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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pairing Off...Review

About the book:
American figure skater Carrie Parker's Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in the United States, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is paired with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she's ever met.

Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he's come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he's never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to be confronted with their past…never mind share the ice with her.

When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real, Carrie and Anton's partnership will test their loyalties to family, country and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?

Figure skating is my favorite Winter Olympic sport. I won't tell you how far back I can go with skaters I remember watching, but suffice it to say, it's far. Well before the fall of communism and the Cold War, the skaters from Russia always had that mystique and allure. Even after the fall, they still had that mystique, but life was more open and less secret.

When Carrie Parker's skating partner is caught cheating with a skating judge, her world collapses and she is blacklisted from skating in the United States. Wanting nothing more than to continue her quest for Gold, she accepts an offer to partner with Russian skater Anton Belikov even though they had shared a hazy one-night stand years previously.

As Carrie and Anton work together, they find themselves attracted to each other. Carrie worries about leaving behind her family and her country behind. Anton wants to skate, not fall in love. Add in meddling publicists, a dysfunctional American family, a boisterous Russian family and a jealous former partner and you have entered the world of figure skating.

The story has some surprising depth as Carrie explores her tragic past and works to reconcile with her father. The author has also really captured the feeling of Moscow and its people and Carrie's challenges in relocating and learning a new language and culture.

I shouldn't be surprised when romance novels contain graphic sex and profanity, but I am. I always disappointed too. This one has moderately explicit non-marital and marital sex and moderate profanity that keeps it from being 4 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Elizabeth Harmon here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I remember being so fascinated with Russian olympic skaters way back in the day, too; their country and culture have always been so mysterious and exotic. Too bad this book was only so/so.

  2. I do love the idea of a romance starring figure skaters. I may have to give this one a try, even if it isn't perfect.

  3. My library says this is only an ebook - any chance it will be a printed book?

    1. I think it's only an ebook. That's how I read it and Amazon only offers a kindle version.