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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Clipped By Love: Toni Aleo

Clipped by Love (Bellevue Bullies #2)
Toni Aleo
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Release date April 27, 2015

Things are heating up for the Sinclair boys! With one already in the NHL, Jayden Sinclair is hoping to be next!


This has been the toughest year of my life. I watched my brother go into the draft without me, my mom got divorced, and the weight of my family’s issues is heavy on my shoulders. I feel like it’s my job to fix everything while working my butt off in school and trying to make my game better. I have to go into the draft. It will give my family the support they need, and it will prove that I’m good enough. But to get there, I have to show I can be the best captain for the Bellevue Bullies. The spot is mine—no one can take it. First though, Jude is making me go on a brother’s weekend. Innocent enough, I guess…until I see her. She’s the biggest competitor I’ve ever faced. Not only for my spot but also my heart. It’s hard to ignore someone like Baylor Moore.

***

I don’t lose. I can’t. My dad has bred me to be the best in anything I do. I am driven, I am smart, and I am going to be the first woman in the National Hockey League. No two ways about it. I’ve worked too hard. I’ve been through too much not to have what I want. I know I can do it. I will make my dad proud, and no one will stand in the way of that. That is, until I let him in. He scares me. He makes me feel. And he could very well be the one person who can make me want more than just to win.

We both have the same goal. Victory. But how do you compete against the person you want to win? It’s not easy. Love isn’t something you can control. It isn’t like a puck that can be handled by a stick. No, it has a mind of its own and does what it wants.

Neither of us saw it coming, and we really don’t know if there is a way to score, especially when you’re being Clipped by Love.


Graphics from Toni Aleo's Facebook page


Jayden and Baylor both live to play hockey and consider themselves the best. Their interactions  are snarky, feisty, flirty, and volatile. They have so much sexual tension, denial, and are fiercely competitive. Although Jayden attempts to do the right thing most of the time, sometimes he does not go about it the right way and it ends up being the totally wrong move when dealing with Baylor. 

This girl keeps proving that she can give me a run for my money.

When they end up on the same team, their competitiveness, attraction and need to out-do the other gets even stronger.  Not only are they are team mates, but they are also adversaries. Jayden not only irritates her and pushes her, but also protects her. She pushes him right back. They get under each other's skin and are almost always explosive in some way. But they also have respect for each other's skills and spur the other one to be better.

She may have been born to play hockey, but she was put in my life to make me a wreck. And the sadistic thing is that I like the way it feels. 

Baylor could be frustrating. She was really a ball-buster. She was so hard on herself and on Jayden. She was so untrusting, argumentative, competitive, cautious, and closed off. She put up big walls and guarded her heart  and did not want distractions. The few people she let in (including Jayden initially) disappointed her or hurt her.  And she was very unsure and wishy washy when it came to Jayden.

Girls love me. I'm funny, I'm hot, and very charming. I'm also very hard to resist. But this girl, man, she is fighting me tooth and f****** nail. 

He's the biggest challenge of my life thus far. One I want to win, but also one I'm scared of losing.


I totally adored Jayden! He was so sure of what he wanted and was such a good guy. He was respectful, caring, funny, charismatic, and protective. But he was competitive too and could be sarcastic and a bit obnoxious when pushed. But he believed in her, supported her, and wanted more from her than she even thought she could give. She challenged him and made him work for ever little scrap of positive attention. But he was determined to wear down her defenses and show her that he was really a good guy who could be trusted and counted on. 

This girl is gonna kill me. Honestly, I've never worked so hard in my life for a girl. Getting her to realize that what we have is really good is gonna be the hardest thing I've ever done, but it will be the greatest victory of my life. And I sure do love winning. Especially against her. 

They had good chemistry and a definite spark. They were both strong-willed and stubborn and had similar life plans. They had strong reactions to each other at all times. But the situation that they became immersed in was complicated. With these two it was a fight for most everything. It was a battle to admit their feelings. She wanted control and  was afraid to let herself fall or risk being left. She wanted to keep them a secret and hid their relationship, but then could act crazy jealous. She had trouble believing in herself at times and was emotionally stunted. She was terrified of the future and possible loss. He was afraid of holding on too long, being taken for granted, or being a doormat. And the more she hid them, the more unsure he was about her actual feelings. So they were a hot mess. But I found myself rooting for them and waiting anxiously for some  a-ha moments, revelations, and big romantic gestures.

"I'm sitting here, my nose pressed to the f****** glass that you've surrounded your heart with, and I'm doing everything to bash it in.  Am I even cracking the damn thing?"

"I do believe in you. I just don't believe in me."


I loved the interactions with his brothers Jude (Boarded by Love) and Jace. They had such a sibling rivalry but also supported each other and their mom and sister. And they were such Momma's boys that it was so sweet. And another stand outs on the team was their friend Marcus. And it is always fun when she sneaks in some Assassins cameos! I am looking forward to Jace's story in Hooked by Love. He is so cocky, resistant to relationships, and bit wild. It will be fun to see him fall since he thinks it is hilarious that his brothers are so wrapped up in one girl. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Jayden Sinclair is prepping for his final year of college hockey. His older brother was picked first in the draft last year but their agent wanted Jayden to wait one more year before turning pro. This year, Jayden plans to be ready.

Baylor Moore is one tough chick. One of the best hockey players around, she pushes herself to be the best, going to far as to play on men’s teams rather than women’s teams. She has played with the guys since she was 14 and stays focused to keep herself competitive. It helps that her single father is also a former Stanley Cup winner and her coach.

I spent a good deal of the book pulling my hair out frustrated with Baylor. From her overly cocky attitude to her inclination to push people away, I was regularly and nearly continuously annoyed with her. Even as talented on the ice as she was, I had a hard time believing that she would have as much leeway as she is given as far as playing for men’s teams, and hadn’t had problems until she reached Bellevue.

But I loved Jayden. From the very beginning, he had a great mix of confidence and sweetness. As the sensitive brother, he gets grief from his brothers about his need to take care of the people he loves, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

While the hockey side of the storyline bothered me and seemed to drag on and parts of it started to feel predictable, the relationship side of the story worked a lot better for me. Though Baylor was afraid of her feelings (for understandable reasons) and tended to run rather than work through things when challenges cropped up, I loved watching these two circle around each other. They are both naturally competitive, and challenge each other to be their best in everything.

The rest of the team rounded out the story nicely, giving the Bellevue Bullies hockey team a similar family feel as has been developed in the Assassin’s series. I was surprised to see as much crossover in this story with the author's other series, but I loved the role Ellie, Shea, and the other Assassin's played in this couple's story.

This book broke ground as far as sports books go in that the female lead plays for a men’s team rather than a women’s team as traditional storylines would do. While I appreciated the risk that move took, part of me (even through the very end) had a hard time feeling this particular part of the storyline held any amount of realism. But I loved Jayden, and liked him and Baylor together.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Although Boarded by Love is the start of a spin off Bellevue Bullies series revolving around the college-aged Sinclair brothers, Claire's story and that of her Uncle Phillip and his love, Reese begins in Breaking Away (Assassins#5) and continues in Boarded by Love. However, Boarded by Love and Clipped by Love can still easily be read as a stand-alones.
Breaking Away (Assassins#5)
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Boarded by Love (Bellevue Bullies #1)

Jude Sinclair here, hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies and lover of all ladies. Hockey’s in my blood and, not to sound full of myself, but I’m good at it... really good. The draft is within my reach—it’s mine to take—but that’s not the only reason people know my name. They know me because of my way with woman. They know the score, and I aim to please. I just tend to stay away from repeat performances. In other words, I don’t do relationships above my family and friends. I’m happy with life. However, I should warn you that my story and how I see it playing out is about to change due to a certain redhead on campus.

She’s beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking.

She’s my game changer.

He’s trouble from the moment I see him. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but from the moment I meet his gaze, I’m his. It’s a scary feeling.

I’ve never trusted anyone outside my aunt and uncle—and even that took months. I didn’t have it easy growing up. My mom was usually strung out, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Drugs and the men who paid her were most important. It was horrible, but I’m stronger today. Because of my past, security is what I need most. Money assures me that I can take care of myself today, tomorrow, and next month. I don’t want to ever be hungry or go without again, so I work hard for every penny.

Oh, by the way, I’m Claire Anderson. I’m a hard-studying sophomore at the University of Bellevue, dancer for the school team, and a burlesque dancer at a club, but that’s my secret.

You may think you know how our story ends, but you have no clue. It’s not easy falling in love, or living happily ever after. At first, it may seem so, but when is anything worth having ever won without a fight?

Especially, when you’re boarded by love.

Hooked by Love (Bellevue Bullies #3)
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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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