Miller “Buck” Butterson has been banging his way through life ever since a puck to the face fixed his messed up front teeth. After five years in the NHL, deflecting goals on the ice and scoring them with puck bunnies, Miller has decided he’s ready for a girlfriend. A real, non-bunny girlfriend to take on dates, and not jump into bed with after five seconds of conversation.
Miller thinks he’s found that woman in his teammate’s sister. Except, unlike team captain and all-around nice guy Alex Waters—who happens to date his stepsister, Miller’s media reputation as a manwhore is well earned. Beyond that minor detail, Miller doesn’t know the first thing about relationships or the time and effort they require.
Miller learns—eventually—that if he wants to make Sunshine “Sunny” Waters fall for him, he’s going to have to do a whole lot more than show her his stick skills in the bedroom.
I was thrilled to be asked to review Pucked Up (The Pucked Series Book 2) by Helena Hunting because I will admit…I have been addicted to her writing since I had to wait for it, one chapter at a time. Yup, now that you know my agenda right up front...it comes along with very high expectations that she will introduce me to new characters that will became as unforgettable as tattoo artist Hayden Stryker and his muse Tenley Page (Clipped Wings & Inked Armor), and junior accountant Violet Hall and professional hockey player Alex Waters, aka Monster Cock (Pucked).
In spite of my obvious and admitted bias, I definitely take giving my fellow readers a “true” perspective on a book as seriously as I take fan-girling Helena Hunting. So let’s start out by stating I loved Pucked Up because it brings to life Hunting’s usual hilarious, loveable characters that will stay with you until the wee hours of the morning and beyond.
This is the second stand-alone novel in the best-selling Pucked Series, in case you just crawled out of a sex-psycho’s cave where you have been locked up for months. The Pucked series follow the travails and emotional trauma of being a man with a heart of gold in the sport of professional hockey and the women who love them. I had no idea, until I started reading the Pucked series, how pervasive the epidemic of relationship difficulties was for professional hockey players.
Someone should start a foundation to control these puck bunnies (aka hockey hookers) and their ability to destroy the hearts and lives of professional hockey players! For those not familiar with this epidemic, stop right now, go download Pucked (I think it’s 99cents on Kindle!) AND get Pucked Up while you are at it and catch up. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.
The book centers on the relationship between hockey player Miller “Buck” Butterson (brother of Violet Hall; aforementioned junior accountant), and cautious vegan yoga teacher Sunshine Waters (the sister of Alex Waters; aforementioned hockey player). These two crazy kids are just trying to “connect” in a world of voracious puck bunnies and penis pitfalls with the odds stacked against them.
I’ll be honest…at the beginning of the book there was a momentary twinge of “Whaaaahhhh? I miss the monster Cock…” I knew this going in, but let’s face it once you go Monster Cock… However, I whipped right through all the stages of grief. Being inside Miller “Buck” Butterson’s mind in the White Knight World of Female Orgasmia, made me laugh out loud and wish I could be Buck’s adorable Sunshine for just a little while.
Buck’s mind is a heady combination of hilarity, sweetness, insightfulness, and even “too much” manly directness. Seriously, do I really need/want to know what a man’s strategy is when he manscapes? I do, if he is a tortured brother, being teased incessantly about his “Yeti-like” hair growth problems. If I hadn’t known Hunting was a woman I might have seriously considered that a man wrote this book. In my world, this is a compliment. I have slogged through many books that never really suspended my disbelief that I was reading a man’s words. Buck’s internal dialogue made me swing from “Oh my god, that is so the way a guy thinks!” to “Oh my God, do guys really think like that?”…so basically the way I think about men all the time!
Besides apparently profuse amounts of Yeti-like body hair, Buck suffers from a serious case of getting too much wanton sex from random, gorgeous strangers for the past five years in his career in the National Hockey League (NHL), so meeting Sunshine, the not-so-random gorgeous sister of the Captain of his team and his sister’s future sister-in-law, changes everything. He seriously has to consider his every move to get to this girl and not lose family and friends. This can be very trying for a man that not only needs a personal assistant to run his professional AND personal lives, but needs voice-to-text technology (and random proofreaders) to keep his dyslexia from sending garbled “drunk-like” texts out into the interwebs…I mean…isn’t autocorrect enough of a stumbling block as it is? Poor Buck.
After some careful consideration, Buck decides he must not be an “asshole.” He really wants to be with Sunshine, in a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of way…not in the puck bunny, see-you-next-season kind of way. A major conflict that Buck faces is the realization that, surrounded by lifetime friends who suffer from the same “NHL Syndrome” but don’t want to get better, may put him in harms way. Buck almost appears as an innocent victim in the hilarious yet hard-to-defend debauchery that ensues. Buck lies down with dogs, not “bunnies”…and genuinely appears shocked when he gets up with fleas.
The sex scenes are worth the wait and I appreciated the build up…no slapshots in this one for sure…instead we get slow, gliding passes back and forth to get to the goal without killing or maiming. Buck’s sexual prowess coupled with Sunshine’s innocence makes for hilarious internal and external dialogue before, during, and after the lemons. I truly loved this couple.
I truly appreciated the humorous, slick word-smithing of Hunting in this comedy-erotica. The writing was flawless and the characters were beyond loveable. I decided to give Pucked Up an A because I appreciate being made aware of a serious epidemic ruining hockey player’s lives, I love laughing in bed while my hubs sleeps next to me, and I will never forget reading the “deep” thoughts of “Buck” Butterson. Truly memorable.