Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1)
Title: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey Book 1)
Author(s): RJ Scott, VL Locey
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Page Count: 196
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Read book blurb here
FYI: "Ryker" is in the "Harrisburg Railers" series universe and runs concurrently with that series, but it easily read as a stand-alone. Although if you haven't read Harrisburg Railer's #6 "Goal Line" please be aware there ARE spoilers for that book here.
When Ryker Madsen and Jacob Benson meet at a Canadian hockey camp, sparks fly ... eventually. For Jacob, hockey is the means to an end and his dream is not playing in the NHL but rather getting his agricultural science degree at Owatonna U so he can return to the family farm in Minnesota. His hockey scholarship pays for college and he needs to improve his skills at the hockey camp to ensure his spot on the Owatonna Eagles team.
Ryker is third-generation hockey, with his grandfather and father having played in the NHL. He's already drafted by an NHL team and the camp is merely to polish his skills. Ryker is immediately impressed by the big strong Minnesota farm boy, while Jacob hates that Ryker has been given everything on a silver platter and doesn't understand the struggles other deal with. But when the roommates finally get past all their preconceptions, their slow-burn romance is all kinds of wonderful. This plot just grabs you from page one and carries you off in a great blend of young love and hockey.
I love that the book is primarily set in Minnesota and the authors lovingly describe the beauty of a Minnesota dairy farm, while showing us Jacob's character and determination in making the farm more successful. And Ryker is so beautifully drawn as well - his obvious hockey brilliance contrasting with the lessons he needs to learn in teamwork and friendship. The love story here is more YA than the Harrisburg Railers series, but just feels right as these two almost-virgins explore their relationship and each other in numerous, very very sexy ways.
The authors also do a good job of introducing other characters who will be featured in upcoming books in the series, and while "Ryker" ends in a HFN, I imagine we'll learn more about their life together as the "Owatonnna U Hockey" series progresses. 4 strong stars for "Ryker."