A MelanieM Review: Last Defense (Harrisburg Railers #5) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5


Two men afraid to feel, have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love. 

Every time Max Van Hellren steps on the ice he knows it could be his last time. At thirty-two he’s past his prime but he’s also hiding a life-threatening injury that private doctors warn could kill him. This is his last season, and there’s a chance he could lift the Stanley Cup after fourteen years in the NHL. He just needs to stay safe and healthy; difficult when he’s known for his heavy hitting and with a propensity for dropping the gloves and putting his body in the way of pucks to keep his team safe. A one-night stand with a sexy man was just what he needed, dangerous and hot, but what if it turned into more? Would he have to share the secrets he so desperately tries to hide?

Ben Worthington had it all. A fulfilling job running the CrossRoads Shelter, his loving aunts, and a husband that understood his devotion to animals. Then, the love of his life left him, succumbing so quickly to an unexpected sickness that Ben never had time to say goodbye. The violent loss scarred him. Unable to move past his fears, he moves from lonely encounter to lonely encounter, slaking a desperate need that is eating away at him, but never making a connection that could lead him back into love. One night with Max makes him want more, but will giving into the temptation open the door to feelings he can’t contain?

Can these two broken man ever find a way to be together?

Last Defense is another wonderful addition to the Harrisburg Railers hockey series by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey.  I just adore this series, written by two authors whose novels I love separately but together are producing a series that combines the excitement and camaraderie of pro hockey teams with high romance.  It just works so well!

And boy, can they write hockey! I know V.L. Locey is a true blue hockey fan and it shows! Those action scenes on ice just power off the page!  But again I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here we have a relatively new addition to the Railer’s,Max Van Hellren, signed for an injured player on the recovery list.  Max is on borrowed time.  He has a medical condition known only to him and his doctor and this is his last season.  He wants to make it count.  Immediately the authors have given us a man we can understand.  He’s a poignant character, full of passion and about to lose that which he cares about.  With nothing to take its place.

Until Ben and his dog, Bucky walk into the arena and his life.  Ben also has his own void in his life, one left when his husband died suddenly.  Now his life is filled running their no-kill shelter and spending time with his elderly, and highly political aunts.

Switching points of view gives us in depth history and ability to be able to connect with each man as they meet, maneuver through their complicated maze of feelings about each other, the swirling outside family drama that arises, and, of course, the fact that the Railers are making a run for the Stanley Cup!!

I loved the characterizations here.  Incorporating Ben’s grief and fear over the loss of his husband and then extending that to the potential loss of another is a reasonable fear here for Ben.  One he needs to work through.  And Max’s issues with his health versus his needs and goals are also realistic and believable.

Always a bonus?  Seeing some of my other series favs pop up.  Like Stan the Railers Russian goalie in search of his perfect rescue dog for his family and of course Trent Hanson’s nana dressed all in orange (Deep Edge) doing her thing in the arena. Hint.  She’s not a Railers fan.  The series, like the team, is made up of everyone we’ve come to love and like a family they appear to support each couple and their relationship.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more resolution to the family drama but maybe that;s because that awful family member might pop up again later in the series.  Can’t tell yet.  I would have loved to have seen him dealt with throughly. That’s my only slight issue here.

Otherwise I loved this tale.  Its adding up to just one more story fleshing out a team that’s unforgettable.  You don’t need to love hockey to love the Harrisburg Railers and the men who romance them.  Of course if you do, then its double and triple the fun!

Yes, I highly recommend this series and the authors.  Start at the beginning and work your way here.  It’s so much more fun that way!


Cover Design: Meredith Russell.  Love this cover.  Works so well for the characters involved.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 170 pages
Published May 16th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHarrisburg Railers #5


Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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