Blair Brawsiski is a ten-year veteran of the Vancouver Orcas AHL hockey team, and if he doesn’t get called up to play in the NHL this year, he’s hanging up his skates. Blair’s always had talent, but he’s never fully committed himself to his sport because he’s always helping out his family with their business or domestic needs. But, before Blair gives up on his dream career, he’s golng to work harder than ever to make that next level before the season ends. To fully commit himself, Blair needs a personal assistant to take on the work he can’t manage.
Blair hires Charlie Shore, cousin of his coach and a baker by trade, to manage his life. Charlie’s part-time gig duties are to do the grocery shopping, meal prep, and cook, with some light housekeeping and laundry, if possible. Unfortunately, Blair finds Charlie incredibly attractive, and Charlie’s also rather smitten. Both men are out, but dating one’s boss is a no-go for Charlie who really needs the second job, as he’s in debt to his eyeballs and his rent just doubled.
Charlie has abandonment issues, stemming from his mom’s desertion in his teens. They have a strained relationship, as she’s occupied with her second family and lives a couple of time zones away. And, his dad just moved in with a girlfriend, leaving Charlie living alone for the first time in his life at age 29. He feels pathetic, except when he satisfies all of Blair’s domestic needs. Because Blair totally appreciates him…except when he gets overextended on commitments and leaves Charlie hanging. It’s super bad form that ends up kick starting Blair’s new ambition: making Charlie a priority.
This is a low-angst, sweet, hockey romance that has two amazingly awesome main characters. Blair’s a big old pushover, always pitching in without complaint, even if it’s to his detriment. He’s got big dreams, but a deeper sense of loyalty to his family, who are only now recognizing how much they take him for granted. Charlie is adorable, and so giving of himself. He’s never cross, even when he has valid reasons to be, and he’s so selfless in his day-to-day it’s easy to see how he fell into debt. His aversion to dating his boss takes a bit of time to get over, but Blair is finally able to woo him when they both consider that his assistant gig is temporary.
The series introduces lots of characters, and though I didn’t read the previous book (or any that may have been related via spin-off) I felt very grounded in this story. Blair and Charlie have rich and full lives. They have depth and maturity. They own up to their mistakes and make amends. And I loved watching it all unfold as if I was a part of their story. It’s a fun book, and I think readers who enjoy hockey romances, and particularly Canadian characters, will love it. I would definitely read on in the series.