Book Review – Back Check by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Boston Rebels #2
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Pages: 173
Characters: Joachim/Isaac
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Hockey, Series

Meeting Joachim could save his daughter’s life, but it may well cost Isaac his heart.

It’s been one hell of a year for Joachim Löfgren. After a long summer in rehab, he’s been moved to a new town, one far away from the warm Florida sun he so adores, to bolster a struggling Boston defense since the departure of their beloved team captain. He hadn’t even unpacked his skates properly when fate lands another blow, and he’s told that he is dad to a gravely ill child he never knew existed. It’s an easy decision for the burly defenseman to help and he opens up his new home to his child and her guardian Isaac. He’s instantly enchanted with the preschooler as well as her uncle and decides that his life will only be complete if his daughter is part of it. Filing for custody is the only option he feels he has, but this throws his budding relationship with Isaac into utter chaos. The two men soon find themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom as they both fight for the life they feel is best for Sophia.

Despite grieving for the loss of his sister, Isaac doesn’t hesitate to take on the responsibility for his newborn niece Sophia, creating a brand new family of two built on love and laughter. He has a steady income painting pet portraits during the day, but it’s the subversive and satirical cartoons he draws at night that silence his thoughts in the dark. They don’t have much as a family, but he is Sophia’s dad now, and nothing and no one will ever come between them. When a routine pediatric checkup shows that Sophia is ill, it forces Isaac to confront every one of his fears. Finding a matching donor is her only hope, and Isaac begins the journey to find Sophia’s mysterious father. There are no names or dates in his sister’s battered journal, and all Isaac knows is that he’s looking for a hockey player who was nothing more than a one-night stand. Little does he know that finding Joachim could destroy everything.

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I fell for Joachim and Isaac immediately and wanted their HEA with baby Sophia. This is the sweet story about the importance of family, and I loved the team as family, which is a strong theme that is one of the reasons I enjoy this genre so much. I also enjoyed catching up with characters from other books and interlinked series too.

I liked how Joachim tries to put his past mistakes behind him and do the right thing by Sophia and Isaac. I also wanted to smack him several times as he plunged forward with the best of intentions without asking Isaac what he wanted. Isaac is sweet and a great father to Sophia. I enjoyed his and Joachim’s romance though kept waiting for it to fall apart once Isaac found out what Joachim was doing. I liked that although a lot of Isaac’s life is Sophia, he is a talented artist, and has a life online with that too. Both these guys are scared of losing something good, and their chance to be a family, and that’s understandable given their pasts. Sophia comes across as realistic, and has a strong personality, especially considering what she’s going through. The scene where she gives Joachim a name is very sweet.

It was great seeing Victor and Dan again. I love Victor, and the way he tells it as it is, yet doesn’t always respond in the right way. I also loved how the team get behind Joachim and Isaac and help not only Sophia, but others in similar circumstances. I like how these guys use their wealth to do good. I wasn’t sure about Nick at first, but liked how that part of the storyline played out.

I loved the epilogue’s peek into their family’s future. It’s a perfect ending for the story.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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