Release Reviews: Losing an Edge: Catherine Gayle

Losing an Edge (Portland Storm #8)
Catherine Gayle 
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Expected February 25, 2016

Tired of being the second-best Babcock, Levi “501” Babcock is ready to outshine his older brother. Outranking his brother proves harder than he imagined—until he meets a sinfully sexy gold-medal-winning figure skater. She might be the prize he’s been searching for all along.

Bubbly and spirited Cadence Johnson is determined to escape the shackles of her former partner. Moving to Portland gives her the fresh start she’s craved, but the last thing she can afford is a distraction like Levi Babcock.

When Cadence’s past comes back to threaten her and her life is on the line, Levi might be the safety net she never realized she needed. But will Levi still care about Losing an Edge to his biggest rival, or can he finally step out of his brother’s shadow to become the hero in his own game?

Levi "501" Babcock has always lived in his brother Jamie's shadow. Now they are both on the Portland Storm and Levi's hockey skills since becoming pro are taking a hit. He's lost his edge, feels he is letting people down, and is even more envious of Jamie. He's got a self deprecating sense of humor and is having trouble believing in himself.

Cadence is Cam "Jonny" Johnson's sister and a recent Olympic figure skating Gold Medalist and America's darling. But she is making major changes in her life. One of them is moving to Portland. She has some secrets, trust issues, fears, and insecurities and is guarded due to some recent events.

Levi is attracted to her from the beginning, but she is skittish and is also his team mate's sister. But they find their way into a friendship that Levi hopes could eventually become more. This is a slow build of courting their way towards trust and sharing. I liked their rapport and Levi's persistence. 

Levi was sweet, kind, protective and I loved seeing him grow. Cadence really started to find her own way again too. But sometimes the past can rear its ugly head causing worry and complications. And there were personal conflicts and outside influences causing issues. It was a gradual layering of increasing "like" and building sexual tension, passion, and emotions that felt right for these two characters. 

A lot of the guys and girls from this series are back. Featured were Jamie and Katie, Jonny, Sara and their kids, Hammer, Koz, Bergy, Paige, Sophie, Ghost, and Harry. We also got to spend a little time with some potential love interests for a couple of the guys. Levi just melted my heart with his sweet gestures and his friendship and patience with the young, special Sophie and how he always tried to protect her feelings. Those scenes always made me smile. I enjoy the camaraderie, support, and sense of family with the team mates and their families as well as their teasing and humor. Cadence's new friends Anthony and Jesse were great additions to the group.

This was about taking risks, opening up, developing trust, believing in yourself, and finding your own way. They both had some personal demons to face and growing to do. They needed to believe in themselves and trust their own judgment before they could truly take a chance on the other 
or meet their full potential. There were also some secrets, and a danger and suspense component running through this story that caused tension and anxiety.

I love getting the dual points of view to help truly understand the characters. It was easy to become immersed back into this environment with these characters I have come to love. Levi turned out to be quite a  swoony hero in his own right and definitely showed growth. And Cadence had been beaten down, but was determined to find her backbone, face her fears, and battle her issues head on. I felt they had a good rapport and chemistry. I liked the slow build and that it was not just about sex, but also truly about care, emotions, and affection. 

This is a great addition to this series and I am looking forward to the upcoming books about Ghost and Harry that were teased a bit in this one. I would also love to get Koz's story as well. 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review. 
Levi Babcock, 501 to his teammates, feels like he is in constant competition with his older brother, Jamie. On the ice he is always making mistakes, making him less of a player than Jamie, and off ice he has nothing in his life figured out. When he sees Cadence Johnson, a teammate’s sister, at a New Year’s party, he figures she is perfect to one up his brother off the ice. As an Olympic figure skater, she beautiful, famous, and the perfect match for him, if he can get her to give him a chance, that is.

Cadence Johnson is looking for a fresh start. Moving in with her brother and finding a new skating partner after a major injury and split from her former partner/boyfriend, she finds it hard to trust men. The similarities she easily finds between Levi and her ex make it difficult for Cadence to feel anything but fear in Levi’s presence.

I loved these two from the start. Levi is so patient, tender and careful with Cadence, quickly learning that he has to tread carefully with her, and not just because of her overprotective brother.

As Cadence’s secrets come out, her reasoning and motivations become clear and add yet another dimension to the whole story. I loved her inner strength, even as she felt weak and made decisions that didn’t always make sense.

The side characters made for great banter and sweet moments. The entire Portland Storm team and their families are in the background, shifting forward as the story allows. I especially loved Sophie’s involvement with the story. Her character, and the bridge she provides between Cadence and Levi were the perfect blend of sweet and touching. Connor, Cadence’s nephew, is a firecracker in preschooler form and his antics had me laughing out loud. 

This was an easy, fun read that put me in a great mood. The level of drama both between the main characters and the other major conflicts was entertaining without being angsty. I finished this book with a carefree feeling and I appreciated the smooth storytelling throughout. 
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Catherine Gayle Website/Facebook/Twitter
Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five contemporary hockey romance and Regency-set historical romance novels and novellas. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

If you want to know more, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. She can also be found at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.


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