Breaking Away by Toni Aleo — Jenn’s Review

breaking away

WHY I READ IT

Toni Aleo is a favorite author of mine.

WHAT I RATED IT

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

To Nashville Assassins’ leading scoring center Phillip Anderson, playing hockey has always been easy… as natural as breathing. His life is no different. That’s until his world is turned upside down by the death of his sister. While mourning his loss, Phillip has to find a way to make his very angry sixteen-year-old niece, Claire, happy. Now, as her guardian, he discovers the only thing that seems to heal her lonely heart is dance class. But what he didn’t count on was the attraction he’d feel towards her drop-dead sexy dance teacher.

For Reese Allen, dancing has always been part of her soul. After having her heart broken in New York, she comes home with the determination to make her dance studio one of the best in Tennessee and succeeds. When she sees Claire dance for the first time, she knows the girl is bound for greatness and takes the troubled teen under her wing. Using dance as therapy, she suddenly finds herself bound to the young woman… and her hot-as-sin uncle.

However, Phillip and Reese are happy in their single lives. It’s simple. They do what they want, who they want, and how they want, but from the moment they meet, the attraction is undeniable. Soon, they are more than willing to spend just one night tangled in the sheets. But, one night turns into two, and two turns into three, until they find themselves in a repeated dance of “One Last Time” that has the potential to be something more… if only Reese and Claire allow it.

Can Phillip find a way to thaw the hearts of both the women in his life, or will he be forever trying to break them away from their pasts?

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JENN’S REVIEW

The fifth book in Toni Aleo’s captivating and enchanting series full of hot hockey players did not disappoint! In Breaking Away, Aleo gives us characters we have already met in the series; Phillip Anderson, the Assassins leading scorer and Erik’s best friend and Reese Allen, Harper and Piper’s sister, and a generally unliked character during the series. Phillip has just gained custody of his 16 year old niece, Claire,  whom has spent her entire life feeling unwanted and unloved, therefore does everything she can to push Philip away. Reese was an accomplished dancer and rising star in New York City, but moves back to Nashville after having her heart shattered.  Neither one of them has the time nor inclination for a relationship… so what two better people to get together.

From the start, it is clear that their sexual chemistry is off the charts HOT! It was only supposed to be one night, but they find they can’t stay away from each other. As long as they can agree that it is sex only, with no feelings involved, they can continue their friends-with-benefits relationship. Reese has no desire to fall in love again, and Phillip has a niece to raise. We all know how well that’s going to turn out.

Phillip and Reese’s road to happiness is a long and bumpy one. One minute everything is peachy, the next, doors are slamming. As much as they try to push the other away, they feel the pull, driving them back together. There are more than a few obstacles in their way, and their story is not without heartache.  I enjoyed the slow burn of their courtship. Reese and Phillip found they had much in common and a terrific friendship, and they spent time building on that.

Breaking Away is a standalone, but I think it was more enjoyable knowing the backstory of each other characters. I laughed out loud each time Phillip and Erik referenced Piper destroying Erik’s entertainment center with a hockey stick (I’m even laughing as I type this… that might be one of my all-time favorite scenes in a book!) Each time all of the Assassins family is together in a scene, it makes the scene that much better. I loved the Housewarming party that Piper and Erik held, also known as Reese and Phillip’s coming out party.  The banter between the characters was so well written; you are laughing along with them as if you are there.  My only reason for taking away ½ of a star is that I felt the sex scenes, while scorching, were too numerous. I found myself skimming them towards the end, so I could devour the relationship aspect of the story. Don’t let that detour you. This book was incredible from start to finish. Toni Aleo does not disappoint. Her storytelling is magnificent and you are drawn into her world from the very start!

 

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