Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I have fallen hard for Kendall Ryan’s Hot Jocks series. This is a series of standalones that follow various players on a professional hockey team. Each book has presented a hot hockey player and some type of romantic trope: forbidden best friend’s sister and friends-to-lovers.
With her newest book, Trying to Score, Ryan offers the story of Teddy and Sara. Teddy and Sara meet in college, spend a semester hooking up, and go their separate ways after a summer apart. Unfortunately, during their time together, they make a $ex video. Teddy tells Sara that he deleted it, but he hides it in his cloud. This, unfortunately, comes back to cause them problems. Fast forward many years, Teddy and Sara are good friends, along with their other hockey player friends. Teddy has always held a bit of a torch for Sara, but the timing and pursuit of career have always been their issue. When a hacker emails Teddy threatening him with releasing their video, Teddy seeks Sara’s guidance in stopping the release of the video. Acting as his lawyer, she tries to remedy the situation; however, she makes no progress. Instead, the PR person for Teddy’s hockey team suggests that Sara and Teddy pretend to date in case the video is released. Teddy and Sara agree to this arrangement and realize fairly quickly that long ago feelings rise to the surface. Do Sara and Teddy have a future together or will pretending to date be their only future?
This romance is a second chance at love story. Teddy and Sara have remained friends, but long-dormant feelings arise again. In fact, in this story, they come back strong. I was fairly surprised by this story. With the first two books in the series, there was quite a bit of angst and tension between the heroes and heroines. In both of those books, my heart hurt for the characters as they struggled to find their futures together. However, Teddy and Sara’s story feels innocuous in comparison. Their potential trials are their pretend relationship and its place in reality, Teddy’s possible move to another team, and Sara’s potential for making partner. Yet, these moments never seem overwhelming or sad. After the first two books of this series stealing little pieces of my heart, I didn’t feel the same connection with these two, and I’ve seen Teddy and Sara’s chemistry all along. I was hoping for more from these two.
Instead, you should know that Teddy and Sara are equal parts sweet and sensual. Their story is an easier read than the first two books of the series. I appreciated Teddy more. In earlier books, he seemed commitment-phobic, but he seems more invested in their connection initially than Sara. He’s respectful and supportive of her, and he reads much different than the prior books. I liked Teddy, and I liked Sara. I just didn’t feel as much for Trying to Score as I did for the first two books.
Kendall Ryan has this way of offering us insightful stories of romance. You typically fall hard for her heroes and heroines, and I think Teddy and Sara’s story, Trying to Score, provides more dimension to this series. I will say that it isn’t my favorite of the three, but I would definitely recommend you read it, especially if you’re a Kendall Ryan fan like me.
In love and romance,