LACES AND LACE by Toni Aleo – Jenn’s Review



HUGE fan of the Assassins series!


4 stars


Nine years ago, things were perfect. Lacey and Karson had found their happily ever after in each other…or so they thought. How do two people who were meant to be move on from that once-in-a-lifetime love?

Lacey has a strength inside her that comes alive with the things she’s most passionate about. She’s a fighter, a survivor, and has everything she’s ever wanted but the one thing that matters most—love.

Karson is doing the one thing he loves most—playing hockey for the Assassins, yet he knows regret. He knows his life has been missing the one thing he walked away from so many years ago—Lacey.

Nine years later, and neither has been able to succeed in moving on from what was, what could have been, and who each of their hearts still beats for. When a chance encounter during a fateful night has their paths crossing again, will the tether still attaching their souls allow them to face the past, present, and a possible future?

Can two people with fate on their side find a way back to each other? Overcome all the obstacles in their way to finally live life together to the fullest?

Or will they let those around them and the circumstances they face, along with questions and doubt, ruin a second chance at the life they both deserve?

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*Proceed with caution… Review will contain spoilers for those who have not read Tangled in the Laces*

It’s no secret that I have been a fan of Toni Aleo from the start. I have read each book in the Assassins series numerous times and find myself comparing other books to hers. After reading Laces and Lace, I can tell you with absolute certainty, that Toni Aleo is a superhero. With Laces and Lace, she knocks it out of the park. Karson and Lacey’s story spans nine years and those nine years are filled with triumphs, joys and utter love and devotion as well as lies, deceit and complete heartbreak.

“I think I’d treasure you. I think it would surprise you how much I do want you.”

We first meet Karson and Lacey as college students. As the star player on his college hockey team, playing alongside his best friend, Grady, Karson knew that the next step was the NHL and he was ready for it; until the day he spotted Lacey in the stands at a practice. Needing to know who she was and why he was drawn to her, Karson seeks her out and does everything he can to make her his. Lacey, turns out to be Grady’s sister and Grady wants his baby sister to have nothing to do with Karson King. Knowing that Lacey is his forever, he makes play after play for her until she finally says yes!

From the moment their relationship begins, they each know that they are each other’s future. Lacey fully intends to follow Karson to whatever NHL team drafts him, changing schools if need be. Lacey’s father, who is, coincidently, Karson’s coach, will be damned if Karson takes his baby girl away and does the unthinkable to break them up. Lacey’s father is a disgusting, despicable human being. I don’t think I have hated another character in a book more than him. Lacey’s “best friend” and sister-in-law, Rachel, is a VERY close second. This is where I found Toni’s writing to be exceptional. As horrendous as Nate Martin was, Toni had to make Lacey believe in her father and stick by his side, no matter the insurmountable evidence that he was a douche bag.  She did just that.

By sheer happenstance, nine years later Karson and Lacey meet again and DAMN! Talk about fireworks! They are so hot for each other, they burn up the sheets. This is clearly an ask questions later scenario. Karson and Lacey definitely have one hell of a reunion.

“But this was fate. He always said too, when he saw her again that he wouldn’t think, he would just do. So he did just that. Taking her face in his hands, he pressed his lips to hers and almost cried at how right it felt.”

The road they are about to travel down is not going to be easy. Lacey doesn’t know why Karson left her all those years ago. Self esteem has never been one of her better qualities and when Karson left her, she believed it was because he was disgusted by her physical appearance. She has struggled with it over the years, used the power behind it to make other women feel better about themselves, but Lacey still holds the belief that she just wasn’t good enough for Karson.

Oh Karson. Seriously swoon-worthy Karson. It’s no secret why Lacey loves him. He is completely devoted to her and her happiness. He would move mountains for her. He wants nothing more than for Lacey to see how strong and powerful she is on her own, without her sick and twisted family getting in the way. Toni writes tough, determined, driven men who know what they want and seek it out. Once they grab hold of it, they never want to let it go. That was Karson for Lacey. Throughout everything he is put through, Karson’s love for Lacey never wavers.

When you love someone you lift them up, you support them, not try to wreck them.”

Lacey is a different story. Raised by an over protective father AND brother, Lacey is brought up to think that she can’t do anything without the help of others. She lets her insecurity and fears get in the way of true happiness for herself She is led to believe that without her family supporting her, Lacey has nothing, because that is exactly what her over-bearing, prick of a father wants her to think. Lacey’s self-esteem and confidence are shot, and to be honest, it took a bit away from her character for me. I just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. She never wanted to believe when her family was conspiring behind her back. It didn’t matter what Karson did, Lacey was not gaining the confidence she should have had. Lacey was weak and it bugged me.  Karson had his work cut out for him, but damn if he never gave up.

Cancer is a major storyline in Laces and Lace; Lacey’s cancer, her mother’s cancer, the way her family deals with it and the way Karson embraces it. Regardless of Lacey’s confidence issues, she used her battle with cancer to make others feel beautiful, even if Lacey could not do that for herself.  It was, at times, difficult to read, but Toni handled it in a beautiful way.  Karson and Lacey’s love was hard fought and well deserved. They struggled for the happy moments, which made their reward of each other that much sweeter.

“There has never been anyone else but you, Lacey. You’re it.”

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