I was very surprised by the emotional depth of this particular book. In the first two book of the In the Zone series, there was a very strong emotional core of every book, but this book in particular struck me as very strong.
The story follows Alex, the resident playboy of the Barracudas team and how he comes to terms with having an actual relationship. His growth and development through the book absolutely fascinated me. His love interest is Claire, the sister of the love interest in On the Surface. Claire is recovering from a bad divorce of her ten year marriage that happened at the end of On the Surface. Her healing and getting back in to dating is good to read about as well, but I think Alex was by far the more interesting character. There is the normal hassling he receives from his teammates, running in to exes, and learning to share his life with another person. He is also dealing with issues from his past that really make you feel for him and hope he makes things work with Claire. It was fun, though, to see Claire grow into being a strong hockey girlfriend and learn to spread her wings after her divorce. She even organizes a fundraising event I though was awesome. You also get a better feel for the team dynamics in this book. It is interesting to get to know the other players a little better. I am hoping some of the others get a book soon. Hart and Jeremy also play a minor role in this book which was nice to see, but they are more prominent in Across the Line.
Like the other books, there is a lot of hockey in it which is nice for fans. Granted, it’s not a huge lot, as it is a novella, but it is definitely a part of the story and it is integrated beautifully. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for an intense, beautiful read for a day. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading On the Surface first. There are a few things you learn in it that makes things in this book a little more clear. This book parallels with the second book Across the Line. The story lines are occurring at the same time. It is definitely a good romance without tripping over into erotic, which is great for a romance novella. It is even hard for me to classify this as a novella as it is a rather long one, which I thoroughly appreciated with the strong development of the story.