Derek “The Instigator” Flaherty loves playing hockey and enjoys his current team, the Redtails. His dream is to play in the NHL, so he works hard and is well respected. And his teammates all love him, even though they don’t necessarily see the real guy behind the laughs and good times. But that’s okay, Derek prefers to keep things casual, never allowing relationships to mess with his head or run his life.
As the baby of her family, Sophie is the good girl who does what’s asked of her. She keeps her dreams of traveling abroad to herself, rather than seeing any kind of disappointment or hurt in her family’s eyes. Working to finish her degree and putting in all sorts of hours at her dad’s bar, Sophie doesn’t have time for guys or a social life. However, when she meets Derek, she feels something stir inside of her and thinks maybe a little fun isn’t bad.
Although this is the fourth book in the Redtails Hockey series, The Instigator is a standalone romance that can be enjoyed without previous knowledge of the series. Derek and Sophie hit it off right from the start, and I love their chemistry. They are almost always in sync - whether in the bedroom or not. They are the kind of couple who clicks and can have lengthy conversations like two old friends. They also have other “lengthy” activities, and their romantic encounters are pretty smokin’.
The story moves fairly smoothly, filled with genuine emotions and conflict. I appreciate that their issues are common and real, and that they move past them together. Both Sophie and Derek each has some growing to do, and they start by admitting to themselves how they really feel. There are a few of hiccups along the way, including a couple of minor inconsistencies that took me out of the story. I also felt like some issues were brought up but not fleshed out enough - like why everyone kind of dumps on Derek being not good boyfriend material and Derek’s ex-girl friend, which is hinted as being a bad breakup. I kept expecting more details to fill in why maybe Derek is the way he is.
All in all, I enjoyed The Instigator, and really love Derek and Sophie as a couple. They are genuine and adorable. They are scared, but move forward. They learn to communicate. The Instigator is a nice paced, happy story.
My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot
Review copy provided by author
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About