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Stella Brooks is a woman who knows what she wants. From her first glimpse of Paris Fashion Week at the tender age of eleven, she has only ever wanted to be a designer. Hardworking and dedicated, she knows she can make a success of it. Until…she is driven to trade fashion for frosting, a move that makes her soul sing but shakes her confidence in her decision-making to her core.

And when you add in that her sexy hookup from her older brother’s wedding is sniffing around again, things are about to get out of hand. Wesley McMillan seems different, no longer putting off love-’em-and-leave-’em vibes, which only adds to Stella’s emotional chaos.

Wesley McMillan has had a thing for Stella since she first served him a fried pickle platter at her mom’s restaurant. He may have only ordered a snack, but he found he wanted a whole meal—in the form of Stella Brooks. How could he not? She’s stunning, smart, and confident. She knows her worth and what she wants, and she owns whatever room she’s in, the ultimate turn-on for him.

He just has two problems: Stella is his best friend’s sister, and she thinks he’s a playboy. The first issue, Wes is willing to face off against. As for the second…Wes doesn’t blame Stella for her assumption. He used to love to play the field, but now that he has his demons under control, he is ready to show her and the world that he is worthy of her love.

Wes may be known for his sick signature move on the ice, but will his dirty toe drag be enough to score Stella’s heart?

288 pages, Kindle Edition

Published July 13, 2021

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About the author

Toni Aleo

81 books6,434 followers

make sure to Join my Mailing List: https://www.subscribepage.com/toniale...

My name is Toni aleo and I'm a #PredHead, #sherrio, #potterhead, and part of the #familybusiness!

I am also a wife to my amazing husband, mother of a wrestler and a gymnast, and also a fur momma to Phoebe, Gaston el Papillon & Winston.

You can usually find me hollering for the whole Nashville Predators since I'll never give my heart to one player again. When I'm not in the gym getting swole, I'm usually writing, trying to make my dreams a reality or being a taxi for my kids. I'm obsessed with Harry Potter, Supernatural, Disney and anything that sparkles! I'm pretty sure I was Belle in a past life and if I could be on any show it would be supernatural so I can hunt with Sam and Dean.

Also, could I LOVE hockey anymore?

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 201 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,809 reviews32.3k followers
June 11, 2022
4 stars

The Assassins is one of my favorite sports romance series, so of course I love the 'next generation'. This story is Stella Brooks (Fallon & Lucas Brooks daughter) and Wes McMillan.

Stella and Wes have been going around each other for months, but it's all been flirting and instagram DM'ing. One of the reasons is that Wes is best friends with Stella's oldest brother, Aiden. Until he was ready to be serious, Wes couldn't go there, but now... he is.

Wes and Stella's romance was fun, but also emotional and deep in some ways. Wes has a past he's working through and Stella is there for him and truly cares about him and his healing. I adored these two together. I loved seeing all of my favorite side characters and Wes and Stella's crazy sister, Emery's relationship was everything!
Profile Image for Tpagirl Loves Romance.
1,620 reviews130 followers
July 21, 2021
Dirty Toe Drag was the sixth book in the Nashville Assassins: Next Generation series by Toni Aleo. The series was a spin off from Aleo’s original Nashville Assassin’s series. And although I’ve enjoyed every book in both series, Dirty Toe Drag could be read as a stand-alone - but when they are all so awesome, why would you want to?!

Wesley McMillan was a professional NHL player for the Nashville Assassins. To the world looking from the outside in, Wes was a confident playboy that had it all. His best friends and team mates knew he had some childhood baggage, but they had no clue the exact baggage. And they loved him anyway.

Stella Brooks. Stella was part of the Brooks sister duo that we experienced in both Aiden (Dump & Chase, book one) and Asher’s (Spiked By Love, Bellevue Bullies book 6) stories. Both girls were scary crazy but I really enjoyed getting to know a different perspective of Stella. I loved her crazy fun side, but I also loved her loyal, playful, intelligent and confident side. She crushed on her brother’s best friend and teammate, Wes, from afar - and with a ton of flirting - but she knew her worth and didn’t want to be another notch on anyone’s belt so they remained flirty friends.

I loved both Wes and Stella and enjoyed their gradual friendship to lovers story. And my heart broke for Wes and his backstory. No spoilers, so no elaboration, but I was rooting for him and enjoyed getting to know him. And true to Aleo’s style, the story was well written, well developed, humorous, emotional and intriguing.

And OMG, I loved Emery and can’t wait for her story - maybe a great mate for Josef? But only time will tell! Either way, wherever Aleo takes us next, I’m all in!
Profile Image for Jill M.
1,180 reviews72 followers
June 28, 2021
I stayed up way too late just to finish this in one day. There’s no surprise that I loved this book either. I don’t even know where to begin with this story. Toni once again wrote a story that pulls you in and gives you all the feels. She weaved a story with laughs (Emery is a hoot), sexiness and heartfelt emotion.

Stella is another stunning and talented woman. Although she has some insecurities, she is a confident woman that is perfect for Wes. Let me tell you I did not see Wes’s past coming at me. Toni snuck that piece in there and pulled on those heartstrings. He too has insecurities but these two grew together and their relationship blossomed into something so beautiful.

Toni is the queen of hockey romance but she adds the sweet and sexy to make her stories stay with you.
Profile Image for Cindy (BKind2Books).
1,536 reviews31 followers
July 11, 2021
4.5 rounded to 5

Stunning Stella has been on a collision course with Wonderful Wes ever since the sparks flew at Aiden's wedding ( The Chase is Over - another fun NextGen story). It was simply a matter of time until their story came to the fore. It did not disappoint. If you're a fan, then you know what to expect. The story unfold from both sides and the female lead is a strong character. Stella is from the Brooks family - her dad was a longtime Assassins player and her mom is the sister of Elli Adler - so hockey is in her blood. But she loves fashion and cupcakes. She's in college but she's decided that she will stop studying fashion to pursue a career in baking. She just doesn't know how to explain this to her family.

Then there's Wes - he's in therapy for anger issues and personal things that are holding him back. He wants Stella but wants to put himself back together before he can get together with Stella. The other impediment is that Stella's brother (Aiden) is his teammate on the Assassins and his best friend and the entire team has been warned that his sisters are strictly off limits.

Wes and Stella together are just so heart-warming. As their relationship begins and they slowly reveal their innermost hopes and secrets, the love and support that they give each other is what everyone hopes for - someone in your corner, who loves and accepts you, knowing that the past does not define you, that the past is a part of you but is not the you of today. And when this story concludes you know that you'll be seeing bits of it in novels to come. There is more to be written for Stella & Wes. Yum.

Quote to remember:

I don't need to know your past to see that you could be my future.
Profile Image for Mia Book Addict.
231 reviews22 followers
March 6, 2022
Perfect timing for a new Toni Aleo book, I was going through Toni Aleo withdrawals, and you can only re-read so many times without the need of a new story :) annnnddddd here comes the Dirty Toe Drag... OMG! I loved this book. Wes and Stella are just amazing but my favorite star for the book is Emery ‘Black Widow’ Brooks :) I love that girl and I cannot wait to read her story. Hoping that won’t be too long and I feel bad for the guy already since Emery will come with one scary sister and 3 hockey players, in addition to her awesome self… Ok, let’s get back to our main characters, Wesley McMillian and Stella Ann Brooks.

Wes plays hockey for Assassins, and he was having a great time with his buddies until his BFFs went and fall in love with the Adler sisters :) (Dump and Chase & Power Play) So now he is the only single in the trio. He is happy for them and I think a part of him yearns for what they have but the other part is getting crazy with all the baby talk. So since he cannot party with his buddies, he develops a new habit and becomes ‘Wes the InstaStalker’ :) Wes was crashing on Aiden’s sister, Stella for a while but since Aiden and Shelli’s wedding (Chase is Over), their attraction went up a notch. He knows that he has to change before approaching her because she knows her worth and what she wants from him. I have loved Wes since the first book of the NextGen series and was curious about his back story. From the previous books, we got the idea that Wes has some issues even though we didn’t know the things that were holding him back but I was not ready for what I read. Before he pursuits Stella, he wants to resolve his anger issues and face everything from the past so that he can move on and feel worthy for someone like Stella. Stella is a firecracker. She is smart, independent, and strong. I love that she knows her worth but then again with the all examples before her, it is hard not to. She goes to college for her fashion degree but what she truly desires is to create amazing cupcakes just like her aunt Audrey. The problem is she is afraid to reveal this to her parents. I loved how Wes and Stella’s relationship starts slow and how Wes tries his best to woo her. Slowly but surely they get to know each other, share the secrets they never shared with anyone else. Their love getting built up from trust, caring, and honesty. Since they decide to keep the relationship a secret from Aiden until they know how serious they are for each other, it takes a bit for Aiden to catch up with all but his response also brought tears to my eyes. Just a side note, I think Aiden can never be as bad as Emery. I loved how Emery always says what she thinks and is ready to do whatever it takes to have Stella’s back, even it means throwing her brother under the bus. I adored Wes and Emery’s relationship as well, they were too cute for words.

It was also nice to see a bit of Audrey and her miracle baby girl Penelope. OMG! Of course, Shea and his wallet clutching antics continues thanks to Shelli and her need for over the top parties :) Ohhh and I was laughing so hard when our lovely Lucas started with angina just like Shea :) I am really curious who will have angina next. Maybe Tate?? I am really curious about additions to the NewGen Assassins team Jamey, Tanner, and Josef. Maybe we will see a new trio bromance in the upcoming books.

I was laughing, then crying, then laughing again. Dirty Toe Drag took me a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I adored Wes and Stella. If you are looking for a sweet, heartbreaking, funny story, this might be the book for you.

Would I recommend this book: Yes
Would I re-read this book: Done that already :)
Would I read future books by this author: Yes

e-ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Sharon.
1,631 reviews16 followers
July 9, 2021
I FLOVED this one! Yet another hit for Toni Aleo, who really outdid herself with this one! 5 hockey stars!

Stella Brooks is a firecracker. She knows what she wants and goes for it. Though she's worried because she's actually loving baking more than fashion at this point in her life. She also can't forget the time she shared with Wesley, her brother's best friend, at Aiden's wedding. But Wes was only looking for a hookup not a relationship at that time. He's got his demons he's still dealing with, but every time Stella posts a photo on Instagram, he always slides into her DM's.
I loved these two so much! Toni touches on real life struggles and tackling them with her amazing writing talent!
I honestly can't wait for Emery's story, her character in this one was the best!
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.4k reviews425 followers
July 27, 2021
I didn't expect to like this one as much as I did. Wes was a bit too much of party boy/goof ball for me. But when Stella laid out what she was looking for it really gave him some things to think about and he changed. I liked this new Wes, liked that as much as he wanted Stella, he also wanted to be a better person on his own and he did that. I also liked how he wanted to let Aiden know what was going on, to be upfront with his BFF about dating his little sister. Even with the Brooks parents he was great, but what really surprised me was he seems to be the only person that Emory can stand and not instantly want to kill, a huge thing.

Due to a lot of things, but mostly of wanting to be respectful of Aiden, Wes and Stella started out slow, spending time talking and not just talking about nothing, but big things in their lives. As they continued to spend more time the things they talked about became secrets they hadn't really been willing to say out loud yet, but it was the acceptance that allowed them to talk to others about them.

I hated how Wes went into a bit of a melt down at the end, totally understood it and was glad that Stella gave him space so that he could get his head screwed on straight, because from there it was all good for them. Leading to the last scene which was great!
Profile Image for Kathryn Linke .
2,117 reviews22 followers
July 13, 2021
Dirty Toe Drag, is the sixth title in the Nashville Assassins: Next Generation series, featuring Stella Brooks, younger sister of Aiden Brooks and daughter of Lucas and Fallon Brooks who have all featured in previous titles.
Stella and Wesley’s story is fun, steamy, and humorous, but also quite emotional.
Stella is a complex character with beauty, intelligence, and talent galore. She’s incredibly confident, strong willed, and hardworking, and has an incredibly loving and supportive family, but also has a few vulnerabilities and insecurities.
Wesley’s is Stella’s older brother’s best friend and team mate on the Assassins. He has some anger issues, and a troubled past, but a heart of gold.
Wes and Stella’s relationship is a slow burn romance, but their chemistry and connection is undeniable, and their story heart-warming.
I adored the side characters and loved the cameos from past favourites, but particularly look forward to Emery’s story in the future.
Profile Image for Jamie Guellar.
450 reviews6 followers
July 14, 2021
Toni Aleo never disappoints!! Another amazing read!! I love Stella and Wes!!

I love when heroines are strong, independent and know their self worth, and Stella didn’t disappoint!! I loved how she wouldn’t settle for less then what she deserves.

Omg Wes! My heart hurt for him! But my god what a strong man he is!! Strong and determined to beat his demons, and with a woman like Stella by his side only makes him stronger!!

And I just have to say that I freaking love Emery!! (Stella’s little sis) Omg that girl!!

Love Wes and Stella’s story!!
Profile Image for Madeleine.
3,295 reviews10 followers
July 13, 2021
This was my first book by Toni and I really enjoyed it. Great storyline, well written with amazing characters and chemistry. Looking forward to more books by Toni.
Profile Image for Sienna Martinez.
16 reviews6 followers
July 17, 2021
A Toni Aleo Book has to be my favorite emotional rollercoaster and I'll buy a front seat tkt every time!!! (Throw your hands in the air and let's go)

When I discovered Toni Aleo's 1st Assasins book I immediately respected the real life issues her characters dealt with. Dirty Toe Drag is no exception as you will witness with Wes' layers and character development. Stella is of course a fierce female (no surprise there) but even with all her confidence she deals with some insecurities.

We of course have all been salivating for Wes' book for a while as their attraction for each other has been mentioned in previous Next Gen books. Insert SWOONS NOW! Wes has chosen to become a better man because he recognized the Stunning Stella will not accept less. He chooses to deal with his past demons and we are reintroduced to him months into his progression. Your heart will break, you will cry and you will cheer for Wes when you learn of everything he has endured. His transformation form the team whore to this new Wes is remarkable.

Cue Stella Brooks and her undeniable attraction to Wes BUT it's so much more than attraction and she will not settle for just a fling. Everyone knows Stella is driven and a force to be reckoned with BUT even the most confident women have doubts sometimes. Stella's ability to love and support Wes is a beautiful aspect of this book. Of course it comes as a result of her family relationship as well from all the examples form other Assasins relationships she's been exposed to her whole life.

Together Wes and Stella form a relationship and partnership people aspire to have! We also get glimpses at some more amazing bonds like Stella and AA, Elliy Adler and the love for her players. Add in the bond Wes has with Aiden, Boone and the surprising connection he and Emery form and your heart will absolutely melt. PS Emery really steals the show and her book can't come soon enough (you'll see)

As a reader and a fan I have to give props to Toni Aleo for always keeping it real. She is no stranger to shedding light on mental health and characters that may be fiction but deal with real life issues. We love the bravery and vulnerability some characters have but I think the real admiration should go to the authors that are brave enough to create those characters. Thank you Toni Aleo for pouring your heart and soul into your novels for us your readers.
Profile Image for Andrea Martin.
71 reviews3 followers
July 13, 2021
We have been teased by Stella and Wes through the whole series. You see them eyeing each other at Brook's House. You see the secret flirting at Aiden's wedding. You know what a knock out bad ass girl Stella Brooks is, but you also know what a playboy Wes is. Will they FINALLY get their acts together and get on the same page? You have to read to find out.
Stella Brooks is only looking for forever not the for just one night. She's been there done that and dealt with the butt wipes that were her past. She's got ambitions, drive and a killer sense of style that will take her far. If only she could fess up to her family what she REALLY wants to do!
Wes McMillan has not had it easy in life. Everything he has accomplished he has worked hard for. Going from a rough family life to entering the foster system to going straight into the NHL he has overcome all of his hardships. At least that is what he wants everyone to believe. Secretly he's still battling demons that won't allow him to form lasting relationships. Going to therapy, working through the changes on his team and trying to be the stand up guy are all putting loads of pressure on him. He no longer wants to stay away from the ONE GIRL he's always wanted. Will he get his dream girl? Will Stella be able to tell her family what she really wants? You have to read to find out!
Profile Image for Elana.
85 reviews4 followers
July 14, 2021
Oh my. Wes and Stella might be my new favourite 😍 I loved the book as a whole and I couldn't put it down. Definitely a page turner. Loved the whole dynamic of Wes and Stella, I know how difficult it can be to talk about your part and current mental health and situation. I applaud Toni. You did a phenomenal job. Love it!
Profile Image for Char (1RadReader59).
2,193 reviews9 followers
February 19, 2023
Wes McMillan is finding life, hard these days. His two best friends, Aiden Brooks, and, Boon Hoenes have gotten themselves wonderful women, and both have babies on the way. And instead of talking about makes, and models of cars while out having a beer, they are arguing about, the best-made stroller. He figures out that is not, the only thing that is, bothering him. Change is hard for him, he doesn't adapt well, and lately, there has been some, emotional upheaval for the organization, as a whole.

They are out a head coach, his wife, and his child were, killed in a car accident. Everyone hurts for him he is, a good man and coach. Then, them losing their goalie, to a heart condition, and also some therapy sh!t he refuses, to give light to, for fear it gets out of control. He’s good on change, for the hot moment. He needs things, to even out. Wes needs a distraction. Problem is, the only distraction, Wes wants doesn’t want anything, to do with him. Although, that wasn’t exactly true.

She’s interested but... She said they could have fun, but wanted, to know if he planned on telling her brother, about their fun. At the time, he was in a bad way. All he could offer her then is a roll, in the hay. So, his non-answer is all, she needed. “Exactly. When you’re ready to, tell him that you enjoy feeling up his sister and want, to see where it goes, come find me. Until then, though, stay away, and have a nice life.” Stella Brooks’s rejection cut him, in half.

But, now eight months later, he has been working hard in therapy. His therapist has been, proud of him. However, he is given another blow. His therapist will be moving. The new therapist will be sitting in, during the next two sessions. And then, the current one will be on, Facetime for a while. Wes is not happy. It leaves him edgy, and off-center.

When the new week starts he got the nerve up, to ask out, Stella, and the new therapist tears him a new one for even thinking about it. Making him question himself and his recovery process. Setting him back he leaves in a huff. Elli and his therapist told him he is doing great, and that he needs, to try and, block out everything the new woman said. Because she’s been fired.

Stella is keeping her own secrets, from the family. She has always been, a very ambitious young lady. At nineteen, she is working full-time and carries a full load in college, as well as, feeding her secret passion. She gets up and bakes designer cupcakes, for her aunt’s bakery. And, she does it for free, it's a stress reliever for her. She is great at combining and mixing flavors, finding things, and, exploding on your taste buds.

This will tear at your heart for sure. There are some triggers concerning sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, of a minor. And, him working through it as an adult. It is not graphic, but it does touch on how, and what happened, and the trauma he has lived through, at the hands of his step-monster.
Profile Image for Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog).
5,031 reviews166 followers
July 13, 2021


They had a brief taste of each other at her brother's wedding, will they ever be fully on the same page? If Stella has her way, then yes, yes they will. But first, Wes has to get his head straight and admit to her that he wants more than a one time thing.

Wes knows he needs to be more than he his right now if he wants Stella in his life as more than just his best friend's little sister, but he's got a traumatic past that he hasn't told anyone about, and it's affecting his present, and his future - if he lets it. He doesn't realize that Stella could be his rock, loyal and loving, if he'd only let her in.

Oh damn, I was not expecting Wes' backstory, but though it had affected him obviously, he came through it with a huge heart, and strength that I loved. He and Stella together are adorable, with some crazy chemistry, and I fell in love with them and their story. The next gen Nashville Assassins just keep getting better and hotter with each couple.

ARC via Elle Woods PR for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Leigh Sonnekus.
438 reviews
July 14, 2021
The story of Wes and Stella will leave you as breathless as a slap shot puck to the heart!!

Toni’s Nashville Assassins: Next Generation series is just as hard hitting and brilliant as her original Assassins series!
We’ve known Wes since meeting him in Dump and Chase - Adrian and Shelli’s book - and got to know him much better in Power Play - Boon and Posey’s book. FYI: you don’t HAVE to read either of those before reading Dirty Toe Drag, because all of them are stand-alone, but why wouldn’t you - they are also both amazing! 🤷‍♀️
Anyway, my feel for Wes is that he’s a dedicated and loyal best friend; he lives for hockey (duh!), he’s a definite playboy, there are some very dark demons in his past and he has a very secret crush on Stella … one of his best friend’s younger sister. Adrian is super protective of his whole family but especially his sisters - it does not help that a) she works at their Mom’s restaurant which has become a popular team hangout and b) she’s absolutely gorgeous! Wes knows this but he just can’t help himself from falling for Stella, so he decides to face his demons and work on becoming a man worthy of her.
Stella is beautiful, she’s talented, she’s focused and she knows her worth … she’s also got some serious feelings for her brother’s best friend, which she knows will NOT go down well with Adrian. That being said, Stella decides to issue Wes with a challenge - man up and tell my brother or ship out. What ensues is the growth of a beautiful relationship between them; they started out having the hots for each other, became friends and then fell in love. During that time, Stella is facing her fears of disappointing her family and Wes reveals all his broken parts to those closest to him so they can fully embrace him, love him and help him heal.
With her usual talent, Toni writes about a sensitive and tragic topic with empathy and emotion, showing how despite what demons are in your past; there are ways to face them, conquer them and come out stronger (and so loved!) on the other side. I have so much respect for how Toni brings these topics to light and I hope she knows just how many hearts she touches and people she inspires.
There is the usual hilarity of the Assassins families while they do life and love - Emery’s book is going to be the most anticipated after reading this one, that girl is crazy! - which alone makes this a worthwhile read.
Well done Toni Aleo on another fantastic release, I absolutely love your work! 💕
36 reviews
July 13, 2021
What I Loved most? Everything… ok seriously though, I’m so addicted to these Assassins books. If your looking for your next series then stop you’ve found it, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

This book revolves around two character;
Wes McMillan, a seriously hot, talented hockey player and sometimes man slut… sorry not sorry! Wes, has his fair share of demons; he knows what it’s going to take to over come the horrific abuse he’s suffered as a child but battles each day fighting himself to achieve forgiveness for himself. Only until the wedding of his best friend does he find his best friends baby sister Stella Brooks. She is a walking talking style goddess herself.

Stella Brooks has been dreaming of becoming a top fashion designer for years, her parents have stopped at nothing to make her dreams come true but things change, dreams change and now she must accept responsibility for her deception and tell her family. That’s including her new boyfriend.
Stella and Wes hook up at her brother Aiden’s wedding, for years they’ve been playing around with fire but now that Stellas old enough Wes can’t help himself. He’d like nothing more than take Stella Brooks back to a room and screw her designer shoes off her but his friendship with her brother stops him. While Stella, knows she deserves more from Wes and is bound and determined to get him to want her as more than just a one night stand, she walks away! Fast forward many months, insta stalking, and Stella has her wish. Wes can not get his best friends sister out of his head. But is she worth losing his friend over. Fucking right she is!

I’m going to say now this book is hilarious because of Stellas baby sister Emery, her fictitious evil ways and the way Wes loves her and Stella is worth reading!

This book is so funny, so racked full of heart crushing sadness, but like always, we see how a family is not always your blood family but rather the family who’s there to help you pic up the pieces after they all fall apart. That is a perfect depiction of the Nashville Assassin Serious from the very beginning to where we are now with Wes and Stella, we have friends but then there are friends that become family❤️Family is who you choose to love…

Profile Image for FANCHON.
366 reviews5 followers
March 24, 2022
my new favorite couple

How have I not read this one before? Let me just say that I adore all the Assassins and Ice Cats books. Super love them, and and a chronic rereader so they get read fairly often. Somehow this one got missed until now, and WOW I think I’ve found my new favorite couple. This was Stella Brooks and Wes’s story. We’ve seen Stella throughout the series, and she has always been the fashionista. Now she’s struggling with the decision to change her career path, and the fear of disappointing her family. As someone who is much older than Stella, at times I felt like she was blowing it up into a much bigger deal than it really was and creating drama where there was none. But then I remembered that she was only 19, and at 19 things appeared much different than they do to me now. So I get it. She’s a people pleaser at heart and never wants to disappoint.

Wes. Oh, Wes. He has a heartbreaking past. Tragic. As a reformed playboy, he’s in therapy and is confronting his demons to become the man he wants to be. He’s kept his past from even his closest friends. The timing for him and Stella may not have been right in the past, but they are absolutely what the other one needs now. I loved watching them together, and how sweet Wes was with her. And how she supported him when he needed to be held. ❤️

Can we take a minute to appreciate the awesomeness that is the last Brooks sister? Emery is the best thing ever 😂 That crazy girl has been comedic gold throughout the books, but she was amazing in this one. She is spectacular, and her relationship with Wes was everything. Her breaking in and climbing through his window and snugging under the blankets on the couch to hug him was the sweetest thing. They have the best pseudo-sibling love.

I love that Toni Aleo takes up real life issues in her stories. People are not perfect. They have struggles. But they also have a great support system of family - both blood and by choice- that help them face their challenges.
Profile Image for Jenene.
148 reviews1 follower
July 11, 2021
Stella Brooks is a woman who knows what she wants. From her first glimpse of Paris Fashion Week at the tender age of eleven, she has only ever wanted to be a designer. Hardworking and dedicated, she knows she can make a success of it. Until…she is driven to trade fashion for frosting, a move that makes her soul sing but shakes her confidence in her decision-making to her core.

Wesley McMillan has had a thing for Stella since she first served him a fried pickle platter at her mom’s restaurant. He may have only ordered a snack, but he found he wanted a whole meal—in the form of Stella Brooks. How could he not? She’s stunning, smart, and confident. She knows her worth and what she wants, and she owns whatever room she’s in, the ultimate turn-on for him.

Stella is a young college student who has some tough decisions to make. The decision isn't only if she wants to finish school or follow her dreams, but it also involves Wes. Wes is her older brothers teammate and one of his best friends. Even though Stella has wanted Wes for years, she refuses to take any steps with him until he tells her brother. Stella doesn't want a one time thing with Wes she wants a future with him. Wes has had a rough life. He is plagued by shame and guilt from events in his past. He wants Stella but doesn't believe he can be the man she wants or deserves. Can both of them overcome their fears and make a life with each other?

This was a good read. While it can be read as a stand a lone, which is how I read it, there were some references to things that I'm sure previous books would lend context to. Even with that the book was well written but for more it did drag just a little in the middle. Also while I loved Stella, outside of how he embraced Emery I did not connect to Wes. I usually love the bad boy with a troubled past with redemption type of story, but I did not get that with Wes. There was definitely some emotional parts, some parts that may trigger readers, but it ended with an HEA.
466 reviews3 followers
July 17, 2021
Any time, and I mean ANY time Ms. Toni Aleo releases a new book, I know to block out a few hours, and definitely to not start reading said new book right before bed. OR, at least I SHOULD know by now!!! Yep, I did it again, I started this wonderful book right before bed, and yes, I finished this FREAKING FANTASTIC BOOK 2 hours before I had to get up to go to work. I dragged at work my whole shift, but it was SOOOOOO worth it!!
DIRTY TOE GRAG IS A DEFINITE WINNER IN MY HONEST OPINION!!!! When I found out about this book, I could not wait for it to hit my Kindle.
Stella and Wes are the perfect pairing! Add in cupcakes and Emery, I could not put this book down. Dirty Toe Drag is an emotion laden book. I laughed (so hard I had tears in my eyes) at times, I cried happy and sad tears, yes there were some angry times, and oh my gosh, there were times I just wanted to hug Wes, Stella and Emery. (Ms. Aleo, Emery NEEEEEDS a book of her own!!!)
I really enjoyed seeing some of the past characters from previous books, first gen as well. I must finish here. My every thought right now will give something away, and really do not want to ruin the book for you. I will say this: Emery is the queen of the zingers, and at the most appropriate time!! I cannot say more, just read the book. On this note, Ms. Aleo, we need more story on this “cat”!
I was gifted with a copy of this book because of my love of reading and my thoughts and opinions of the book. In my honest opinion, Ms. Aleo is one of the best hockey romance writers out there. She definitely brings the reader into the story and does not let them out.
THANK YOU, Ms. Aleo for sharing your phenomenal writing talents with your readers.
Thank you for reading my review. Now, go hit that purchase button from your favorite retailer. I know you will not be disappointed!
Profile Image for Morgan Sibbett.
259 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2021
Wesley is something else. He’s gone through some stuff and I mean some serious stuff. So it’s easy to say that he’s a one and done kinda guy and he’s perfectly fine with that. That is until the one woman that intrigues him beyond all others gives him an ultimatum of sorts. Take her on a date and also tell his best friend, her brother that he’s going out with her. Who’s this woman? Well it’s Stella Brooks, Aidens little sister.

Stella is at a cross roads. She knows what she wants when it comes to men, AKA Wesley, but she’s unsure of what she’s going to do career wise. Does she follow her passion for fashion that she’s had her whole life and that her parents have helped fund? Or does she go with her new found passion and help her aunt run her bakery?

This book was GREAT! I loved both Wesley and Stella. Wesley has gone through some shit. Like absolute total shit. I would even say that there should be trigger warning for some people if they’ve gone through something similar. Stella and Wesley were so sweet with each other and when eventual shit went down Stella wasn’t keen on being pushed away and she persisted.

Also can I just say Toni knew what the readers wanted and she gave it to them short of giving them her own book. Yes I’m talking about Emery! Emery is on another level! She steals every book she’s in and she has quickly become the most anticipated character to get their own book since Aiden. Emery is Stella’s little sister and best friend. Emery is the literal version of ride or die. I legit cannot wait for emery’s book. Although I’m thinking we’re a few books away from getting hers.
164 reviews4 followers
July 3, 2021
Toni Aleo has done it again, brought us a beautiful story of a broken man who is on the mend and added in one of her strong females to love him through the process. As usual, Toni Aleo does not shy away from tough mental health issues and tackles the reality of overcoming adversity with the help of a strong support system and loving friends.
We have seen both Stella and Wes in prior Assassin books and have loved Wes’ bromance with Aiden and Boon just as much as the slightly demented relationship between Stella and her crazy sister Emery but Dirty Toe Drag gives us a much closer look at these two and the love they have to offer.
Wes is on the mend, after years of therapy and surrounding himself with teammates that love him, he is ready for a relationship. Although Wes and Stella had a moment during Aiden and Shelli’s wedding, Stella made it clear she was not looking for a good time, but a relationship. The stars have finally aligned for these two!
I loved the slow roll of their relationship, taking the time to get to know each other, enjoy each other’s company and of course Crank up the sexual tension.
Once committed, there are still obstacles but they find a way to overdone them together (with a little help from Emery!) and get the HEA we knew the would!
Speaking of Emery, she is a certifiably nuts but at the same time I loved the friendship she offered Wes and the love they shared, along with way too much sushi.
Another Assassins winner from Toni Aleo, looking forward to more of this next generation!
Profile Image for Erin Lewis.
4,193 reviews134 followers
July 8, 2021
5 star Review Dirty Toe Drag (Nashville Assassins: Next Generation #6) by Toni Aleo

I have only read a few books by Toni Aleo but I have to say I am addicted to this Nashville Assassins: Next Generation series. Every book gets better and better and I have loved reading each and every one of them.

This is Stella Brooks and Wesley Mc McMillan’s story and it was a great addition to the series. As a child Stella had a plan , she always wanted to be a designer. However, when her focus changes, she finds herself on another path and second guessing her decisions.

Having previously hooked up with Wes at her brother’s wedding. Stella is surprised when he shows up and appears to be interested in pursuing a relationship with her, after all he has a reputation as a player and not one for commitment. There is so much more to Wes that meets the eye, underneath is a man who has struggled, a man who has finally comes to terms with his past and is now ready to find a lasting love, hopefully with Stella. .

I read this book in one go, I simply couldn’t put it down, I had to know what happened and stayed up way to late so that I could finish this one; such was the story that Ms. Aleo wove. The slow burn as their relationship built was heart warming. I adore Stella's sister Emery, she is quirky and a bit of a fruitcake, but so much fun and the camaraderie that Wes has with Boon and Aiden really added an extra layer to the story.

I can’t remember the last time I cheered for a couple to get their happily ever after like I did for Stella and Wes.
Profile Image for Sheila Schoenauer.
811 reviews9 followers
July 9, 2021
I'm only allowed to give this book a max of 5 stars. But seriously this book deserves at least a 10 star rating! Omg I absolutely love these 3! And when I say 3 I mean Wes, Stella, and Emery. Yes seriously, Emery. If you don't understood why then you haven't read this book yet. That girl has the makings of an epic story and I hope she gets her own book! Water Bottle Killer!! 😂😂

Now on to Wes and Stella. These two are perfectly imperfect and I love them. Individually they are great characters. Together they are love goals. I had so many tears in my eyes reading this book. Happy tears and sad heartbreaking tears. Wesley's story is so heartbreaking. It's no wonder he is still fighting his demons. But he has become a strong determined man. I couldn't help but love him. I love Stella too. She’s a smart hardworking young woman with a strong head on her shoulder. She's not perfect, especially when it comes to her confidence in her future/family. But she is easy to relate to. She comes from a well off family yet she doesn’t use that to her advantage. Speaking of the Brooks family. I loved their family interactions. They were the perfect comedic relief when we needed to lighten the air.

This book has earned a special place in my heart. Wes and Stella have become my favorite couple of the year. I'm sad that this book ended but love their HEA! And again I can't forget Emery! She goes strong straight through the epilogue!! ❤

*I voluntarily read an advanced copy of this book for my honest and unbiased review*
Profile Image for Pam.
1,428 reviews15 followers
July 13, 2021
4.5 Stars
Wes has been crushing on Stella for a long time now. Problem is she is his best friend Aiden's sister. They have all been warned that his sister's are off limits. He has turned into an Instagram stock just so he can see her smile. He even eats dinner at her mom's restaurant 3 times a week so he can see her at work. His childhood was very bad and although he is working on getting past it he does not think he is good enough for Stella. She flirts with him all the time but never anything more.

Stella can not wait for the nights Wes comes into the restaurant. She loves getting to see him. She would like more but his reputation is that he is not interested in something long term. Stella is looking for forever. One night she asks him to go to a party with her as friends. They have a great time together. When she drops him off at home he asks her to go on a date with him. She hesitated but agrees.

Wes's number on worry is if this works out how is he going to tell Aiden. He is his best friend and he doesn't want to lose him.

When there date goes very well Stella opens up to Wes about some secrets she has been keeping from her family. He has secrets of his own but he is not ready to share them yet. His secret go deep into his soul and he needs to know this relationship is going somewhere before he can open up to her.

There are definitely obstacles to jump over to make this relationship work. Can Wes fully open up to Stella with his whole heart? Will Stella still want him when she finds out his secrets?

*** Advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review. ***
July 13, 2021
I have to say that it's been a while since I've read a book from Mrs. Aleo and I usually read everything from her. I've been a long long long time fan of hers and of her Nashville Assassins' even before they were published. If you haven't read any of Mrs. Aleo's books or if you haven't read any of the Assassins' books I'll give you a little break down of who's book this is. So this is Stella Brooks’ and Wesley McMillan’s story. Stella is the daughter of Fallon and Lucas Brooks (TRYING TO SCORE, Nashville Assassins #2) and the sister of Aiden Brooks (DUMP AND CHASE, Nashville Assassins: Next Generation #1). Wes is Aiden’s best friend and teammate.

If ya don't remember Stella and Wes kinda made out at her brother Aiden and Shelli's wedding. I couldn't wait to get my hands on their book. But we had to wait to get our hands on this particular couple, lol. But I have to say it was definitely worth the wait.

I loved Wes and Stella right off the bat. I honestly and truly believed right off that they belonged to each other. I loved Stella, she was the right amount of sweet and sassy. And Wes was just the right amount of sweet and charming.

I have to say of course I loved seeing everyone else make an appearance in this book. Especially Stella's sister Emery, she just cracked me up and I can't wait for her book.

I'm giving this book 4.5 Stars out of 5 and can't wait for whatever is next!!!!

**I received an ARC of this book for my honest opinion**
Profile Image for MD.
21 reviews
July 13, 2021
I've got to admit that I have waited a long time for this book. I absolutely love the Brooks family! They are so fun they love each other and they are hilarious! It did not disappoint. The story between Wes and Stella began a couple of books ago in the series so if you haven't read those I would highly suggest it. However, you don't have to read those to fall in love with these characters in this book. Been waiting for the backstory on Wes for quite some time and it really really delivered. I liked how Toni Aleo really really covered sensitive topics in such oh way that really shows what real people are dealing with and how they deal with it.

Wes is a tough hockey player but he has always had his eye on his best friends sister Stella and the time has finally come where they decide they will take a step forward. Like any couple they have issues. Wes is bringing a lot of baggage and Stella also has some secrets that she is keeping from her family, which is hard to do. They really compliment each other.

One of the stars of this book is Emory, Stella’s younger sister. (In every book she makes an appearance she steals the show in my opinion.) She does not mince words for anything or anyone and really has no filter. It is almost guaranteed that when she is in the room there will be a riot.

If you are looking for two people to deal with their issues and make each other better, then get this book! Be prepared to fall in love with the Brooks family because. They love hard and do not hold back their thoughts … especially Emory!
Profile Image for Eleanor.
945 reviews28 followers
September 8, 2021
4.5 Nashville Assassins Stars

Dirty Toe Drag is the sixth book in the Nashvillle Assassins: Next Generation series by Toni Aleo. I didn't read this when it first came out for some reason and when I realised I missed it I got straight on to it.

Stella Brooks is a woman who knows what she wants but is not always able to voice it to the people she loves. She plays the confident woman and in most ways she is that woman but when it comes to her family sometimes this is hard. When it comes to Weslet McMillan she knows she wants him but she wants him to be more series before she will give him a chance.

It made me believe that every queen can find her king.

Wesley McMillan a professional NHL player for the Nashville Assassins. He is also a man slut reformed and bettering himself everyday. After getting with Stilla at his best friends wedding, who also by the way is his best friend, he decides he need to get his past squared away before he will be worthy of the great Stella Brooks.

You have to do what makes you happy. You only have one life. Do you want to spend it doing something you love or something everyone else thinks you love?

This was such a great read, Stella and Wes was a slow building relationshop and were so great together. The hot chemistry from the two of them was amazing and their story was heart-warming. I couldn't put this book down and highly recommend this read. I look forward to more in this series.

Profile Image for Booked on Lattes.
278 reviews10 followers
July 2, 2021
Oh my heart, this book! I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I always think it can’t get any better with Toni Aleo’s books, but then with every new book I end up falling even more in love with than the one before.

Toni is a master at writing perfectly imperfect characters, and Wes is no different, but I was not prepared for the way my heart broke for him. Understanding his story (warning that it involves a sensitive subject) and seeing what he has overcome makes him even more lovable to me! Well that, as well as that he is described as a Viking 😂 The best part is, he started healing himself before he seriously pursued Stella, so even though she is exactly what he needs, he was working on being the right guy for her before they even went on a date.

It was great to see all the Assassins family back and see what some of my other favorites were up to. Not to mention getting to know Stella’s sister Emery a little more because if you’ve read the previous books you know she’s crazy in the best of ways! I think this is the longest an Assassin book has waited for the steamy parts, but I am totally okay with it as it made sense and really was just all the better when it happened.

I cried, I laughed, I wanted to eat cupcakes, and I was worked up over the hockey action just like it was my own team fighting for a playoff spot! Thank you Toni for the giving us Wes and Stella’s story!

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