“He Has Charm” is part of the ‘Boston Brawlers’ series of hockey romances by author Stephanie Queen. Although it’s part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. This is a forbidden romance, forced proximity, slow burn story with great dialogue and plenty of entertaining situations. It also delivers some surprising deep emotional impact.
Maddox doesn’t do relationships, although he values and respects women. Believe me, he has reasons for his complete avoidance of a committed relationship. When members of his hockey team give him a birthday surprise that goes terribly wrong, the resulting video of the escapade get him quickly traded. A junior agent he doesn’t know, representing his sports agent, informs him of the trade and gives him paperwork to sign. Harper then informs him that she’s going to be his watchdog, babysitter, and “handler”, tasked with keeping him out of trouble until the end of the season. No drinking, no partying, and no women! Despite his shock over everything that’s happened, Maddox is a good sport about it all. Harper is determined to do what she needs to do to impress her boss and earn the much-needed bonus she’s been promised if she can get the charming hockey player to the end of the season without any problems. The biggest problem? The mutual attraction between Maddox and Harper is so strong it practically lights up the air between them but acting on it would get them both fired
Both lead characters are immediately appealing. After immediately finding out about the video that gets Maddox extradited, I couldn’t imagine how the author would make him redeemable enough to deserve a happy conclusion to his story. Well, I shouldn’t have doubted the skills of Stephanie Queen. Details of the backstories for both Maddox and Harper are revealed at an excellent pace to keep the story moving, and continually build interest in them separately and as a potential couple. There are multiple surprises in the plot that I’ve been careful not to reveal because you should discover them for yourself. The ending was nicely done, and left me smiling.