Friday, December 30, 2016

Blog Tour: Face-Off at the Altar by Toni Aleo!

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Markus Reeves is sucking. Big-time. Toiling away on a minor-league hockey team hundreds of miles away from home, he's watching his dreams of an NHL career fade away. Add in the lingering guilt he has over the dramatic demise of his relationship with college girlfriend, Mekena, and he's a mess on and off the ice.

But the family of his heart, the Sinclairs, won't let Markus suffer any longer. When he arrives himself back in Nashville for a trial run on the Assassins, it feels like his life may be making a turn for the better. If only he could get Mekena to forgive him...

Mekena Preston has been hurting since fleeing Nashville following the horror of Markus's betrayal with her sister. Now a professional photographer, Mekena finds herself in the same place at the same time with Markus to celebrate Lucy and Benji Paxton's wedding. Neither of them has been able to move on—and they're starting to wonder if they really want to.

They're headed for a face-off at the altar unless they can confront their past and unearth the truth about what really happened on that fateful night.

“You are, by far, the most patient man I know.”
Baylor grimaced as she took Dawson from Markus’s outstretched hands. He smiled as Dawson looked at him innocently. He knew the little guy didn’t mean to puke all over him and he wasn’t upset, but he was trying to figure out a way to get to the house and shower before he had to talk to Mekena. He highly doubted that baby puke would be an aphrodisiac. Maybe it would be? Huh.
He wasn’t going to try, though.  
As Baylor cuddled Dawson against her, Markus waved her off. “It’s no big deal. He’s a baby.”
She smiled shyly. “Yes, but Ashlyn pooped on you too.”
He grinned as he shrugged, trying not to laugh. It was a tough rehearsal for Dawson, Ashlyn, and Markus. Puke and poop were big-time stars during the hour of watching the Sinclairs and Grace Justice try to put together a wedding. He wasn’t sure what was funnier, Jace glaring as Jordie walked with Avery, or Ashlyn farting and then realizing she had just shit all over him. It was a toss-up, but then Dawson decided to puke down the front of his shirt, and he figured he was now a substitute for a baby rag. “I volunteered.”
“Still, we’re really sorry,” Avery said, holding Ashlyn close as she rocked her back and forth. “I understand if you don’t want to watch her ever again.”
“Nonsense,” he said, laughing as he tucked his hands into his pockets and looked around. He spotted Mekena at the front of the altar, taking pictures of random things. He wasn’t sure if she was done, but maybe he could slip away. “How much longer until y’all are done?”
“We’re done, but Lucy and Benji have some pre-wedding pictures they’re having done with Angie.”
“So Mekena isn’t done?”
Avery smiled. “Nope, she’s got a bit.”
“Can you pass a message for me?”
“Let her know that I went back to the cabin to shower and clean up?”
“Yeah, of course. I’ll tell Jace to tell her since I’m taking Ashlyn to bed.”
“Cool, thanks,” he said, kissing her cheek and then Baylor’s, before rubbing Dawson’s head. “I’ll see you guys in the morning.”
Before he could get far, though, Baylor smiled. “Thanks again.”
“Anytime. I mean that.”
Avery smiled. “Thanks.”
“Also, good luck,” Baylor added.
Flashing them both a big grin, he nodded. “I need it.”
Heading out the back, he made it back to the cabin quickly. When he entered, though, Mr. Right was sitting on the windowsill howling. “Whoa, man. What’s up?”
Meoooooowwwwwwww, he wailed, with his mouth wide open as his hair stood on end.
“Bro, I don’t know what to say. I don’t speak your language. Are you singing? Do you want me to sing too? Meoooowwwwww,” he said, and Mr. Right looked back at him, almost with a glare. “We should add some beat to that and make a remix,” Markus joked as the cat wailed. Deciding that was a good idea, he pulled out his phone and started to beatbox as the cat wailed, recording it on his SnapChat. The cat must have realized what he was doing because he looked back, scowling, and Markus hid his phone. He didn’t want to admit it, but Mr. Right kind of freaked him out.

Christy's Review: 

4 stars!

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So this is book number 9 in Toni’s Assassins series. If you’re like me and you’ve read the first 8 (along with the 3 Bellevue Bullies books that tie in) you’re probably a super fan, love sports romance, and realize that Toni really does write the best hockey books. The Assassins are my favorite team, anyways. And if you’ve kept up with the series, you know this team is more than a team. They’re a family. I love that bond. That connection all these players and their families share. Every time I read one of these books it feels like coming home to me. But enough about that, lets get to the book at hand, Face-Off at the Altar. Markus and Mekena’s story.

Markus and Mekena’s story is a second chance romance. The two dated in college and were very much in love. Something horrible happened that tore them apart and they haven’t seen each other in 2 years. That’s where we are at the start of this story. Markus is focused on his NHL career. As much as he misses and thinks of Mekena, he’s pretty sure he missed his shot and he has to stay focused on what he can control. Getting signed with his dream team, The Assassins.
He had a goal. He had an endgame, and he was going to get there. Doing it the only way he knew how. Work: pure and simple. No distractions. No worrying about the past. Only the future. His future. The NHL.

When a wedding brings Markus and Mekena back together, he changes his tune. Markus has to get down to the bottom of what happened between the two of them, and try to win his girl back. The problem: Mekena hates his guts. She really loves him, but hating someone who hurt you so deep is easier. So she focuses on the hate.

Markus is resilient. And he’s a fantastic hero. Is he perfect, no. But he’s also been hurt in a big way and my heart hurt for him. I felt for him. I wanted Mekena to give him that chance so badly and for them to work it out. Mekena is a stubborn one. Much like most of Toni’s heroines, she’s tough but also soft. She has a good heart, and even though it was broken, she’s a forgiving and loving person deep down. I rooted for this couple to heal together and make it work. I really did love them both.

Markus and Mekena’s story is complicated. It’s not what it seems and not what you think. This is a story of love, forgiveness, family and second chances. This book gave me so many feels. I felt so much for these characters. I cried, I laughed, and I loved. The Assassins are one of those groups that Aleo could write dozens and dozens of books about and I would never stop reading. If you haven’t read this series you’re really missing out! And although I feel like this could easily be read as a stand-alone, you’ll get so much more out of it if you read the series in full!

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My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?

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