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Falling for the Backup [novella] by Toni…
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Falling for the Backup [novella]

by Toni Aleo

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When I think of sports romance, only two authors come to mind and one of them is Toni Aleo. The timing was never right to sit down with one of her books, until now. If you have never read anything by this author, Falling for the Backup is the perfect introduction to her writing.

Jordan Ryan was such a sweet and sexy character. His injury took more than just his starting position as a goalie for the Assassins, it also cost him his girlfriend and robbed him of his confidence around the opposite sex. Seeing him struggle to be coherent around Aynslee just made him so endearing. The lack of over-confidence, cockiness and player status that is common around athletes was like a breath of fresh air. What I also loved about him was his concern about hurting Aynslee unnecessarily hence why he kept running away.

Aynslee Shaw. I had a girl crush on her from the moment she opened her mouth. She was so open, sassy, funny, and the best thing of all – she was a woman who went after what she wanted. I absolutely adore strong heroines like her. No ridiculous and unnecessary insecurities or hem hawing, just genuine kindness and honesty. Her confidence was sexy and the lack of “I’m out of his league” mantras was so refreshing.

This story was so engaging from the first page. The author managed to cement Jordan’s essence within the first few pages – his career, his doubts, his fears and his hopes and dreams. Then in walked Anyslee and blew the lid off his self-imposed misery. I absolutely felt their instant chemistry, and it was a wonderful thing to follow. I also applaud the switcheroo of the heroine chasing the hero instead of the other way around. I think it’s easy to forget that sometimes men want to be know they’re wanted and needed just as much as any woman. The conflict or obstacle was realistic and heart-wrenching. I think many people will be able to relate to it. I know I could because I made that move. The romance ran the gamut of emotions and was handled beautifully. The humor in this story, especially from Aynslee was the icing on the cake. I will definitely be buying up the rest of this series.

There were so many fabulous moments that underscored why Jordan and Aynslee were the perfect match, and why they were playing for keeps.

Favorite Moment:

“Please tell me that wasn’t my mother.”

“It was.”

“Why are you with my parents when I am talking about crotchless panties?”


Disclaimer: I won an ARC from the publisher and purchased a final copy. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Jan 22, 2016 |
I want more!
I can´t wait to read more about these guys and their lives. I'm really glad that I continued to read the series despite the first 'rocky' book. It's definitely improving and I will suffer waiting for the next book.
This novella definitely leaves you wanting more from this author. ( )
  Lost_Lenore | Aug 30, 2013 |
Falling For the Backup is a novella in Toni Aleo’s Assassins series. A few characters from her earlier books make an appearance or are mentioned, but if you’ve never read the books, don’t fret because Falling for the Backup easily stands alone. If you’re worried about spoilers for the other books in the series, you have nothing to worry about.

Aynslee Shaw has had a terrible day and she can’t wait to go home. To make matters worse her suitcase is stolen and she’s stuck wearing a dreadful bridesmaid dress. Jordan Ryan is having a difficult day and the only thing on his mind is his hockey career. When he spots Aynslee he’s intrigued, but he quickly realizes she’s the type of girl that deserves it all and he can’t offer her anything without knowing his career prospects. Jordan walks away from Aynslee, but when a chance encounters bring them together will Jordan take what he wants or will he walk away?

Ah, let me fangirl for a bit! I loved Jordan! Every time he walked away from Aynslee I wanted to shake him, but I realized his inner turmoil because he wanted to be worthy of her. Characterization is a bit weak, but it is a novella and there’s only so much character development you can do. That being said, I do feel as if I got to know Aynslee and Jordan pretty well as a couple. We find out early on what Jordan’s disappointment is and what he wants for the future. As for Aynslee, I was left trying to figure her out. It was pretty clear Jordan wanted a family and someone to come home to, but I didn’t feel Aynslee’s need for someone. Aleo tends to develop her female characters early on and you feel like you know them, but I didn’t get that with Aynslee. She’s also the first character Aleo has given us that doesn’t have excessive baggage and problems opening up. I did like that and it was a breath of fresh air and I liked that she was independent.

My favorite scene by far has to be Aynslee learning about hockey from Sadie. Ask any hockey fan and they’ll be able to tell you the first game they attended because watching it on television doesn’t count as your first game. I loved that Aleo was able to bring back such a precious memory not only to myself and I’m sure any female fan will agree. There’s also a hilarious scene that gives a whole new meaning to “meet the parents!” I won’t go into details, but you’ll be laughing your butt off.

I really enjoyed Toni Aleo’s Falling for the Backup. Her writing has improved from her first book, Taking Shots and it’s wonderful to see her grow. If you’re looking for a hockey romance and have a couple of hours to kill, I recommend Falling for the Backup. The only complaint I have, I wish it was longer and I hope Aleo brings back Jordan Ryan in a future book. ( )
  winterlillies | Jun 16, 2013 |
I love hockey and I love reading romance books, so this was the perfect fit for me. And let me tell you, Toni Also can write one heck of a hockey romance book. I loved Jordan and felt sorry for him for not being able to play the game he loved as much as he should've due to being regulated to backup goalie. His meeting Aynslee was exactly what he needed. My big complaint with this book was that it wasn't long enough! I would've loved to read more about their relationship after the declaration of their feelings, maybe an epilogue or something. I was also reading an uncorrected copy so there were missing words or screwed up placement of words, but it wasn't enough to distract from the story. I'm so looking forward to the next installment of the series which comes out in August so this little novella was just enough to whet my appetite, but still keep me hungry for more. Highly recommend this series. ( )
  amdrane2 | Jun 12, 2013 |
PLEASE NOTE: I was sent an unedited proof of this book to read & review in exchange for an HONEST review!

Once again, Toni Aleo hits the net with her hockey based series about the Tennessee Assassins. This novella length story ties up the "loose ends" of what happened to Jordan Ryan, the goalie who was hurt which gave Tate Oooooooder his opportunity to shine (& find love) in the 3rd book, "Empty Net".

After warming the bench for longer than he'd like after his knee rehab, Jordan realizes he's going to have to leave Nashville in order to have a starting goalie position. The only problem is that during his job search, he meets Aynslee Shaw on a plane... and in a Starbucks... and on a jogging trail. Bigger problem? Jordan lacks self-esteem when it comes to women, and also when it comes to his self-worth since it's tied to his hockey career.

As readers we get to experience Aynslee's first hockey game and root for Jordan in his professional and personal life. The last line of the book says it all - "And they lived happily ever after".

I truly love this series; the sensuality of the characters could melt the ice and Toni Aleo doesn't just slap together a hockey player meets girl, hockey player gets girl, hockey player hubba-hubbas girl, etc... There's some actual emotional "meat" to each story - even this novella length one.

What didn't I like about the book? Well, of course, it was too short ;). I also felt saddened that we were introduced to these characters and then they were shipped off to another team / state. I didn't actually feel that Jordan Ryan's story was "dangling" after his injury; I would have actually preferred a storyline to have revolved around another of the Assassins that we'd then continue to be able to easily "check in" on them.

I normally tend to be critical of editing, but since I received a very clearly marked "Unedited Proof" copy, I will assume that any & all errors I tried to overlook while reading will be remedied by publication time -- there normally are no such issues in her other books of the series.

So, now all I have to do is try to patiently wait for BLUE LINES! I'm very excited to see Erik & Piper's story!! ( )
  SnarkyMom | Jun 11, 2013 |
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NAMED THE BEST ROMANCE NOVELLA OF THE YEAR BY BOOK JUNKIE'S CHOICE AWARDS Toni Aleo's sexy new eBook original novella featuring the Nashville Assassins will have you believing in the power of love at first sight ... and second sight ... and third. After serving as a dutiful bridesmaid in the wedding from hell, Aynslee Shaw just wants to slink home to Nashville and forget the whole trip. That is until the hottest guy she's ever seen is seated next to her on the flight and charms her with his easy laugh and killer smile. But just when she thinks things are getting good, he vanishes, leaving Aynslee wondering, was that guy the one' And did she just let him slip through her fingers' Former superstar goalie Jordan Ryan is back on the ice'finally. After a crippling knee injury that had him wondering if he'd ever play pro hockey again, he's got his full attention on rebuilding his career. So a pretty'okay, beautiful'girl on a plane shouldn't be a distraction. But Jordan is very, very distracted. And when Aynslee crosses his path again, he's not sure any job in the world is worth missing his second chance with a woman like her. Praise for Toni Aleo's Nashville Assassins romances "Aleo melts the ice and hits it into the net with her Assassins series."'Award-winning author Jami Davenport "Taking Shots is really the whole package. You get romance, humor, steamy sex, drama, and then it all wraps up with a great conclusion. I am amazed that this is Toni's first book. She has come out in a huge way. I can't wait to read more from her. Don't hesitate for a moment to grab this book."'Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews "A little steamy, a little heartbreaking, and a whole lot of fanning yourself are in order this time around, readers. Are your cheeks feeling a little pink yet' Get used to the feeling."'Dreaming in the Pages, on Trying to Score "Empty Net is an honest, heartwarming, endearing story. ... Toni Aleo doesn't just write a story. She gives you the ability to experience the journey of her characters right along with them. Her stories are enveloped with passion, emotion, humor, love; and let me tell you, that girl knows how to write a sex scene that just makes you sweat!"'Guilty Pleasures Book Review "Sexy and riveting ... the perfect combination of love and lust."'USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, on Blue Lines "Funny, charming, sweet, sexy ... [Falling for the Backup] has everything you want in a story."'Blushing Reader Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from the Loveswept title Empty Net.… (more)

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