HIP CHECK – Deirdre Martin
New York Blades Series, Book 12
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-25115-7
February 2013
Contemporary Romance

New York City – Present Day

Pro hockey player Esa Saari has well-earned his reputation as the New York Blades bad boy. Suddenly finding himself the guardian of his orphaned eight-year-old niece, Nell, has Esa reeling. He doesn't have the time to devote himself to taking care of Nell, so on the advice of a teammate, hires a live-in nanny. Michelle Beck comes with a very respectable resume and immediately connects with Nell. While Esa is Michelle's boss, the woman lays down her own set of rules for him. He can't bring his one night stands home to spend the night and he has to work at getting a closer bond with Nell. While the thought of getting to know Nell is daunting for bachelor Esa who has barely been around his niece, he agrees. Michelle isn't afraid to speak her mind and let Esa know when he's doing the wrong thing for Nell, yet there's something about the woman that has him wanting to get closer to her.

Michelle loves her job, though the boss is sometimes a pigheaded oaf. Nell is adorable and has been through a lot after losing her mother. Esa isn't exactly demonstrative towards Nell, and Michelle works on changing things. His reputation as hockey's lothario is legendary, and she likes to jab him with reminders that he can't be that man anymore—at least in front of Nell. The two spar and argue, and things soon turn heated…into red-hot desire. Getting involved with her boss is the last thing Michelle should be doing, but she can't resist the sexy Esa. Will things end badly for both of them…and Nell?

Deirdre Martin brings readers another New York Blades hockey romance with HIP CHECK, this time featuring Esa Saari, the legendary Finnish bad boy of the ice. Up until now, Esa has relished his reputation on and off the ice, but now he has to clean up his act in order to be a positive role model for Nell. Michelle is there cracking the whip to make sure Esa stays in line, which will have readers chuckling as he tries to please both Nell and Michelle. His teammates might think he's wimping out, but Esa will do anything to satisfy Michelle. Why does his niece's nanny affect him like this? Michelle comes from a family of hockey fans—though they're all fans of the other New York team. Her father and brother think Esa is a jerk and can't understand why she's working for him. She lets them know it's because of Nell, but is it just that?

HIP CHECK opens just before the hockey season begins and continues throughout the course of the season as the relationships between Esa, Michelle and Nell develop. Nell is desperate for a family again and latches onto Michelle, with Uncle Esa playing the father role. While Esa and Michelle don't want to disillusion her, it soon becomes moot when their attraction turns into something more. The fun of HIP CHECK is reading the sizzling scenes between Esa and Michelle as they fight the sexual lust they've found themselves in. Nell is an adorable little girl, and readers won't have a problem wanting her dream of a family to come true.

Whether you're a fan of sports romances or not, HIP CHECK is an entertaining tale of bad boy vs. good girl with a child thrown in. Esa feels like a fish out of water, while Michelle feels as if she's swimming up the wrong river. Their tale is pure fun as they slowly and surely fall in love after much trial and error. Give HIP CHECK a place on the top of the list when you next visit your favorite bookstore.

Patti Fischer