Series: Assassins #9
Genres: Sports Romance
Also in this series: Rushing the Goal
Also by this author: Rushing the Goal
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.
I expected something a little lighter and humorous. This is NOT light or humorous. Actually, despite that beautiful cover, it was a bit dark. Face Off at the Alter was not what I expected at all!
On its face, you have a 2nd chance love story. Markus and Makena were a thing a little over a year ago. He cheated and she cut him out of her life. But….there is so much more going on than that!!! Markus is a hot mess. He is not playing so well and his time off the ice is spent drunk and whoring around. While I went into the book expecting to HATE Markus, that really isn’t the case.
There are some light hearted moments, usually courtesy of the Bellevue boys (from the Bellevue series) which helped lighten the overall tone of the story. Both Markus and Makena are somewhat insecure and sometimes I wanted to shake them. I think their actions made them seem far younger than they really were, and that was irritating at times. My biggest struggle with this book (as with other Toni Aleo books) is the length. I felt it could have been 100 pages shorter. Some parts felt so drug out I skimmed. There is certainly more to the story than meets the eye, so if you are looking for a book with depth, heartache, and bone deep love, Face Off at the Alter is a great pick.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: a few…
- Trope: second chance
- Triggers: View Spoiler »
- Series/Standalone: stand alone within an interconnected series
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
- HEA: View Spoiler »
“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.