now, but it's not one that particularly draws me. However, Matt's love and devotion to his twin daughters would melt even the most cynical reader's heart. But on top of that, he's just an all-around good guy. Instead of the typical athlete manwhore, what we have here is a man who isn't the slightest bit interested in partying and getting laid on a nightly basis. He's not egotistical, arrogant, or vain. And wow, was that ever refreshing.

Matt is nursing a lot of guilt over the dissolution of his marriage. His ex-wife and mother of his daughters never lets him forget that he was a failure as a husband. Not for a second. Constant time on the road away from his family was a big factor that caused the erosion of their happiness. So the last thing he is interested in is looking for a serious relationship with someone new. It's better off for everyone if he's single, because as far as he's concerned, he would only end up disappointing her. Being alone is a price he grudgingly accepts in order to play hockey and live his dream.

Hailey and her ex-husband are co-owners of the assistance service Fetch. Unlike Matt, she has a very amicable post divorce relationship with her former spouse. They were best friends first, and that's what they remained. At first I thought it was extremely odd and awkward for them to continue to run a business together and see each other on a daily basis. And yes, it might have been a little uncomfortable at times. But overall, it was admirable to see how they could handle themselves with maturity and class. They just realized that their love was not of the romantic or passionate kind and moved forward.

Jackson and I were pals forever. Then we were a couple . One day in high school he kissed me instead of hugging me goodbye . And that was that.

Hailey is highly inexperienced when it comes to men. As in...she's never been with anyone except her ex-husband. So when her athlete crush Matt Eriksson starts using Fetch, their messages online were the perfect safe buffer to ease her into putting herself out there. In their IMs, she can banter with the best of them and hold her own. But get her face to face and it was a whole other story with him. It took her a little while to ease into a comfortable spot with him in order for her to be herself. But I loved how understanding and sweet he was about her nervousness. He made it his goal to not only make her feel comfortable, but confident.

The poor girl needs to get her mojo back, and I’ve decided I’m the man for the job. Just call me Matt the Mojo Maker.

Matt and Hailey had a very straightforward, low drama relationship and I really enjoyed that. His real conflict was in letting go of his guilt and finding a way to balance his career and personal life. There was some minor conflict with both of their exes, but nothing unpleasant or frustrating. As their romance blossomed, she got to meet the WAGs, Matt's teammates, and spent time with his adorable daughters. The story was so charming, and to be honest, much sexier than I had anticipated for some reason. Matt came out of nowhere and cranked up the heat on Hailey like you wouldn't believe.

This fantastic author team really impressed me with the first in the series, but I think this is my new favorite of the two. If you haven't started them yet, don't hesitate! After the hint at the end about who's in line for the next book, I'm more than a little intrigued and ready to sign on for more.

All I know is that I love every second I spend with Matt. He’s so… real. Warm and gorgeous and funny and how the hell did I ever get so lucky?


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