Release Review: Ghost Dance: Catherine Gayle

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Expected May 19, 2016

The best night of Dmitri Nazarenko’s life quickly turned into the worst night of his life. In a few short hours, he went from winning hockey’s Holy Grail to making a decision that nearly ended both his best friend’s life and his own. They each still bear scars, but some wounds never heal. Dima’s body is now a shrine to his memories, with a beard meant to hide ugly scars and tattoos designed to prevent ever forgetting the mistakes he’s made.

London Hawke knows all about incurable injuries, but she’s never let hers get in the way of living her life. Seeing a man haunted by the ghosts of his past is a surefire way to trigger her annoyance, and that’s exactly what she finds in Dima. He’s able-bodied, but he acts like he should be the one in the wheelchair instead of her. Someone needs to slap some sense into him, but London doesn’t want to be that someone even if it’s fun to butt heads with him when they face off.

Trading barbs leads first to flirtation and then to dancing between the sheets. London won’t accept sharing the bed with his past for long, but Dima can’t remember how to live in the here and now. He’ll have to figure it out or London will leave him to dance with his ghosts alone. 
Dimitri "Dima" Nazarenko  is a surly Russian on the Tulsa Thunderbirds that has been hiding his guilt under a beard, long hair, tats, and a gruff attitude for years. One poor decision changed his friend's life and he still has trouble coping with it. He keeps people at arm's length and cannot seem to move on.

London Hawke is a parapelegic sled hockey player. During a charity game, they develop some hot, not-so-friendly competition, but she seems to be able to see underneath his facade. And she decides to investigate it further whether he invites her attention or not. 

He's moody, angry, and lost. She's fiery, pushy, mouthy, and sarcastic.They tease and taunt. She pokes at him unmercifully to get a rise out of him. When forced to spend more time together, they only react stronger. They drive each other crazy. He doesn't like to let people get close. She is obstinate and won't stop pushing him. They are volatile and unstable. They develop a pattern of fighting and f******, deflection, and running. She makes him lose control. She is stubborn and has a strong need to be in control. 

Along the way they both are challenged and forced to look at their lives and their comfort zones.They have challenges, issues, and some drama to deal with.  He needs to let go and move forward. She needs to face her own demons that she has buried. It is hard to truly love until you feel worthy of it, or to fix others without first fixing yourself. 

This is actually my favorite overall story in the Tulsa Thunderbirds series. I  was glad to get their dual points of view especially since they were not always forthcoming with their feelings.  Even though the characters where strong-willed, volatile, and at times difficult, I actually liked them and their intense dynamics. It made it more significant and emotional when their vulnerabilities were exposed and they began to understand the need for some compromise. Dima was a big, strong teddy bear and I totally fell for him.

I enjoyed getting more with Hunter, Tallie, and baby Harper (Bury the Hatchet). Dima's role as the "baby whisperer" and his soothing Russian confessionals with the baby were so heartwarming and cathartic. We also got to visit more with Razor and Tori (Smoke Signals) and there was a tease for Drew's book Rites of Passage that is bound to be interesting. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Bury the Hatchet (Tulsa Thunderbirds #1)
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He was poised to be an elite goalie for a contending team.

Hunter Fielding has long since proven himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. The problem? His former team had another (slightly better) backstop. They left Hunter out to dry, the upstart Tulsa Thunderbirds claimed him in the expansion draft, and he made a few stupid comments about backasswards Oklahomans. Now the T-Birds say the only way he can redeem himself is to make nice for the media with some local goody two shoes who’s made some mistakes of her own.

Oklahoma’s sweetheart could do no wrong until she could do no right.

Tallulah Belle Roth was the reigning Miss Oklahoma USA until a night of out-of-control drinking, a naked foray in a hot tub with very bad boy, and a bunch of lowlights on TMZ. Now she’s been stripped of her crown and is facing the censure of the same people who made her out to be Little Miss Perfect. Tallie won’t ever get her title back, but her life is another matter—and the only way the public will allow her to do that is if she presents herself as happily settled with someone else under Oklahoma’s eye.

The marriage is to be in name only—one year of sickeningly-sweet lovey-dovey PDA, all to get their detractors to bury the hatchet. Those kisses and tender moments for the cameras take an emotional toll, though. Can in name only be enough?

Smoke Signals (Tulsa Thunderbirds #2)

Desperation changes a person. Leads them to do things they never would have dreamed.

Thanks to his mother, Ray “Razor” Chambers knows what desperation can lead a person to do. But as a defenseman for the Tulsa Thunderbirds, those days are long in the past for both of them. His best buddy is about to get hitched in Vegas when a woman whose eyes are filled with an all-too-familiar haunted look approaches Razor. She makes him a proposition, and he knows he’s witnessing yet another act borne of desperation.

Viktoriya Dubrovskaya knows all about desperation, too. She came to America to study ballet and escape a fate no one should have to bear. She can never go home again. She’s broke and broken, not to mention in survival mode. Viktoriya turned to the only help offered, but in the end it stripped her of everything she was and all she wanted. Now she’s out of time, money, and options…until she sees Razor.

There’s no chance he’ll take her up on what she’s offering, but he suggests a counter-proposal—one involving a ring, a green card, and the chance to reclaim her body. It’s an opportunity she can’t pass up, but for Viktoriya and Razor, learning to live together as husband and wife is as foreign as interpreting Smoke Signals. And where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.


Rites of Passage (Tulsa Thunderbirds #3)
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Expected November 10, 2016

Where do you go once you’ve hit rock bottom?

With his world already in shambles, Andrew Nash’s life plummets even further after a freak accident on the ice exposes his deepest secret. Still unsure if he should ever return to the game he’s devoted his life to, the future Thunderbirds captain knows he isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel. Meeting a talented and sexy artist changes everything for Drew.

But Ravyn Penn’s past is darker than his, and her wounds cut deeper. Drew’s looking forward, but Ravyn is stuck dwelling over a life that leaves her guilt-ridden and full of regret.

Drew’s a fighter, and he knows they need to claw their way out of the past—together—even when the future promises no guarantees. But can Ravyn let go and blindly trust him—taking a rite of passage through the darkness—to find the life they both deserve?

Catherine Gayle

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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