by Tamsen Parker
Series: Snow & Ice Games #1
Also in this series: Seduction on the Slopes, On the Edge of Scandal, Fire on the Ice
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Reading Challenges: 2018 Romance Roundabout Challenge, January - March 2018 Quarterly Challenge
Welcome to the Snow and Ice Games where the competition is fierce and the romance is HOT.
Rowan Andrews is the unexpected darling of the Denver Snow and Ice Games. Luge has never captured the American public’s imagination as much as figure skating or even hockey, but her outsized personality and dare-devil ways have got everyone’s eyes glued to the track. Including a certain chart-topping heartthrob.
Zane Rivera is the lead singer of License to Game, the hottest band in the country. When Zane finds out Rowan Andrews has had some complimentary things to say about him, he arranges to meet her while he’s in Denver enjoying the games. And when a photo of him kissing Rowan on the cheek goes viral, they both see the advantages of faking a relationship for the publicity.
After Rowan’s injured in her final race, their relationship starts to feel all too real to Zane. But is this rock star ready to fall in love?
Every four years, winter athletes from around the world gather together for two weeks to compete in the …. Snow & Ice games! Wait, what did you think I was going to say?
“’Think you can do that? Look like you’re into me?’
She bites the corner of her lip and looks up at the ceiling. ‘I don’t know. You’re one of the most famous musicians in the world and really hot, so it might be difficult. But I’m a professional. I think I can handle it.'”
Rowan is 20, and her age, coupled with her teenage fangirling over Zane, gave this a YA feel, except for, you know, the steamy sex scenes. Despite her age, she’s confident, driven, and disciplined. Luge is her life, and she’s got her eyes set on medalling at the games. The opportunity to use a fake romance to boost her media standing (and lead to more lucrative sponsorships) doesn’t seem like such a hardship, especially when it’s with the pop star she’s idolized all her life. The “fake romance” trope is one that can go either way for me, and in this case, I think it worked very well. Though she’s initially very shy (to the point of covering her face and peeking through her hands) and starstruck, she gradually comes to see Zane as an actual person. Plus, she’s dominant as all get-out in bed – Zane calls her his “bossy Valkyrie,” which was super hot to read (as was Zane’s shower fantasies about her).
“He may have had me at a disadvantage for ninety-eight percent of the time we’ve known each other, but I’ve finally found where I have the upper hand, which is maybe the last place I would’ve expected it from a guy who must have dozens of groupies begging to bang him any time he performs.”
For a big deal boyband pop star, Zane is surprisingly supportive of Rowan’s training time and feelings. He recognizes that while Rowan’s certainly charming during her media interviews, she’s not used to the constant media spotlight of stardom or being the “it couple” of the moment. For goodness’ sake, when she falls asleep on the couch in his hotel suite, he’s thoughtful enough to remove her bra because he remembers his sisters complaining about underwire all the time (ok – that reads slightly weird as I’m retelling it, but it felt very in-character and not at all creepy during the story).
“Maybe she’d see the way she feels about Zane Rivera, lead singer of License to Game, is the way I feel about Rowan Andrews, SIG luger extraordinaire. It’s also possible she’ll realize that’s not all she is to me. Even though it’s a terrible idea, I’m hoping I’ve become more to her than that as well.”
For all their differences, they also have a lot of areas in common. Both of their current careers both have time limits – Rowan for how long (in SIG games) before she’s too old to race at a pseudo-Olympic level, and Zane for how long audiences will keep buying their boyband albums. Both of them have sacrificed and put their careers in front of everything – Zane’s contractually obligated to put off his solo career until the record company decides License to Game is dead, and Rowan spends hours training, so much so that her friends are her dad and her teammates. I think, probably, this is would also be one of the reasons why she reads so young to me – her life experience is all tied up in luging.
“She grins at me, and plants another small kiss on my mouth, one that’s cute and so sweet in its easy familiarity I want to bottle it. Keep it around and take a swig whenever things are hard, because once upon a time there was this incredible girl . . .”
The resolution of the big miscommunication in the book felt hurried and unsatisfying to me. I was hopping made at the character responsible, and I think his about-face on it was too sudden, and Rowan and Zane’s acceptance of it too quick. There’s several references made to the “SIG snow globe” – the games only last for two weeks, but it’s like a weird time warp that simultaneously feels longer at some times and shorter at others – and I think that works for me for explaining the speed of their relationship, but not so much for the miscommunication resolution.
Overall, I really liked this book, and I’m excited to read the next in the series. Recommended for anyone looking for a steamy sports romance to keep them warm this winter!
“’Need you, Row. Love you.’
For all the flowery and wonderful words in his songs, I like these simple, nearly incoherent ones better. His songs are for the world, but this, this is only for me, as is the way he kisses me after he’s spent.”
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: