Shut Out
by Kelly Jamieson
Bayard #1

Let’s hold in there a moment and appreciate this beautiful cover.

OK. Gotta love sports romances with yummay jocks. This is a New Adult novel and Kelly Jamieson is a new-to-me author.

A little trigger warning here too (highlight to see): rape

This was extremely hard for me to rate and it is equally hard to review since I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say this though: the writer of this story lets us know that there are secrets right at the beginning but she keeps us in the dark about the extent of them up until the 70% mark, which sometimes works. However, in this case I thought it was unnecessary and it actually irked me a little bit.

Jacob is a hot jock. He got kicked out of his hockey team at school which crashes all his hopes to be drafted as a player for the NHL. The author only hints at the reason so the reader can only assume what happened. His old coach shows him a silver lining when he suggests to transfer to Bayard College. All new students and transfers have to go through a rape awareness program – Jacob isn’t happy about it but he goes with the flow.

Skylar is a student there and a facilitator of the program. When they meet at a house party the chemistry between them is instant and sizzling. But Jacob can’t afford distraction so he is hot one moment and cools off the next. Skylar doesn’t understand it and they are off on a rocky start. As  Jacob’s respect for Skylar grows they find common footing. One day he has a wonderful idea. Why not ask Skylar to play the fake girlfriend, you know, to keep the puck bunnies at bay. Skylar agrees on her own conditions.

What I really liked about this story was how the author approached a heavy subject with sensitivity. She didn’t beat around the bush but whenever it was brought up it was in a manner to be educating.

Jacob is a lovely hero – he is loyal, quite grown up for his young age and responsible. He is straight forward and has a bit of a temper. It is sweet to watch him grow to care for Skylar. Except for a small TSTL he was delicious and sweet.

Skylar is a nice girl but she fell a little flat for me. I liked her well enough but she didn’t wow me. And her TSTL moment was huge – it’s seldom that I get really angry with a character but she made me furious when Jacob’s secret is revealed to her and she refuses to hear his side of the story – there is no excuse for that since she knew Jacob, she knew by the way of how he treated her that he would NEVER ever do what he was accused of.

The dialogues sound clumsy at times and especially during the smexy times they feel more like people with years of experience. They didn’t seem authentic to me. The story itself was really good – the execution a little bit lackluster. Will I read the next book in the series? Definitely, this story has me intrigued enough to want to know more about the Bayard College boys!

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