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Publisher's Summary

Dump my cheating ex? Check. Land an amazing job with Boston’s professional hockey franchise? Check. Fall stupidly in love with hockey’s favorite bad boy? Ugh.

After wasting years of my life with the wrong person, I told myself all I wanted was a little no-strings fun. Enter Alex Braun - a wealthy, handsome, notorious playboy who’s equal parts charming and dangerous as hell to my wounded heart. After enduring a very public breakup of his own, the sexy player doesn’t want to be anyone’s forever. Too bad he barreled his way into my heart, instead of just my bed. 

But this professional athlete knows a thing or two about competing, and he won’t let go so easily.

©2021 Kendall Ryan (P)2021 Kendall Ryan

What listeners say about The Rival

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Inbetween

I used to love Kendall Ryan's books and I still do. I have found lately that they are lacking in depth a little. Personally I think it's more of a personal preference but I still enjoy listening to her books. They are always great with a romance chase and you internally squeal when they finally get together every time.

I recommend this book for a light read, it's not heavy but still has the romance we all love. It's great for when you want to escape reality.

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Great follow up from “The Rebel “

The story was lovely. Jacob should read all the lines that the male characters speak. Vanessa has a beautiful voice but I struggle to enjoy her male voice adaptation. Please start doing narratives with male reading male lines and female reading female lines. Thank you

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Awesome 💜💕

I love this series and I definitely love these hockey 🏒 players. Who wouldn’t want more . These two characters are gorgeous together. They may have taken a bit longer to figure it out but thank the hockey 🏒 gods they do . Perfect 💕💜🏒💜💕

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  • Samantha
  • 12-05-2021

Hockey Player Heaven

Dang Kendall Ryan sure knows how to write a hockey romance! Loved Alex and Aspen together and Jacob and Vanessa did perfect narration to bring them to life!! So sweet with some great steamy parts. Perfection!! ❤️‍🔥

5 people found this helpful

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  • B. Roscoe
  • 02-06-2021

Alex & Aspen’s Sweet Summertime Romance!

Alex & Aspen’s Sweet Romance Is About Two People Nursing Broken Hearts & Unexpectedly Finding Love With One Another.


This is book two of the Looking to Score series. It is a standalone. Book one, The Rebel, is Holt Rossi and Eden Wynn’s story.

FROM THE REBEL, BOOK ONE:

This story opens as the hockey season is about to begin.

Eden Wynn, roughly twenty-seven, is from Massachusetts royalty. Her grandfather – Grandpa Pete – had been owner of the Boston Titans since she was small, and her father had been governor while she was in high school. Her family was connected. But not everything is perfect behind the scenes of the elite, and to her horror the entire world knew some of her family’s baggage when her father was caught in a compromising position while still in office. That scandal only brought more pressure to bear on her shoulders. She would need to prove herself, and she was determined to make that happen. she knew she needed to challenge herself to step out of her comfort zone. She needed to be a little reckless, a little less boring. And she didn’t hesitate to do things once she made up her mind. Her family mantra: Wynn at all costs.

Alex Braun was on a hockey scholarship, and rumor had it he would be signing with the NHL and skipping his senior year at Sutton. He was going to be a star. When a dare at a party led to a kiss, Eden set her sights on him. He would be her reckless fun. Certainly he was rumored to have the coeds at his beck and call, but all she wanted was some fun. Some other ideas slipped into her consciousness, too – like the idea that together they would make a great power couple.

Holt Rossi might not play hockey, but he is a bear of a man. He and Eden had taken some classes together during freshman and sophomore year, before he declared his major in criminal justice. They had even worked on a project together. He couldn’t help but fall a little for her, though he knew she was out of his league. Abandoned at a young age by his father and raised by his drunk mother, he never had much of a childhood. His older brother landed in prison, and Holt decided as a teen he needed to escape that life. His academic scholarship to Sutton University was too good to be true, just like the notion that someone like Eden might choose someone like him. When they somehow crossed paths at a party during junior year, he knew she was interested in meeting Braun there. He couldn’t believe she ended up in his bedroom with him instead. That she talked and opened up, and he did the same. And then what followed….

Eden had chosen one man. Six years later, Eden is once again with both men before her, wondering if she made the wrong decision. Wondering where she might be now if she had chosen differently. Even Alex was surprised when he put his playing days behind to have a relationship with Eden. They spent five years together, with her following his career. But eventually the novelty wore off and Alex withdrew. With rumors of cheating in the tabloids, who eagerly gobbled up stories about the couple, it was hard to know what to believe. When their relationship blew up six months ago, Eden was thankful that she had begun spending her spare time with her Grandpa Pete for the last three years. He had begun to groom her to take over running the Titans herself one day, so she was able to throw herself into her career when Alex left.

But her grandfather’s sudden death put everything in question. A battle ensued, but Eden finally won the right to keep the team. If only the public had supported her victory it would have been a real celebration. As it is, she is hated by the fans, not respected by the team, and the target of much mean-spirited speculation in the tabloids. As a woman and the youngest owner in the league, the consensus is that she should sell the team. Nobody believes the team will be successful under her leadership. And to make matters worse, during her legal battle, Alex got traded to the Titans. She is now his boss.

IN THIS BOOK:

This book opens during the off-season the next summer.

Alex Braun, roughly twenty-eight, has learned a few things since his very public breakup with Eden Wynn just over a year ago. He had enjoyed being a bachelor once again, and the puck bunnies were appreciative of his new status, too. But much of the last year hadn’t gone as expected. With his trade to the Boston Titans, there were high expectations for his career, but the starting center didn’t live up to the hype. Some fans suggested he was too interested in hookups to give the game his full attention .He also had a rocky welcome to the team. It took a little bit of time for the players to embrace him, but that paled in comparison to his relationship with the Titans owner – his ex-girlfriend. She took over ownership following her grandfather’s death, and working for the woman he walked out on months earlier was more than awkward. But watching her fall in love with Holt Rossi was even more uncomfortable. It was a long season, but he finally learned a few things about himself. He is tired of the endless hookups, and his sister may be right about him pushing people away. It might have taken him a while, but Alex finally seems to be ready to grow up. The problem is that all the trouble he had gotten into over the last year, thanks to his impulsive behavior, is catching up with him now. His career is on the line, and a lot hinges on his reputation. He has been warned to keep a low profile over the summer and to stay out of trouble. His second season with the Titans is still uncertain.

Aspen Ford, turning twenty-five, just went through a rough breakup. She met Dale when she was twenty and they attended Harvard together. She had devoted herself to him, but she eventually realized that their relationship was not a two-way street. She had fallen for him before knowing him well. With hindsight, she realizes that she had been excusing his behavior for quite some time and thus failed to notice the red flags. Unfortunately, leaving Dale left her homeless. She is fortunate to not only be Eden Wynn’s executive assistant, but also her friend. Eden and her fiance’ Holt have kindly welcomed her in their home for the past two weeks, but Aspen knows it is time to move forward and find an apartment of her own. So when Alex Braun suggests that taking the summer caretaker position for Saint’s lake property in Ottawa might be a great way to help heal her broken heart, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Alex can’t help his attraction to Eden’s assistant despite knowing better. But acting on that attraction with Aspen is wrong in so many ways. Aside from the fact that she is Eden’s friend, Aspen doesn’t seem like a one night stand kind of girl. And even though Alex is ready for a relationship personally, he cannot afford to be seen with women any time soon. He heads up to his teammate Saint’s cabin for the weekend to do some of the heavy lifting he had promised to help with, and the two find a level of comfort with one another that is surprising. They develop a friendship over the summer, and the lake house becomes a magical sort of bubble that keeps the world and its worries at bay. But as the new season approaches, uncertainty about what that might mean begins to weigh on them. The life of a hockey player is trying at times, and much of that time is spent on the road. Eden remains their boss, and her relationship with them both makes things complicated. They each face some self-reflection if there is any hope of making something real together. The couple eventually finds a happy ending.

Book three of the series, The Rookie, follows. It is Logan Tate and Summer Campbell’s story.

A few issues merit mention regarding the first book versus the second. First, Alex states that he had gone to the cabin on July fourth the year prior and implies he was still with Eden at the time. In book one, though, they would already have been broken up by summer. Their breakup was probably during the winter. Also, Eden later says that Alex never cheated or gave her reason to believe he had. In book one, it may be that he never did cheat, but Eden suffered through repeated rumors of cheating. It weighed on her. And Alex left her because he wanted to play the field. Rumors are often based on truth, and even if Alex did not technically cheat, his behavior was probably careless enough to allow some people to conclude that he did. Hence Eden’s statement doesn’t quite ring true. It also states here that Alex had accomplished his professional goals and was looking for someone to settle down with, but neither was true in book one. Alex’s career was a bit unstable. He had been traded several times during his five years with Eden, but his career was expected to finally take off in Boston. And of course wanting to play the field is not the same as wanting to settle down. He had emotionally withdrawn from Eden. It is certainly a challenge to take the villain of one story and make him into the hero of another, but it doesn’t feel authentic when too many facts shift. Different points of view give allowances, but some of these facts just don’t add up perfectly.

Alex and Aspen’s sweet romance is about two people nursing broken hearts and unexpectedly finding love with one another. Their summer at the lake house gives them the time and space to realize just how perfect they are together. The story is nicely written. The plot is simple. The characters have some depth. Much more is known about Alex’s character, from books one and two collectively. Aspen’s background is brief. The story is written in first person. The POV alternates between Alex and Aspen. I rate this book four stars.

As for the Audio: it is well-performed and consistent with the book.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Lena Loves Books
  • Lena Loves Books
  • 02-06-2021

Pure Wizardry

Kendall Ryan is a wizard! I didn’t think she could get me to love the bad boy, hockey star Alex but she did! After a tough season last year, he was looking to change his ways. All he needed was someone to believe in him to see him. Aspen, who is also going through her own struggles, is that person Alex is looking for. She was the perfect match for him.

Staying in a cabin in Canada gave them the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. To take some time to reset their lives. Little did they know that they would discover so much more not only about themselves but about each other. Through their friendship they discovered that they brought the best out of each other and they could be each other’s safe place and champion. The chemistry between them is insane! These two set the pages on fire! I loved this story so much. Can’t wait for the next book in this already incredible series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ap2514
  • 19-07-2021

Excellent!

I think I like this book even better than the first one:)
Falling for hockey’s bad boy, and her boss’s ex-boyfriend, is the last thing on Aspen’s mind when she accepts to house sit for a friend. But spending the summer in Canada with Alex Braun brings all kind of sexual tension to the surface.
Both narrators did an amazing job and were such a pleasure to listen to.

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  • ccc3s
  • 15-07-2021

Enjoyed

I loved the fresh concept to the storyline. It was fun to see the journey of their friendship. After the first book in the series I was hoping to learn more about Alex. The story came alive from the first page until the end. I did a combo of reading/listening to this one and as always the narration was pure perfection. Looking forward to listening to more in the series. Kendall has a nice easy flow to her stories.

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  • Mom and Wife who loves romance😍
  • 28-06-2021

Perfect

This was the sweetest book I've read in a long time. Thanks Kendall I absolutely loved every minute.
The narrator's were simply perfect. Great story line as well. It's just the slice of happiness I needed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-06-2021

The Narrators!😍

This was a solid romance. I loved the characters and I liked the storyline. I’ll read another book by Kendall Ryan for sure. What made this book absolutely shine, however, was the narration. These narrators were outstanding at bringing the characters to life with their voices. I’m extremely picky about audiobook narration...I’ve dumped many audiobooks because of mediocre narrators. Jacob Morgan and Vanessa Edwin are stellar!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for HBrady
  • HBrady
  • 20-06-2021

The Rival

The Rival is the second book in the Looking to Score series. This book is told from dual perspectives from Alex and Aspen. We have met these characters before. I wasn't a huge fan of Alex in the first book, however, he redeemed himself in this book, and I enjoyed getting to know his character.

Alex and Aspen both ended up staying at one of their friends/teammates' cabin and they decided to have a fling. Both characters have had some things going on in their past, and Alex needs to keep a clean reputation after he gets caught up in a scam.

They both start to have feelings for the other, but Aspen isn't sure if she can trust Alex after her friend had badmouthed him from her relationship with him.

Once they are back home some news comes out about Alex, and it's not taken well by others. Can Aspen forget all that was said about Alex? Can Alex prove to Aspen that she is the one for him? Can their friends get on board with their relationship?

I really enjoyed getting to know these characters, and felt for them with everything they had to go through! I can't wait to see what happens next in this series. I'm enjoying it so far!

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  • Olivia Paige Dahl
  • 09-06-2021

Great story....even if you don't like hockey!

Loved the story and the characters. Plus the setting at the cabin. A special summer indeed! Even with its challenges... great read and wonderful story. Narrators an A plus.

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  • Annaluvs2read
  • 06-06-2021

Falling for the bad boy

This is book 2 in the Looking to Score Series and it is Alex and Aspen’s story. It isn’t necessary to read the first book The Rebel but I would recommend it since this one has characters that crossover and it will help you make the connections.
Alex is known as the bad boy of his hockey team and he is also the ex-boyfriend of the owner of the team Eden. Aspen works as Eden’s assistant and is coming off of a bad break up. That is one thing that her and Alex have in common. When they both attend Eden and Holt’s engagement party, they find themselves hanging out together. The season is over and Alex is helping out a guy on the team by looking after his cabin in Canada and he suggest that Aspen should go the cabin as well to do some cleaning. What will happen when these two spend their summer in the same cabin? Will Alex show Aspen that he isn’t the bad boy that Eden made him out to be?
Kendall does a great job with Alex’s story and you can’t help but to fall in love with him especially since he was painted the bad guy in the previous book. I loved his sweetness and the chemistry he shares with Aspen is explosive. I didn’t want their story to end. I loved this book and can’t wait for the next one in this series. I also purchased the audible version as well and I have to say it is so worth the credit. Jacob Morgan and Vanessa Edwin did an outstanding job narrating this book.

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