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Review Tour: Laces and Lace: Toni Aleo

Laces and Lace
Toni Aleo
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Nine years ago, things were perfect. Lacey and Karson had found their happily ever after in each other…or so they thought. How do two people who were meant to be move on from that once-in-a-lifetime love?

Lacey has a strength inside her that comes alive with the things she’s most passionate about. She’s a fighter, a survivor, and has everything she’s ever wanted but the one thing that matters most—love.


Karson is doing the one thing he loves most—playing hockey for the Assassins, yet he knows regret. He knows his life has been missing the one thing he walked away from so many years ago—Lacey.


Nine years later, and neither has been able to succeed in moving on from what was, what could have been, and who each of their hearts still beats for. When a chance encounter during a fateful night has their paths crossing again, will the tether still attaching their souls allow them to face the past, present, and a possible future?

Can two people with fate on their side find a way back to each other? Overcome all the obstacles in their way to finally live life together to the fullest?

Or will they let those around them and the circumstances they face, along with questions and doubt, ruin a second chance at the life they both deserve?

Laces and Lace includes the prequel Tangled in the Laces, a dollar of your purchase will be donated to the Nashville Predators Foundation.


Teasers from author's facebook page

Karson King and Lacey Martin never really got over their college romance. It was fast, deep and ended in heartbreak for both of them. Lacey never really knew the truth behind the break up and Karson was powerless to fight hard enough to keep her. But they were always their "one that got away" and nine years later, fate throws them together again. 

But this was fate. He always said too, when he saw her again that he wouldn't think, he would just do...

And all of the fears, misconceptions, and pain fade away and are overshadowed by their deep connection, intense chemistry, and strong feelings. Soon they are consumed by each other again and make impulsive decisions. But to them is is a long time coming and feels right. 

"There has never been anyone else but you, Lacey. You're it."

"I believed it then. I believe it now. We are soul mates, Karson. We are meant to be together, and together we are complete."
But unfortunately some of the toxic influences in their lives have only grown in their dislike and intensity. So not only are there  decisions to make, changes to prepare for, and life adjustments to handle, but they are doing it without full support and at times full blown sabotage from others. 

I completely adored Karson. He was just one of those good guys that had a charismatic personality and was devoted to those he cared about.  He was a one woman man since the moment he laid eyes on her, and never wavered in his strong feelings even when he thought he lost her for good. She had significant issues with fears, insecurities, complicated history, and family dynamics. But he tried to stand by her and support her through everything. His love, patience, and extreme care with her was exceptional. 

Lacey was one of those heroines that I did like, but at other times wanted to smack sense into her. She was one of those that self sabotaged due to her fears and insecurities. And she kept secrets and hid her doubts, but then later would use it against Karson. She also was gullible and fell victim to others' manipulation at times. But it all traced back to her loss and pain in her younger life that shaped her feelings of self worth. 

This is one of those couples that exist so well in their little bubble, but once outside influences bring in drama and doubts, it tests them. They were so good together, so passionate, and so devoted. But there were still some fundamental differences they had to wade through as well. I hated to see them struggle. And I admit I got very frustrated with Lacey.

This story was not really about them falling in love. You can see their younger years in the prequel novella Tangled in the Laces (that was initially part of an anthology but Toni also included with this release), and we got glimpses of that story in this one.  This was more about making that reconnection, rekindling love, and taking a second chance with no thought to consequences. It focused on sustainability and staying strong together as outside influences and pressures try to break them down. And about facing fears, insecurities, and building feelings of self worth and believing in another person unconditionally.

"We can't let anyone win except for us. We have to win because our love is worth fighting for."

Some of the Assassins and wives are back. Shea and Elli, and Karson's roommate Jordie(JT) were prominent. But I was happy to see some of the others filter in as well. We also get to meet Karson's outrageous hockey playing sister Kacey (who cracked with me with the obnoxious JT) as well as their parents who were overbearingly sweet and funny.  And we also met Lacey's dysfunctional family who  made me want to scream...literally. There was a lot of tension and drama swirling around that  had me gripping my kindle and trying not to throw it.

This one focused more about their time off the ice, but hockey in both Chicago and Nashville was still a significant background part of the story. But it also dealt with themes of soul mates, survival, hope, strength, belief on one self and love. Each of the books in this series have a different vibe as the characters have their own unique personalities and issues. But all of the stories build on each other as you become invested in the lives of this group that play together and fight for each other. I am hoping that we see a book for JT next! And I am looking forward to A Very Merry Hockey Holiday as well!

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Lacey was so easily manipulated and easily influenced. She was scared and had a tendency to run when faced with a challenge. But when she loved, she loved hard. The people she lets in to her life mean the world to her. She is passionate about her business and the foundation she runs to support breast cancer patients and survivors. 

Karson was so devoted, even during the years between the prequel novella and the main novel. When they were together, he was focused solely on making and keeping Lacey happy. 

Balancing his hockey career and a new wife was a challenge and it didn’t help that his in-laws were against the marriage from the start. But I actually loved that Lacey and Karson knew what they wanted so early in the novel. Without the novella, the speed at which they run into each other and marry would feel like a whirlwind, and even though it was a whirlwind, it also felt right. 

Both families play large roles in the storyline, for better and worse. 

Karson’s family was hilarious. They are an outspoken group, but they love and support each other unconditionally and adopt Lacey as one of their own immediately. I often found myself laughing out loud at the things they said and did together, and loved the closeness that radiated from the scenes in which they were a part.

On the other hand, Lacey’s family made me mad repeatedly. They were a close family, with Lacey’s dad and brother acting very protective towards her, especially after her mom died of cancer and Lacey had her own battle. But during the timeline of the novel, even when they look like they are being supportive, there is manipulation going on in the background and the effects of that influence were major. Her brother eventually worked his way back into my good graces, but the other two had me fuming.

This book also includes the prequel novella that explains Lacey and Karson’s meeting in college, before the NHL and Lacey’s Lace were anything but dreams and goals. The short story was a great set up to the full novel, and in some aspects was more emotional than the novel. There were times the novella’s pace felt rushed, but it still worked. The focus was on Lacey’s comfort with herself and a secret she hasn’t made widely known in college. 

I loved Lacey and Karson’s story, even as there were times I wished her family was less involved in their lives. They both had challenges to overcome, and growing up to do in the time between the novella and novel. This was yet another great story in the Assassin’s series, and I can’t wait to see what might happen with the teammates in the future. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Karson and Lacey's Prequel novella Tangled in the Laces was initially available in
Seduced by The Game Anthology, but it is also included in the new ebook of Laces and Lace

Other books in the series...
They are all about different Assassins players and couples but the characters do cross over
Click on photo to learn more about each title

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Upcoming:

A Very Merry Hockey Holiday
Preorder: Amazon /iTunes /Kobo 
Expected  December 10, 2014
Toni Aleo Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.

When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.

She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

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