A Lie for a Lie
by Helena Hunting
Published by Montlake Romance
Book 1 in the All In series
Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain.
I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.
Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a monthlong sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.
A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.
A Lie for a Lie is the first book in Helena Hunting's All In series, which is a spin-off from her Pucked series. This book centers on Rook, now Captain of the Chicago team several years after the Pucked series, and Lainey, a marine mating specialist. Rook, needing a break from his career, and everything it comes with, looks forward to his father/sons fishing trip to their Alaskan cabin every year. But this year is different. It's the first year he will be alone, after his fathers passing, and his brother and sister-in-law expecting their first baby. He didn't expect to have a beautiful, intelligent woman fall on his lap, let alone a woman who doesn't know who he is. And it just so happens she is renting a cabin not too far from him. What starts off as a friendship, turns into a month fill with sex and domestic bliss. Before either of them can broach the subject of a real relationship, Rook is called away on a family emergency. Not exchanging contact information, keeps them apart. A year later, a chance meeting leads to them discovering truths hidden. Can they get past the lies and secrets?
I loved this book! I was worried we were going to get something too close to Pucked. And hey - I enjoyed Pucked - but I didn't love it so much that I wanted to reread it. I do like that we some glimpses of the original characters, and Rook himself felt familiar, as he was introduced in Lance's book. But familiar characters didn't equal familiar plot, for which I am thrilled. Rook, while omitting the truth about his actual career, turned out to be a sweetie. After the glimpse we get with him and his puck bunny phase in Pucked, I'm glad we get to see this whole new side of him. And I loved Lainey. Intellectual, and quirky, but not ridiculous. The book as a whole is well-written. Great chemistry, great sex, solid story arc : my only complaint is its predictability. I knew where this story was going the moment ------spoiler-----------> they have unprotected sex <-----------------.
A Lie for a Lie was a fun, entertaining read. Helena Hunting can write great romance, and if the other books in this series are like this one, I suspect I will like the All In series more than Pucked.
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Lainey: “Thank you. So much. Choking to death on an attractive man’s lap really isn’t the way I wanted to go.”
She squeezes her eyes shut and pushes to a stand.
Lainey: “I’m so sorry.” Lainey: "I love learning new things, and I keep getting full scholarships, so here I am. I have a master’s in sex therapy and another one in geology. This one is going to be in marine biology. Specifically, ocean mammals. I thought it would be interesting to study the mating patterns of dolphins versus whales.”
Rook: “How do those go together?”
Lainey: “They don’t, really. I just have a lot of different interests. For instance, did you know dolphins mate not just for reproduction but also pleasure, like humans?”
Rook: “Huh. I didn’t know that.”
But now I’m thinking about sex and how I haven’t had it in a long time.
Lainey: “Oh yes, they’re very sexually active. And some people think they mate for life, like lobsters, but they don’t. They take several partners. Just like some humans do too, although in Western society we’re sociologically conditioned to choose one mate and stick with them, unlike dolphins. They just like to get it on because it’s fun.”
She bites the tip of her finger.
Lainey: “I’m sorry, I get carried away. I’ve been doing a lot of reading in preparation for this trip, and my brain is full of so many facts, sometimes they just come out of my mouth. I can stop talking if you’d like.” Rook: “Hey.”
I slip my arm along the back of the seat again.
Rook: “You’re safe. Human teddy bear right here for safety cuddles.” His smile widens.
Rook: “You’re the best thing in the world, you know that?”
A warm feeling spreads through my entire body. No one has ever paid me such a nice compliment before. There are a lot of amazing things in the world, and that he thinks I’m the best is, well . . . surprising. So of course I blurt out my own self-assessment.
Lainey: “I’m awkward and nervous.”
Rook: “Well, I like it. A lot.”
After a few seconds of intense silence, he motions to the couch.
Rook: “Sit with me for a bit? We can be awkward and nervous together.” Rook: “Well, I’m a big fan of all your flaws, and I think they make you more beautiful, not less.”
Once I’m in my room, I rearrange my hard-on into a more comfortable position and give it a pat.
Rook: “Patience, little man. This one will be worth the wait.”
I roll my eyes at myself, feeling like an idiot for talking to my dick. RJ turns his attention back to me, lifting me onto the counter.
Rook: “God, I love your mouth.”
Lainey: “Every time you kiss me, I feel like I’ve just consumed a gallon of coffee spiked with alcohol,”
Rook: “Is that a good or a bad thing?”
He drags his lips along the column of my throat.
Lainey: “It’s good. I think.”
I tip my head to the side.
Lainey: “Although both are highly addictive. Do you think people can get addicted to kissing? I suppose it’s possible, since people can be addicted to sex. I guess you can be addicted to anything, really.”
Crap, I’m babbling. RJ chuckles and nibbles along the edge of my jaw.
Rook: “I’m definitely developing an addiction to you.” Rook: “I’ll make you a deal.”
Lainey: “What kind of deal?”
Rook: “I’ll let you ride me however you want if you give it a try.”
Lainey: “How would that be different than any other day?”
He taps his lip thoughtfully.
Rook: “Hmm, you have a point. You’re pretty demanding when you’re naked.”
Lainey: “I’m trying to be helpful! I don’t see the point in being a passive recipient. Unless you’d prefer I keep you guessing as to what I like and what I don’t.”
RJ drags his tongue along his bottom lip.
Rook: “I fucking love how expressive you are.” Everything seems to be going smoothly until a dark-haired little boy tugs on my arm.
Boy: “Is that the daddy dolphin?”
I look over my shoulder just in time to see what has his attention.
Lainey: “Oh my goodness.”
I spread my arms and try to block the children’s view, but it’s futile. The dolphins have decided that right now, during this very expensive birthday party, is an excellent time to mate. They couldn’t wait for the aquarium to be empty. Oh no, they have to get their stupid hump on right here.
Boy: “It’s like a big pink lightsaber!”
the dark-haired boy says gleefully to the redheaded little boy beside him. Robbie: “Mommy! Look! That’s like Daddy’s peepee!”
the dark-haired boy yells. A petite woman with long auburn hair and huge boobs, who also appears to be significantly pregnant, drags her attention away from the giant of a man whose arm is draped protectively over her shoulder to address her son.
Violet: “Honey, we don’t broadcast that.”
Robbie: “But it’s true!”
he protests, little arms flailing.
Violet: “I know, sweetie, but we don’t want to make the other mommies jealous.”
I can’t believe this is an actual conversation, happening right now, in public. I’d like to believe this mother is joking, but considering the statements are coming from a child and they’re generally not adept at lying, I have to believe that what he’s saying is true. I inappropriately wonder how that even works with a woman her size. And then, of course, because my brain is a messy place these days, I think about RJ and how . . . ample he was and how I’m close to the same size as that woman. I cut off that line of thinking right away, because it’s unhelpful and embarrassing. Heedless of his mother’s warning, the little boy plasters himself against the glass, fascinated by what he’s seeing, and yells,
Robbie: “Daddy! The dolphin has a big peepee just like you! Mine is gonna be just like that!”
Alex: “Robbie, buddy, we don’t talk about that in public,”
the handsome man says, his eyes glued to his wife, or, more specifically, her cleavage. Robbie’s mother finally registers what’s happening in the dolphin tank, and her eyes go wide.
Violet: “Holy hell, that thing is freaking huge.”
She elbows her husband in the side.
Violet: “Maybe you’re part dolphin.”
Her husband drags his attention away from her chest and follows her gaze to the spectacle behind me, eyes popping.
Alex: “Wow. No wonder his girlfriend is trying to get away.”
All hell breaks loose as a little blond boy starts crying.
Logan: “Mommy! The boy dolphin is trying to stab that girl dolphin!”
His equally blonde mother tucks him into her side and pats his head reassuringly.
Summer: “He’s not trying to stab her, honey, he’s trying to love her.”
I really hope no one asks me to explain dolphin mating rituals, because I think I will likely burst into flames. Stevie narrows her eyes.
Stevie: “Why? What did you do?”
Rook: “Why do you automatically think it’s something I did?”
Stevie: “Because you’re a guy, and you’ve never incubated a human life inside your body.”
Rook: “Neither have you.”
Stevie: “Yeah, but I have the ability to, unlike you with your silly dangly parts. She tastes the same, feels the same—but better. She feels like mine and home and love. Violet: “She’ll be fine, Rookie—this is a bunny-free zone today, so we won’t have to teach her how to take down a puck slu—”
One of the other women slaps her arm—I’m pretty sure her name is Charlene.
Charlene: “Vi, censor.”
Violet: “Right. Sorry. She’s in good hands.”