Hot Shot by Kelly Jamieson
I am usually so here for Kelly Jamieson’s books that I was shocked that I could never really connect with this one. The couple is so opposites-attract that the old Paula Abdul song kept running through my head the whole damn time. Marco is stoic and moody, Carrie is an artistic free spirit who kind of goes wherever the wind takes her. I buy their sexual chemistry completely, but building a happily-ever-after, or even a happily-for-now? Skeptical.
Marco, for what it’s worth, comes to his stoic and moody self quite honestly. His parents were deported back to Mexico when he was fourteen and that’s a wound that has never healed. He feels abandoned and betrayed, but has transferred that feeling onto every one he could potentially have a relationship with. In reading stories about children of deportees, especially ones who stay in the U.S. when their parents are sent to wherever, this is a common issue. I appreciated that Jamieson explored that, but never made Marco feel like a token.
I’ve seen some folks describe this book as friends-to-lovers, which is not accurate. They’re introduced through friends - they meet planning an engagement party for their respective best friends. Initially, there’s quite the frosty emotional vibe. Immediate attraction, yes, but distrust. As I explored above, Marco moves through life skeptical of all people at all times. Some of Carrie’s initial choices and attitudes only justify Marco’s skepticism.
Carrie’s a character that often reads as selfish and unsympathetic, and I can see some readers taking a while to warm to her. Romancelandia tends to have oodles of sympathy for damaged heroes and is much harder on heroines and I can see that happening in other reviews of this book. I fought it myself, to be honest! Jamieson builds immediate empathy for Marco, so he was the character I was immediately rooting for. I wanted Carrie to be worthy of his pain, and not just his penis.
Overall, as I said at the top, something just didn’t click together for me on this one. It will absolutely not deter me from reading Jamieson in the future - her hockey romances are some of the best out there at the moment - and I admit to being disappointed in this one. Different feelings? Let me know below!