Review: Under The Spotlight by Kate Willoughby

Posted on December 30, 2015 in 4 Stars, Review

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Review: Under The Spotlight by Kate WilloughbyUnder The Spotlight by Kate Willoughby
on December 14, 2015
Genres: Sports Romance
Series: In the Zone #4
Published by Carina Press
Source: NetGalley

Copy for review provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Stage actress Christine Caspary couldn't care less about hockey, but when she first sees Joe Rutherford playing in a Barracudas game her mind goes to all sorts of dirty places. By happy chance, her work with Grant A Wish gives her an opportunity to meet him in the flesh.

Right winger Joe Rutherford saw Christine perform when the team went to see Chicago and was so taken with her, he secretly saw the show a second time, alone. When the gorgeous actress with spectacular legs contacts him out of the blue asking for a favor, it's a no-brainer.

Their chemistry is off the charts. Things heat up quickly and they can't keep their hands off each other. Soon they're hooking up whenever their busy schedules allow and having hot phone sex every night at midnight when they don't. But Joe's time in the hockey spotlight is fading, just as Christine's star begins to rise. When she gets her big break into a TV career, how will Joe take to being the arm candy for a change?

This is the fourth book in the hockey romance series, In The Zone, but my first time reading this author. I’m a sometime hockey fan – I live in a city that has a hockey team (The Winnipeg Jets) and I’ll watch the occasional game, though I’m not consumed by the sport. But when it comes to romances that combine sports with sexy scenes and a compelling story, I’m definitely interested. (Also, the hero is from Winnipeg! So how could I pass that up?!)

Christine is a stage actress, on the cusp of making the big break onto a cable tv series (the kind with lots of sex and violence). She’s involved in a children’s charity, Grant A Wish, and one of the young girls she meets happens to have a serious crush on Joe, a hockey player for the local Barracudas team. When she contacts him through their agents to see if Joe would be interested in helping out with the organization, Joe is quite happy to oblige – especially because Christine is an actress he’s seen and admired on stage, and the chance to meet her in person leaves him a little bit awestruck. He’s a celebrity in his own right of course, but one who’s starting to lose his appeal as his hockey career is on the waning edge. As Christine and Joe connect, their changing fortunes impact their burgeoning relationship. Will their shared experiences keep them together or will the wave of the future break them apart?

What an enjoyable story! I found it to be a very steady paced and interesting read, with lots of well researched parts about both Joe and Christine’s careers. As a stage actress, Christine knows the move to TV is one that can make or break her future, and also one that will change per public persona (for better or worse). But she’s willing to take the risks with the paparazzi for the commercial success that she’s been gunning for, for several years. I liked all of the scenes describing her experiences behind the stage, and with the auditioning process and so on for the tv show. Christine came across as a smart, confident and sexy woman. Joe too is no stranger to the public eye. As an accomplished hockey player, he’s been on a winning and losing team and seen the fallouts from both. He’s a determined, strong man – but he’s also smart enough to know that his career is winding down, and he doesn’t have the stamina that he used to. There are several scenes describing on ice action (the hockey kind! I know what you were thinking!) and Joe is also a mentor for an up and coming player, so we see some scenes detailing the kind of struggles new players to the game have as well. Lots of bromance too, with Joe’s hockey teammates having an important role in the story.

Joe and Christine connect from the start, and share several very steamy scenes, as Christine isn’t shy detailing what she wants and Joe is more than happy to deliver. But the sex isn’t enough to keep things going, as they encounter the long distance reality of him playing for a successful hockey team and Christine having to travel to where the work is for her acting career. On top of that, Joe struggles with the reality of the sex scenes that are in Christine’s scripts, and how his past relationship (that included a cheating ex who bared all to the public) affects his current one is part of their problems to overcome. Of course they eventually get past all the conflicts that bar their way, and we get a wonderful happy ending for the couple. I’m looking forward to catching up on the series and hearing more about the Barracudas team! 4 stars.

Maria Rose



On my TBR!!!- Mandy


About Kate Willoughby

Kate is in love with the sport of hockey and the entire Los Angeles Kings team. Having lived most of her life completely uninterested in professional sports, she is surprised at the intensity of her enthusiasm and her growing collection of Kings merchandise: a Dustin Brown jersey, 3 T-shirts, 5 lapel pins, 3 hats, several play-off towels, a purple sequined jacket, 2 replica Stanley Cup Champions banners, a Christmas ornament, blanket, a car windshield sticker, a license plate frame, and the pièce de résistance, an autographed collector card with a swatch from Justin William’s game-worn jersey. Yeah. Don’t judge her.

She has held a variety of jobs–podiatrist’s assistant, telemarketer, typist, gift wrapper, painter, illustrator’s assistant, paste-up artist, calligrapher, teacher, transcriptionist and barista–but her favorite by far is author. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, their two sons, and a Chihuahua named Mochi.

She is also a member of the Romance Writers of America and Los Angeles Romance Authors and winner of the 2009 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy/Paranormal Erotic Romance.


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  • Ada H

    Thanks for the review, making sure I pick up a copy!