It’s the summer of Helena Hunting! Her latest novel, The Good Luck Charm, combines hockey and second-chance romance to make a fabulous read!
Helena Hunting is on an EPIC roll this summer. In just the last few months, HH has given us I Flipping Love You, the audiobook for PUCKED Love, and now (what is hopefully the first in a new series) The Good Luck Charm, published by Forever Romance! You know that no one does sports/hockey romance like Helena, and The Good Luck Charm is a darling and emotional addition to the genre.
We meet Lilah as she’s having a really bad day–she’s just been served divorce papers from her ex-husband, and to top it all, her ex-boyfriend and first love, Ethan Kase, is back in town. Eight years ago, Ethan breaks up with Lilah (over the phone) when he is drafted into the National Hockey League and moves to LA. She’s totally blindsided–Lilah and Ethan grew up together and planned to both move away to whatever team recruited him. After Ethan pulls the rug out from under Lilah, she has done her best to put her life back together. Yes her marriage fell apart… yes, it probably has something to do with the walls around her heart (constructed in the aftermath of Ethan); but Lilah has also finished college, is working as a nurse at the local hospital, and is in the process of applying to a Masters program.
So, Lilah is surprised to walk in to check on a patient and find Ethan there as well.
As for Ethan, after moving from LA to Chicago, he’s now back in Minnesota to play for their NHL team. He’s never stopped loving Lilah. Ethan knows he broke her heart, but there’s actually an explanation behind what happened all those years ago. One thing both Ethan and Lilah know is that the chemistry between them is just as hot as ever. But understandably, Lilah is reticent–what happens if Ethan gets traded and breaks her heart again? What if Ethan (who like many athletes is really into superstitions) only sees Lilah as a good luck charm to help his career…?
I love how the book launches us right into the drama. By the end of the first chapter, Lilah and Ethan have had their confrontation and the stakes have been laid out.
I think Lilah is extremely relatable. She’s hardworking, friendly, and so giving. Lilah thrives on being needed, likely a symptom from feeling abandoned by her parents and older siblings in her youth. But Ethan has always been able to nurture Lilah and make her feel loved. And when Ethan loves Lilah… have mercy it is HOT. I can’t lie to you, this is some of the sexiest writing I’ve ever read from Helena Hunting:
His warm breath washes over my lips, and he stills as the end of his nose brushes against mine. “Can I kiss you?”
The words barely carry. I tip my chin up in response, and then his mouth is on mine, softly, sweetly—at least at first. I taste penance in his gentleness. I feel his regret in the tender way his palm curves along my jaw, and I sense his need for forgiveness in the tentative stroke of his tongue. As I absorb all of his emotions, I let them tangle and swirl with my own, until need and desire overthrow years of unmanaged anguish.
Ethan’s hand skims my side, grazing the swell of my breast before dropping lower to rest on my hip. It’s been years since I’ve felt this kind of rush, the heat of desire detonating, sending a backdraft of want crashing into me. Ethan must sense it, feel it in the same way I do, because we’re suddenly both scrambling and frenzied. He drags me into his lap, positioning my legs on either side of his hips, hands roaming, skimming the spot on my ribs that always makes me jerk and giggle. He bites my lip through a smile that fades as soon as I settle over his straining erection. We both groan and he cups my ass, pulling me tight against him. Fire rockets through my veins as I roll my hips, lust quickly spiraling out of control.
“Fucking Christ, Lilah.”
She laughs and then gasps as I move in closer, edging one knee against her inner thigh so I can free a hand. Turning it palm up, I ease a single finger in alongside hers, following the slow steady pump, curling my finger against hers so we can apply more pressure to that place inside that makes her gasp and arch.
“I want you to come like this, with both of us finger fucking you, and then I’m going to make you come with my mouth before I get inside you again.”
Lilah moans and her next finger curl is fast and hard. “God, I missed your dirty mouth.”
She withdraws her fingers, making room for more of mine while she circles her clit. Her movements grow less fluid and more aggressive as the edge of bliss closes in. Her elbow gives out and her back bows, her high-pitched moan the most delicious sound. She’s barely over the crest of the orgasm as I adjust my position, stretching out on the bed, shouldering my way between her thighs. I brush her fingers away and latch on to her still-throbbing clit, sucking hard.
Helena Hunting, we’re not worthy!!!
The nice thing is that The Good Luck Charm also features strong family relationships. Even in Ethan’s absence, Lilah has a strong relationship with the Kase family. She also has a great relationship with her older sister, Carmen, the only member of her family still in town. Carmen is really integral to helping Lilah get past her hesitations and open up to Ethan again.
It’s also interesting to see the evolution of Ethan’s relationship with his father… they were very much at odds in Ethan’s youth, and even now, things are tense. Yet, with Lilah’s help, Ethan and his dad are able to bridge those gaps, too.
We get a huge surprise when, in passing, Ethan mentions a connection to some of Helena’s other beloved characters, linking The Good Luck Charm to a broader universe.
Towards the end of the book (at about 80%), Helena introduces a twist that completely blindsides me. I understand that the development helps to open up this world and provide opportunities to potentially explore the stories of Lilah’s and Ethan’s family/friends. It also provides some insight into Lilah’s abandonment issues. With that said, the twist felt random and a little contrived upon first reading.
With that said, I highly recommend The Good Luck Charm to fans of contemporary romance, sports romance, and second-chance love stories. Grab your copy today!
*Many thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy.