Her Man Advantage

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Press: Harlequin (April 17, 2012)
Publication Date:2012-4
Author Name:Rock, Joanne


Full-body contact never felt this good…By rights, they should hate each other.Filmmaker Jennifer Hunter doesn't want to make a hockey documentary any more than hockey defenseman Axel Rankin wants to star in one. 
But neither of them anticipates the molten rush of pure lust for each other, and they can't help but give in, on and off camera….The last thing Axel needs is a camera shoved in his face, probing into his life and his rocky past.
Especially if the woman calling the shots is a mouthy, assertive, drop-dead, sexy redhead—who makes him want to do things that definitely require an adults-only rating!His favorite game just got a whole new set of rules….

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"I'm not signing the waiver." Hockey defenseman Axel Rankin placed the sheet of paper on the desk of the Philadelphia Phantoms' head coach, Nico Cesare, hoping like hell his refusal wouldn't be a big deal. 
He couldn't be a part of the TV documentary series that would follow his team over the next month.
"There are enough guys on the team to film.
Besides, I'm the defensive goon, not some big headliner."The native Finn kept the real reason to himself.
Axel couldn't afford to have his personal life broadcast to the world, the details of his day-to-day in the U.S.
available to old enemies back in Finland.
He'd worked too hard to put that past behind him.
Having a camera crew follow Phantoms players around day and night would only resurrect old problems."Bowing out is not an option." The coach, a former goalie and one hell of a leader, passed the waiver back to Axel, not even looking up from a competing club's roster filled with margin notes.
"The league needs the publicity and the Phantoms need the exposure.
The dictate from corporate is that everyone participates."Win as a team, lose as a team.
Axel had been hearing the same mandate since arriving in Philly on a trade six weeks ago.
Cesare's refusal to back off that policy had helped his hockey club earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would start next week, but that die-hard commitment would make it tough for Axel to cut loose from the group now.Shit.
He ground his teeth, sweat dripping down his forehead from the morning practice session where he'd gone hard from whistle to whistle."I've got personal reasons, Coach." He hated to go there.
Waving the "it's personal" flag felt like a cop-out.Cesare finally looked up, his dark eyes meeting Axel's in the austere office decorated with pictures of his two kids and hot, blonde lawyer wife.
Other than that, the space was like a computer geek's ode to hockey, full of stats and charts, roster breakdowns of twenty different varieties."Then you'll fit right in with the rest of us, Rankin." He tossed his ballpoint onto the desk and threaded his hands together as he rested the palms on his head.
"I've got two players who didn't want to sign because they're afraid their wives will get wind of their extracurricular activities on the road from watching the show.
I have three guys who don't want their kids referenced in any way, including me.
I've got a superstitious player who thinks the cameras will mess up his game rituals.
The documentary is shit.
I get that.
But we're all doing it and we're all signing."Axel heard the unspoken ultimatum.
Sign now or you're not a team player.
Or worse—benched.He hadn't risen up out of a Helsinki ghetto to play on a championship-quality team only to be sidelined now.
He'd have to find a way to protect his Stateside foster family from his past if—when—it came calling.
Swallowing hard, he picked up the pen his coach had cast aside.Carefully, he inked his Anglicized name on the appearance waiver, knowing damn well that Axel Rankin wasn't far enough from Akseli Rankinen to fool anyone back home.
He was sure his old motorcycle gang kept tabs on him.
Waiting for the right moment to call in a favor or blackmail the hell out of him.
He figured the only reason they'd waited this long was to ensure his net worth went up along with his newfound success."Good man," Nico Cesare assured him, snagging the signed agreement before Axel changed his mind.
"You did well in practice this morning.
I've got you on the starting line tomorrow night."Hard-won praise from a notoriously tough critic.
Too bad Axel's gut was too full of lead to enjoy the props."I won't let you down," he promised, always willing to sacrifice his body to the game.
Hockey had helped haul his ass out of the crap life he'd had back home, so he gave it one hundred percent in return.He just hoped the filmmaking didn't steal his focus, because now he'd have a whole lot more to think about than lofting the Stanley Cup over his head.
Stalking toward the exit, Axel planned to head home and make a few inquiries right away.
But as he pulled open the heavy glass-and-steel door, his coach called to him."Axel?"Turning, he paused with one foot out in the hall."Yeah?""The film crew arrived this afternoon." The coach's level gaze gave away nothing.
"The director wants to start meeting the team members as soon as possible.
You could give it the old stick in the eye and just get it over with.
She's set up camp in the conference room.""She?" Axel tried to weigh what that meant.
"We're being followed night and day by a chick?"He wasn't some backwoods misogynist or anything, but then again, he wasn't a fan of females in the locker room.
And hey, to be fair, he wouldn't have taken up journalism and expected free access to the ladies' showers if he was following a women's sport.
If he had, maybe he would have been in a whole different career field."Her name is Jennifer Hunter.
And she looked female to me." The coach grinned, the expression increasing the twist of his nose in a face that could only have belonged to a hockey player.
"The good news is, I got the impression she really doesn't want to be here any more than we want a New York filmmaker in our business.
So who knows, maybe she'll turn in a lame, half-baked assignment and we'll all get off easy."It was the first bit of good news Axel had received since hearing about the monthlong documentary special."I could do some reconnaissance and see what I can find out.
In fact, maybe I could go meet her right now." He'd do it before he hit the showers.
The smell of unwashed hockey equipment alone could send grown men to their knees.
What woman would be able to stand the stench inside an enclosed space like the conference room?"You're going to make a hell of a first impression, Rankin." Thankfully, the coach didn't seem too upset about that.Which reaffirmed the message—win as a team, lose as a team.Sometimes, the role of a hockey defenseman was to throw down the gloves and pick the fight to protect his teammates.
Axel's responsibility wasn't all that different now.
He'd find out a little more about Jennifer Hunter and see why she didn't want to be here.
Then he'd make sure she remembered those reasons daily until she packed her camera and left.That was plan B, and he liked it as a backup.
But right now, he'd go with his A game.
Charming the socks off the film director by introducing her to the fragrant reality of life in the locker room….



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Comment List (Total:7)

  •     Chemistry at first sight even thou none of the characters want it. Hot hockey players, groupies, all with histories. All leads to a can’t put down book by Joanne (that) “Rock”s!
  •     Her Man Advantage by Joanne RockThis Murphy Family Saga is about Axel Rankin. He grew up in the Murphy household as a foster child. Everybody treats him like a true family member.He is also a hockey superstar, best friend with Kyle and they have a stipulation in the hockey organization that they play together on the same team. He was born in Finland and does not want to be filmed for a documentary because of his past.Jennifer Hunter is the camera lady who wants more in depth info about the players. He wants out because he's already too hot for her, he can't say no but he's going to try.There is love in the air as Jen also films the groupies that travel from game to game and their romantic interests.Hot steamy sex mixed in with travel make this an excellent read.Have loved the whole series and was glad the foster child was also included as he's one of them.I read these out of order and I never felt like I was missing something. You can pick them up, in my opinion and just read for the pleasure of reading and be right in the book.
  •     Philadelphia Phantoms defenseman Axel Rankin refuses to sign the waiver that would enable a film crew from following him and the team for a documentary on them. He gives his coach Nico Cesare some excuse, but hides his real reason is his enemies from his gangbanger days as a child back home in Finland might find him. Cesare says this is not negotiable as the team prepares for the Stanley Cup playoffs.However, Axel's issues go stratospheric when he meets director, Jennifer Hunter who does not want to do this project. The Helsinki hockey player and the New York filmmaker are in instant heat that could melt the rink's ice. Neither is prepared for their first kiss, which ends up on film.This is an engaging hockey romance (see One Man Rush) with once again two love stories though the flying fighting Finn and the fiery feisty filmmaker are the stars. The gang coming after a former goon never quite gels, but still fans will enjoy the Double Overtime romances as the lead couple (and a teammate and a fan) fall in love.Harriet Klausner
  •     I really enjoyed most of Ms. Rock's books but for some reason, this one felt like something was missing. There was forced conflict and the characters really didnt seem to connect for me. Axel and Jennifer did have "some" chemistry but the plot just seemed unrealistic for me.
  •     Posted on Romancing the Book's blogReviewed by DesereReview Copy Provided by the AuthorJoanne Rock has done it again in this nail biting read. A sexy as sin hockey player with a very rocky past is thrown together with a take no nonsense girl made this a fantastic read. The book had secrets and red hot passionate love scenes.The overwhelming chemistry between Jennifer and Axel was like a burst of fresh and sexy off screen romance. I loved how the author did not shy away from sharing anything and everything with us. Joanne Rock brought together two unique people each with a different unique background that when brought together made for a explosive read with some truly mind blowing delicious situations and a whole lot of fun!Joanne Rock has a fabulous manner of writing which I for one cannot get enough of as she incorporates little interesting sport facts that you do not learn by just watching the game. She goes behind the scenes and what I really loved about the book was that the author reminded me that those sexy sport stars we see on screen and on the field have lives and troubled pasts of their own and living in the spotlight is a whole lot of a heck more difficult than any us mere sport fans can imagine, and also that when they find true love it is not always ideal in matching up.I recommend anyone who is a lover of sport and reading to grab a Joanne Rock book today!
  •     This book combines my two favorite things sports and romance. I gave a full 5 star because this story brings a woman striving for independence in her writing career and a hockey player trying to break away from his past. Brought together for a documentary the ice is heating up in and out of the rink.
  •     Her man advantage centered around the ice hockey team 'Philadelphia phantoms' our heroine Jennifer reluctantly agrees to make a documentary about them. In order her boss Colin will allow her to make a documentary on cyber bullying a subject close to her heart. After her sister suffers bullying at school. Jennifer sees it as a means to an end and reluctantly agrees. Once on location she meets ex Finn biker bad boy Alex Rankin. They try to keep their relationship away from the documentary after being filmed kissing. Jennifer is warned that her documentary will be buried if the footage does not appear in the finished product.The leader of Axel's biker gang tries to blackmail him as he wants out of the gang, threatening not only his safety but Jennifer's also. After following Axel and capturing the blackmail on live feed Axel is free for good.The story is well written and the sex scenes were just enough for me. I was concerned that not knowing anything about ice hockey would take me out of the story, but i needed have worried.It was Chelsea's story although she is a secondary character which peeked my interest and I feel there is a story in itself.

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