Lane Courtnall is only twenty years old and one of the top prospects for the NHL. Drafted by the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, Lane is convinced he only has a short time before he is drafted up to the big leagues. Unfortunately, Lane’s social awkwardness and inability to keep his foot out of his mouth has alienated his teammates. Seeking a way to bond with them, Lane decides to throw a punch against the league’s notorious enforcer, Jared Short of the Savannah Renegades.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey most of his career. At age thirty-one, he’s openly bi-sexual and doesn’t hide who he is. When Lane shows up after the game where he goaded Jared into a fight, Jared is more than happy to hook up with him for a one-nighter, but he doesn’t do relationships anymore. Except he wants a repeat of that one-night.
As Lane and Jared continue to hookup, Lane begins to show Jared what he loves about hockey and why love may be worth the risk. In turn, Jared shows Lane how to be comfortable with his sexuality both on and off the ice…but is Lane ready to come out of the closet? As both men are at different points in their careers, they need to decide what they want most.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Avon Gale’s debut novel, Let the Wrong Light In. Needless to say, when the opportunity presented itself to read her second novel – one that features my favorite sport and one that will be the first in a new series – I jumped at the chance! Let’s just say that I now have a new auto-buy author!
I fell in love with Lane almost instantaneously. Talk about being social awkward! While his teammates blame it on him being Canadian, it goes beyond being just a foreigner. Lane thinks literally and tends to blurt things out at the most inappropriate times…like during sex…
Jared is the season veteran hockey player who is a bit jaded and bitter that he’s spent his whole career in the minor leagues. He also is somewhat jaded when it comes to relationships and is adamant he isn’t looking for one…until he realizes that he’s in the middle of one.
Pairing these two characters together was brilliant. The veteran player with the rookie, the experienced man with the inexperienced man, the one who sees his career ending with the one whose career is just taking off. Though these two men are at different points in their lives, they need each other to work through their personal issues. I would classify this as being a medium to low angst rating for the story.
Added to the cast of characters are Riley and Zoe. Riley is Lane’s fellow team player and roommate, who at times tends to grate on one’s nerves (though I can’t wait until his story!). Zoe is Lane’s newest and best friend…who knows absolutely nothing about hockey until she meets Lane. Initially she serves a purpose at disguising Lane’s sexuality, but she, along with Jared helps Lane be a bit less awkward. She’s the perfect best friend.
The chemistry between Jared and Lane is hot enough to make the ice start melting! Lane’s inexperience in the bedroom is just a minor blip considering he has more than enough enthusiasm and has a belief in practice makes perfect.
For those of you who aren’t sports literate, no need to worry as the author does a tremendous job of making the sport easy to understand without being either information overloaded or boring. For all you non-hockey fans, this book may convert you.
Overall, this was a great start of a new series. It’s got hot hockey players, the right combination of storyline and sexy times, and a HEA. I highly recommend!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.