Series: Scoring Chances #1
Published by Dreamspinner Press on November 27th 2015
Genres: M/M, Sports Romance
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Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He's put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.
This was definitely a light, quick, fun read, with hot guys and hockey!
What I absolutely loved:
-Jared Shore. Jared Shore is everything. He makes the book, he totally made me keep reading and reading. Had this book been in Jared’s POV this would’ve been a 5 star for me. He was just precious. His way of thinking, how badass he was on and off the ice, his patience with Lane, his backstory and his determination. Jared is an awesome MC. Loved him, so much.
-Realistic hockey, ECHL hockey and the shout outs to Cincinnati. I live in Cincinnati and the Cyclones are kind of a big deal around here. For a minor team, they rock, and they actually play in a big arena btw. Anyways, I love more realistic hockey stories than the typical “he became an NHL player right away”. I think the hockey parts of the book were spot on. And this gem almost made me spit my drink:
Leafs games cost approximately the same as exotic beach vacations, if exotic beach vacations ended in disappointment and tears.
-Low angst/no unnecessary drama. Loved that, loved that there was no “big misunderstanding” or too much angst or unnecessary drama. This was just a simple love story about boy meeting boy and boy falling for boy, which I loved. Kudos to the author for that.
-Most of the secondary characters. Loved all of the teammates for both Jared and Lane and even the parents.
-The underlying themes of coming out, facing your fears and acceptance. Love when a story has a nice HEA and acceptance prevails.
-The sex, duh. There was some hot sex.
What I didn’t love:
-Lane Courtnall. Sadly I didn’t love Lane. Now, I do get that he’s socially awkward and that he’s been sheltered because his entire life revolves around hockey. I do think that’s very accurate amongst hockey players. There’s definitely a few that come to mind that I could tell even on interviews that they are so socially awkward is not even funny. However, Lane was just too much. Too awkward, too out of character and over the top. It was too distracting and in my opinion takes away from the story. Same thing with Zoe, didn’t care much about her, didn’t like her either. I felt like she was way too prominent in the book. And the references to her boobs were off putting. His conversations with Zoe were really, really painful to follow through because they were so over the top. I did enjoyed his interactions with Jared. I loved that Jared would tell it to him like it is and loved the references to The Neverending Story but man did I wanted Lane to just shut up most of the time. He was such a stark contract to Jared, night and day. There were some funny lines though:
“And now he was having pizza and a cold beer, and the hot guy was sitting across from him in his apartment with his hair sticking up and no shirt on. Saying weird things and making Jared want to hit him in the mouth sometimes. That was all right.”
“Oh my God,” Jared groaned, staring up at the ceiling. “Sometimes, Lane? Sometimes I think if I typed ‘douche-bag hockey player’ into Google, it’d give me a picture of you.”
Despite the things above I really enjoyed the book, especially the last 40% or so. I think the ending was just beautiful. This is my first Avon Gale book but it will definitely not be my last. I’ve been going back and forth between 3 stars and 4 stars with this one. I really, really liked the book, cause hello, gay guys and hockey, but like I said above, there were some things I just wished were different. Normally, I would rate this a 3 star, but because I’m absolutely in love with Jared Shore I will give this one 4 stars. Oh, and I loved the preview for the Ethan and Riley story. I have a feeling that Save of the Game will be all sorts of awesome and I can’t wait!!!
*An ARC was generously provided by the author*
Jared turned the shower on full blast and stared at himself in the mirror while the bathroom filled up with steam. There was the fading remnant of a black eye from that game in Baton Rouge the weekend before, and Lane’s ridiculous punch had given him the slightest bruise on his jaw. He also had the first scruff of a beard growing in, more red than blond, and the scar from where he’d been cut by a skate when he was twelve was a thin, white line down his left cheek.
It was gratifying to think someone as hot as Lane Courtnall thought he was attractive. Sure. But he was too old for this. Jared hadn’t ever been too picky about who he took to bed, whether they were girls or guys, as long as they wanted to be there and didn’t mind that he usually left town the next day. But he’d learned not to fuck his teammates, and while he might have broken that rule a time or two to get his dick sucked, he knew better than to do anything else.
As of late he’d mostly left all of that to his younger teammates. Like tonight, when he’d come back to the room to find Wynn sucking some girl’s admittedly amazing tits. He’d politely declined the offer for a threesome and decided to go to the bar instead—and very nearly broken every rule he had so he could fuck Courtnall. Sure, Courtnall was pretty, but it was more than that. It was how Courtnall was clearly attracted to him, had no idea what to do about it, and thought that Jared might not notice. How he’d offered him chicken fingers and shared the last one, had argued with a seasoned veteran about how hockey worked, and didn’t back down, even though Jared could be a scary son-of-a-bitch when he wanted.
How he’d stared at Jared’s hands when he went to pay for his drinks. The way he’d looked at him when they were standing by the highway. That whole “Tell me when.” The way he’d sucked on his lip—