TOP SHELF: Drinks, Dinner and Dirty Talk

Top Shelf

TOP SHELF coverBook 3 in the Aces Hockey series
Author Kelly Jamieson
Narrated by Kasha Kensington
Published By: Tantor Media
Publication date May 15, 2018
Running time 9 hrs 14 min

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Whether it’s a clutch goal or a cocktail, nothing beats “top shelf.” In this novel from the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series, a fun-loving jock and an ambitious career woman mix business with pleasure.

Not only is Jared Rupp one of the stars of the NHL’s Chicago Aces, he’s also the owner of the Sin Bin, the after-hours hot spot where the whole team hangs out. Lately, Jared can’t take his eyes off the woman he’s hired to give the Bin a more modern feel: a sexy, sophisticated consultant who has carved out a niche updating drink menus. She’s as passionate about her career as Jared is about hockey—and yet he can’t help wondering what kind of cocktail she really wants.

In her line of work, Sidney Frayne is used to guys hitting on her in bars, but Jared gets her hot enough to burst into flames. When he’s wining and dining her, he’s sophisticated as hell; on the rink, he’s a testosterone-fueled powerhouse. Still, Sidney’s bitter divorce taught her to keep her emotions on ice. With her busy schedule—and Jared’s playboy reputation—she’s not sure she’s ready for a fling. Because if she lets Jared into her bed, she just may have to let him into her heart.


My Take Oblong Shaped


This story starts off with a good plot, and complex characters.  I expect that from Kelly Jamieson in this series.  I liked the plot too, a young woman, Sidney, after a tough divorce, starts up a restaurant and bar consulting business using her marketing degree and her food and beverage service experience. She walks into the Sin Bin for a drink and ends up offering her professional opinions on the bar and restaurant.  I like the solid idea of recovering from a tough blow and coming back strong. 

I don’t like that she is set on not having a relationship because her ex-husband, who was her high school sweetheart, left her.  think this is used too often and it doesn’t match my friends’ experiences. I don’t know any woman who really wants a no strings attached sex partner. This doesn’t mean they are not out there but, it is so prevalent in the genre, you would think the odds are that I would know  at least one.

I like Jared, but only until they get into talking about and having sex.  The “dirty talk” that he uses may turn both of them on, but to me sounded like bad porn. I know it’s there for a reason as Sidney explores her sexuality, but I found it off-putting.

Jared is complex: he’s had a lot of women but recent experiences start him thinking about what he wants in life, an love.  He’s thinking ahead to when he retires from hockey.  He’s very serious about his career, and how he works as a teammate. He is an all-in kind of guy.

The relationship is allowed to develop gradually, to wear down her defenses.  But, when a past fling seems a little too intent, it threatens the shaky start. It’s an “external obstacles to the relationship” device and it works well here as it plays into her lack of trust in men.

But, I just don’t buy a compete lack of trust in all me because of one bad apple.

Kasha does a good job with the narration.  Her voice is pleasant and she doesn’t over act.

Ultimately, the sex talk made this my least favorite in the series. Hey, I am no prude, but it just didn’t work for me.

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