Toni Aleo is on a winning streak with book nine in Assassins series, FACE-OFF AT THE ALTAR. Markus Reeves is struggling in the AHL, torn up about how his relationship ended with college girlfriend, Mekena Preston. Meanwhile, Mekena still feels betrayed by Markus and her sister, Skylar. Mekena is hired to photograph Lucy Sinclair’s and Benji Paxton's wedding. Markus is an honorary member of the Sinclair family, so the two are forced to face each other. This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult and adult audiences. It takes place in Nashville, Tennessee.
We first met Mekena and Markus in the Bellevue Bullies series. Markus played hockey with the Sinclairs on the Bullies. Mekena and Avery (Jace Sinclair’s wife) are best friends. She is also, the younger sister of Skylar Preston, who caused numerous conflicts in the Bellevue series. I never liked the girl; she is the opposite of Mekena. Mekena and Markus are both likeable characters. They have a lot of issues to resolve in this story, including family drama on both sides. They discover some painful information pertaining to their past that they need to heal from. My heart broke for both characters.
Markus is a great guy. I felt horrible about what happened to him. He feels incredibly guilty for what happened with Skyler and beats himself up over it. He is great with kids. He is competitive. He has a wonderful personality. His Christmas present to Mekena and her mother were extremely thoughtful. Mekena is a sweet person and a talented photographer. She is smart. She is sarcastic. I love that they both went to counseling. They are an adorable couple that endure a lot.
I love that Markus is considered family by the Sinclairs and that they look out for him. I appreciate that they tell it how it is and don’t sugar coat things. I love the banter between the Sinclairs. I enjoyed Avery’s cat, Mr. Right. His name and personality amused me. Mekena’s Aunt Libby is an interesting character that added a lot to the story.
Toni Aleo continues to amaze me. Her stories are heartfelt and believable. I love that they make me experience every emotion. I cry; I laugh; I get mad and frustrated. The characters are lovable but have flaws. They are realistic and people you would want to be friends with. Her plots have substantial content that is meaningful and relevant. Her hockey scenes are always easy to visualize and well written. I cannot wait for her next story. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.