USA TODAY bestselling author Kate Meader brings her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (RT Book Reviews) to this novella in the Chicago Rebels series, following the general manager of the Rebels as he scores with one of his players off the ice.
Dante Moretti has just landed his dream job: GM of the Chicago Rebels. And screw the haters who think there should be an asterisk next to his name because he’s the first out managing executive in pro hockey. He’s earned the right to be here and nothing will topple him off that perch—especially not an incredibly inconvenient attraction to his star defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett. Cade has always been careful to keep his own desires on the down low, but his hot Italian boss proves to be a temptation he can’t resist. Sure, they both have so much to lose, but no one will ever know...
As Dante and Cade’s taboo affair heats up off the ice and their relationship gets more and more intense, they’ll have to decide: is love worth risking their careers? Or is this romance destined to be forever benched?
Note: this is a long-ish novella of approximately 40,000 words set in the Chicago Rebels world.
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review
“Meader (Irresistible You; So over You) is a writer not to be overlooked…
An intense, sexy romance balanced with a message about presumptions.”
- Library Journal
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If there's one thing Cade and I have in common it's that neither one of us can resist a hot Italian in a suit. Except Cade is the lucky guy (jerk, I mean...what? ... he's a sweetheart) who gets to have that fantasy come true in this tension-filled and steamy romance set in the world of high testosterone and homophobia.
If you've been reading along in the Chicago Rebels Series, you'll already know the backstory but quick synopsis for those who are new: the Rebels are owned by three half-sisters who inherited it from their misogynistic and furiously ambitious father who stipulated in his will that if the team did not have a successful season then they would lose ownership of it. Some are all for the idea of three women owners, some are indifference and the remainder are hostile and rooting for them to fail. Dante is hired on, impressed by the organization and its leadership. He also knows a thing or two about shaking things up as the first openly gay hockey player. Being older and wiser has its benefits and he ignores the naysayers, proving that his knowledge and experience are the perfect fit for a team that needs to win. Cade hasn't come out of the closet yet but his attraction to Dante has him making some careless decisions about his own personal safety.
This is where I completely lost it for Dante. Rather than taking advantage of the inexperienced Cade and just going for it, he's more mentor-like at the beginning. He's been where Cade has been and understands the perils of being gay in the sports world. He also knows how much one can lose in their private life from coming out. The fact that he's older lends the story maturity and a contrast to Cade's eager-eyed, puppy dog swooning. He's also sensual in the way he speaks, moves and behaves. But even this gorgeous man can't resist Cade's genuine soul and good looks. These two together are on fire and I wanted more of them.
The great mystery of my life is how many sports romances I read, particularly hockey yet I don't watch the sport. I don't think it's diminished any joy I find in reading them but it does strike me as funny. I love how Kate Meader builds on this tension here then levels it cautiously because there is that potential for so much pain should things go south when there's so much at stake. I also loved all the little gaps she fills in that were brief mentions in the previous books. It's nice to be able to put particular scenes together from different angles now that I have the additional POVs. Undone By You is a quick, happy read with plenty of emotion, sexiness and laughs. My heart swelled with this one and so far it's my favourite of the series. The image of Dante in a suit certainly helps ;)
Are you ready for an excerpt from Undone By You?
(Psst ... this is the scene that sealed it for me!)
Cade turned and almost dropped the frame.
Apparently, Dante had been working on more than just dish-clearing and dessert prep in the kitchen. A wardrobe change had occurred, and man oh man, were the results spectacular. The addition of a tie, vest, and jacket meant Dante was now dressed in a hot-shit suit.
I repeat. Dante Moretti is dressed in a hot-shit suit.
“You guys close?”
“We were. He died nine years ago.”
Nine years ago, around the time Dante came out publicly. The death of his grandfather was related to his decision somehow.
Dante placed a half-drunk glass of wine on a side table, shot his cuffs, and picked up his wine again. For the length of a long sip, he never took his eyes off Cade.
Cade couldn’t speak. Watching Dante watch him had evicted all rational thought.
“There’s cannoli in the kitchen,” the chef murmured, “but it needs time to get to the perfect eating temperature.”
Cannoli? Who the hell cares about cannoli when every freakin’ one of Cade’s fantasies was standing before him? “You changed.”
“You like when I wear a suit, don’t you?”
Cade nodded, his tongue too thick to respond. Dazed, he started at Dante’s shiny shoes and worked up slowly. Having seen the man’s thighs in the gym, Cade was hard-pressed to decide whether those bare, hairy pillars of temptation were better than the winter wool-covered tree trunks he saw now.
Cade took his time moving up, needing to savor every moment. Trim hips, narrow waist, and a thickening—under his very eyes—bulge in the crotch of his suit pants. The three buttons of his vest were done up, a slight disc-shaped lump in the pocket. It held an old-fashioned watch on a chain, the links of which draped at the side.
This crazy detail would have pronounced anyone else a pretentious asshole, but not Dante. It was elegance and style and placed the man in a league above. A dark blue tie matched Dante’s eyes. His broad shoulders filled out the jacket perfectly. There wasn’t a single thing Cade would change except . . .
Abandon. Cade planned to change Dante’s cool expression to one of utter and complete abandon.
Dante set the wineglass down and walked over, stopping a foot from Cade. His gaze dipped to Cade’s mouth, heated promise building in his eyes with each passing second. Another step, and he took the photo out of Cade’s hands and set it back on the mantel.
One thumb rubbed over Cade’s cheekbone. Just that one stroke, unbelievably sensual, and Cade was a mess.
Can’t breathe. Can’t . . . breathe. Can’t—
Cade managed to suck in a breath and on exhaling, Dante leaned in and licked the corner of his mouth. Oh, sweet Jesus. Some weird, garbled sound came out of him. But whatever it was made Dante smile, and then his lips moved over Cade’s slowly, building a fire, stealing all sense. Breaking Cade down to a cellular level. His hand found anchor at Cade’s nape, a gloriously possessive gesture, and Cade knew in that moment he’d give this man anything, anything, he wanted.
Not even last night’s win in New York could compare to the pulse spike when Dante’s lips took control. His tongue slipped in and licked inside, all sweet, dirty promise, blasting the fantasy to fragments and hurling it beyond Cade’s admittedly very active imagination. If this was what the kiss was like, how the hell was he going to survive the sex?
And hello, it looked like sex was back on the menu.
About Kate Meader
Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she's there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.
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