Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting
Narrator: Stella Bloom, Jacob Morgan
Series: All In #3
Published by Brilliance Audio on May 12, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours, 37 minutes
My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars.
Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie.
I got drunk. And picked up a stranger.
Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place.
She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her.
Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team.
And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.
Every girl wants a good boy that will be bad just for her. You might have heard a different version of that saying, but I prefer it this way. If you agree, even just a little, you are going to love A Secret for a Secret, the third installment in the All In series by Helena Hunting. A Secret for a Secret is a sports romance about finding love and balance in the chaos of life and stars Ryan Kingston (or King as he’s know on the team) and Queenie. With the names King and Queenie, these two characters are meant for each other, even though they couldn’t be more different.
“I want all your dark secrets to be mine to keep.”
The discovery of a family secret has thrown King for a loop and he’s looking for solace at the bottom of several shot glasses. As he attempts to drown his feelings of betrayal, he finds a kindred spirit in the form of Queenie. She’s wallowing in self-loathing after losing yet another job and being dependent on her father once again. I was “all-in” with Queenie and King’s story right from the start with their endearing meet cute. I loved the concept of two strangers in the bar exchanging secrets and finding comfort in each other’s company.
The moment of shock when they run into each other again, where she is the new assistant and daughter to the General Manager of Seattle’s NHL expansion team, and he’s the star goalie, gave me a shiver of giddiness, because I knew where this was heading. But in true Helena Hunting fashion, she doesn’t take the story exactly where you expect it to go. The author eschews the secret romance angle, for a deeper dive into how polar opposites can achieve a strong, sustainable relationship.
“I’d like her to keep believing I’m a Boy Scout, even if you and I know that isn’t always true.”
King is a polite, milk-drinking, khaki wearing, puppy-holding hottie. He reminded me so much of Captain America (pre-beard Cap), that’s the image the character took in my head. Not a bad thing at all, IMO. Bad boys seem to get a lot of page time in romance novels and a lot of love from the fans, but there is something irresistible about a boy scout. And King is a stand-up, honest-to-goodness boy scout. Queenie doesn’t have to dig for King’s heart of gold, her challenge is to lead him into temptation, or at the very least, get him to wear something other than a button down or a polo! When King lets himself lose control, he proves he can get down and dirty with the best of them.
“I wish you could see yourself through my eyes, Queenie. Then you might have some idea as to how incredible you really are.”
Queenie is the ‘Chaos’ to King’s ‘Calm.’ She’s smart, talented, and wild. She comes with a lot of baggage from previous relationships, and it isn’t a surprise she has difficulty seeing herself in a positive light. Despite claiming to be a mess, her actions and accomplishments as the GM’s assistant show differently. It was rewarding to see her character gain authentic confidence, not the brash kind she displays for the outside world, as she comes to value her contributions and realize her potential. I feel like Queenie will appeal to a lot of millennial readers, as her struggles mirror that generation’s in many aspects.
“This conversation would be a lot easier if I weren’t covered in hives.”
A Secret for a Secret had some laugh-out-loud moments. I mean, it’s Helena Hunting; she’s a master at adorable, cringe-worthy, and hilarious interactions. She’s also fantastic at developing the relationships between the primary and secondary characters from book to book. A Secret for a Secret sees the return of some of our favorite characters from the All In and Pucked series and introduces new characters I hope to see more of in the future. This is technically a stand-alone novel, but I really feel the reading experience is enhanced by knowing the back stories of the secondary characters.
“I’ll bring my chaos into your calm. There’s no place I’d rather be than the eye of your storm.”
A Secret for a Secret is a heart-warming romance about opposites negotiating love and finding balance in the modern world. The characters have off-the-charts chemistry with some seriously steamy scenes. But in the end, it will leave you sighing with a smile on your face.
The narration for this book was alternating point of views between Queenie and King. This book would be enjoyable if read on a page, but adding the voice of Jason Clarke as King made it even that much better. I expected King to have a Southern accent, based on his back story, but I didn’t miss it at all. Both narrators did a fantastic job with diction and pacing. I listened at normal speed, but could have increased the speed to 1.25x and still been able to follow with ease.
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