4 out of 5 Stars
*I received an ARC of Back in Play through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Playing professional hockey is all Scott Walters has known for the last fifteen years. He wants the Stanley Cup, but he also wants a wife and family. A bum knee forces Scott to over-medicate in order to play the game, and all of the medication doesn’t mix with a healthy relationship or a healthy career.
High school teacher Rachel Fielding doesn’t need a man in her life, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want one. Meeting Scott feels like kismet. He’s the perfect guy for her—until she finds out about his drug abuse. The fact that she’s only in town for a few more days doesn’t help matters.
When Scott asks for Rachel’s help to break his addiction, the two grow closer than ever. But Rachel has rules for her relationships, and Scott returning home to play hockey is a deal-breaker. Scott will need to make some tough decisions about what he really wants out of life.
Back in Play was an interesting read that tackled the tough issue of dependence on prescription pain medication. Scott was not only addicted to the pain relief, but also to the mind-numbing effects of the pills. But as with most medications, there were side effects. One of them happened to be that Scott couldn’t orgasm. It’s not a subject many people want to tackle, but it’s real and it can bring down an otherwise healthy relationship. Lynda Aicher tackled this subject with grace and finesse throughout the story.
I liked that the main characters were both a bit older than your typical romance. Both had established lives and careers, and they needed to figure out how the other fit into it all. Rachel was supportive throughout Scott’s rehab, but she was dead set against any type of long distance relationship. She also didn’t want to be excluded from the decision-making. Scott only wanted one more year to play hockey, and his decision to return left Rachel out in the cold.
At the same time, Rachel never actually spoke up about her expectations. She was a very vocal and honest character, so this kink in their relationship put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Both of the main characters had a hand in the major angst. I just felt Rachel staying quiet was a little out of character for her.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, which had a nice happily ever after. I would definitely read more by this author. Back in Play is available for pre-order and will be published on May 11, 2015.