RELEASE by Brenda Rothert – Jenn’s Review



LOVE Brenda’s Fire On Ice series!


5 stars


NHL player Orion Caldwell protects his own. He’s an enforcer to his core, but he was the one left defenseless when his longtime girlfriend broke his heart. Now he’s all about his game, but spending the offseason in his hometown forces him to confront painful issues –both old and new.

Samara Cross just wants to be invisible. After living a nightmare, she came back to her hometown seeking solace. But her quiet new life is upturned by the hot, charismatic hockey player who’s taken a sudden interest in her.

Orion and Samara find something unexpected in each other, but when the hockey offseason ends, so does their time together. They struggle with their separation, confronted by ghosts of the past and an uncertain future, discovering that sometimes the only way to hold on to something precious is to let go.

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Release is the fifth book in Brenda’s Fire on Ice series and can be read as a complete standalone. Our hero, Orion, only makes a brief appearance in the other books and is not a major player.

Going into this book, not knowing much at all about Orion was refreshing. He was a blank slate. It didn’t take too long to figure out that Orion was one of the good guys. He didn’t sleep around, or keep a girl in each state he traveled to, or act like an arrogant jerk. I like my drama in books, but if more guys were like Orion, I might never come up for air.

We meet Orion when he is heading home for the off season. His sister, who has two kids, was just abandoned by her husband and could really use the extra hands. Orion hasn’t been home since breaking up with his long-time, hometown girlfriend, Amy. He is completely over her, but doesn’t really feel like dealing with her drama. He’s there to take care of his family and relax. What he doesn’t count on is Samara. Samara and Orion went to high school together. He was the hockey stud and she was the loner. They weren’t friends, but you start to see that Orion was the nice guy. He didn’t shun anyone…and he remembers Samara, but  is surprised by how beautiful she is.

Samara is just trying to keep her head down and do her job. She came home after a relationship went terribly wrong and just wants to be left alone. The last thing she wants is to have a conversation with the arrogant, hockey stud. She has no idea he’s about to rock her world.

I didn’t think Brenda could do better than Ryke, but she knocked it out of the park with Orion. He is loyal to his family and drops everything to be what they need. He has values and morals. He is not just searching for a fling, but a lasting relationship. He wants someone to spend his life with. His job on the ice is an enforcer. He protects his teammates and it shows in his everyday life. Orion just wants Samara to feel safe with him. No matter how many times she tries to push him away, Orion is persistent. Giving up is not an option for him.

Orion treats Samara like a princess and I just really enjoyed watching the slow build of their relationship. Samara had a difficult childhood and Orion shows her how she should be cared for. Even with her not-so-happy life, Samara is not weak or sheltered. She is strong and independent. She refuses to rely on someone else for happiness or comfort, but having Orion there just gives her more confidence to be the person she always was. Release deals with some difficult situations and Brenda handles them perfectly. It could have been too sappy, or delivered too much of a message, but that was not the case here.

Orion and Samara’s story was the perfect wrap up to Fire on Ice, and I am happy for the hot, hockey players to continue in her next series!

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