Boarded by Love by Toni Aleo – Jenn’s Review

boarded by love


Toni Aleo is an automatic read for me.


5 stars


Jude Sinclair here, hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies and lover of all ladies. Hockey’s in my blood, and not to sound full of myself, but I’m good at it…really good. The draft is within my reach—it’s mine to take—but that’s not the only reason people know my name. They know me because of my way with women. They know the score, and I aim to please. I just tend to stay away from repeat performances. In other words, I don’t do relationships beyond my family and friends. I’m happy with life. However, I should warn you that my story and how I see it playing out is about to change due to a certain redhead on campus.
She’s beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking.
She’s my game changer.
He’s trouble from the moment I see him. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but from the moment I meet his gaze, I’m his. It’s a scary feeling.
I’ve never trusted anyone outside my aunt and uncle—and even that took months. I didn’t have it easy growing up. My mom was usually strung out, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Drugs and the men who paid her were more important to her. It was horrible, but I’m stronger today. Because of my past, security is what I need most. Money assures me that I can take care of myself today, tomorrow, and next month. I don’t want to ever be hungry or go without again, so I work hard for every penny.
Oh, by the way, I’m Claire Anderson. I’m a hard-studying sophomore at the University of Bellevue, dancer for the school dance team, and a burlesque dancer at a club, but that’s my secret.
You may think you know how our story ends, but you have no clue. It’s not easy falling in love… or living happily ever after. At first it may seem so, but when is anything worth having ever won without a fight?
Especially when you’re boarded by love.

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Jude Sinclair (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song), on the surface, is your typical hockey stud. Destined for the NHL, he’s going to use his time at the University of Bellevue wisely… by never nailing the same girl twice. So far, he’s doing a damn good job.

Claire Anderson (Phillip’s niece from Breaking Away) is back and all grown up. During the day she is a business major, saving up to open her own dance studio. But at night? She is a choreographer and dancer at Miss Prissy’s Burlesque Club. She keeps it a secret from everyone, performs in disguise and only Reese and her best friend, Skylar know. Can’t imagine that’s going to end up working out well.

When Jude spots Claire in the quad, for the first time in his young life, he finds himself chasing a girl. Something about Claire calls to Jude and he just needs to know her and be around her. Claire, who is the perfect feisty heroine, has no use for Jude and has no problem telling him so. Jude is not about to be deterred. He is arrogant and cocky, all rolled into a handsome, charming package. He is able to keep Claire interested and with the banter between the two of them during their first meeting, you know it is going to be fun to watch their relationship unfold.

“Well, when you’re this sexy, and have an amazing knack for pleasing women, you become very confident.”

Her eyes darken as she holds my gaze. “I’m speechless.”

“Don’t worry, that happens to a lot of girls. It’s my sexiness.”

Jude has never been in a relationship or had a girlfriend and isn’t quite sure what to do, so he asks his brother and teammate, Jayden for advice. Jayden’s dry wit and sarcasm add to every scene he is in. I hope we get a book for him! Luckily for us, for a kid who isn’t sure what he’s doing, Jude sure does all the right stuff. He is sweet, loving and makes sure that Claire knows she is the only one for him. I LOVED all of their “btw” text messages. He is always taking time to show her how much she means to him. No matter how many girls continue to throw themselves at Jude, he only has eyes for one girl. One of Jude’s best qualities is his utter devotion to his family. He would do anything for his mom and siblings, (his father is a different story and very influential to the plot), even stay close to home for college so he can keep an eye on them. Jude’s confidence makes for a lot of funny scenes.  As confident and cocky as Jude was, sharing a table full of Assassins players at a wedding served to knock our hero down a few pegs and made for one of my favorite scenes in the book (tied with the epilogue… Phillip was the perfect over protective, hard headed Uncle and steals every scene he is in).

“I just got threatened by Shea Adler. That is so fucking cool.

Claire is an outstanding character. Leaving out the part where she lies to Jude and Phillip about what her real job is, she is a kick-ass heroine. Does she think Phillip is seriously hot? Of course. But, she makes him work for her. She isn’t like the other girls, throwing themselves at the hockey star. Claire isn’t interested in a one night stand. Before she came to live with Phillip, Claire had a horrendous childhood. She battled abuse and neglect, and thought its taken time, she has come out stronger, and vows to never have to rely on anyone to feel secure.

Yes, this book has instant love (lust), but unlike so many other books, it is 100% believable. I think a lot of that comes from the dual POV’s. We get up close and personal with both Claire and Jude’s thoughts. Claire is Jude’s game changer and it is simply beautiful to watch their love unfold.  There are so many romantic moments, I spent page after page lusting after Jude. Looking for a romantic declaration spelled out in hockey pucks? Look no further!

“Do people think we’re nuts? Hell, do we think we’re nuts? Yes. Do I fu*king care? No, because I love her.”

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses for Jude and Claire. Falling that hard and that fast for someone is bound to bring up a few issues, but keeping secrets is no way to start off a new relationship and Claire and Jude are going to find that out the hard way. Is their love strong enough to get past the rough times, or is just easier for them to lick their wounds and move on? You’ll have to find out, but what I can tell is that this is one of Toni Aleo’s absolute best books and her storytelling just gets better each and every time. Boarded by Love is a MUST READ!

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