The players of the Jacksonville Sea Storm are back for a second season with goalie Riley Hunter taking the net. After a heartbreaking loss at the end of last season, Riley has worked hard all summer to bring his “A” game to the ice this season. Having lost his roommate, Riley finds himself offering the space to Ethan Kennedy, an enforcer on the team.
Riley and Ethan are complete opposites. Riley is focused, quiet, and extremely rich…though he tries to keep that a secret. Ethan, on the other hand, is loud, passionate about social justice, and struggles with money. As the two adjust to being roommates, Riley finds himself attracted to Ethan and doesn’t know what to do about it, so he keeps quiet.
When Ethan stumbles upon Riley’s secret porn stash on his computer, Ethan is stunned to realize that his roommate appears to have a thing for kink with men who look like Ethan. Known for acting before thinking, Ethan pushes Riley into seeing whether or not there is something more there between them.
With a spark hot enough to melt the ice, Ethan and Riley find themselves navigating their new relationship. The only problem is that Riley may be crossing the line by secretly financing Ethan’s way, which if Ethan finds out, will destroy their relationship before it even gets off the ground.
I adore hockey-related stories. There is just something about all that testosterone out there on skates, the fights, the sweat… and this story did not disappoint! For those of you who haven’t read the first in the series, Breakaway, no need to despair. You don’t need to have read it in order to completely enjoy this book. For those of you who have read it, you are in for a treat as Lane and Jared make an appearance in this story!
Riley grew up with parents who are billionaires. While most of us would think this would be a great thing, for Riley it wasn’t. He never knew who wanted to be his friend just because they liked him or whether they wanted something his or his parents’ money could buy them. Growing up, he used to hang out at the rink until everyone on his team left just so that no one saw that he didn’t have a parent watching the game and that the only person there waiting for him was the driver of the car. Now an adult, Riley is thankful for the money he has because it allows him to live out his dream of playing hockey without having to worry about making ends meet.
Ethan, on the other hand, grew up straddling the poverty line. When his father took off and left his mom, his two younger sisters, and him struggling to make ends meet, Ethan learned never to rely upon anyone to take care of them ever again. As the story kicks off, Ethan flies into Tampa (because it was cheaper…though it was three hours away from where he needed to go) without having made plans for how he was going to get to Jacksonville, nor any plans on where he was going to stay when he got there. As readers will quickly gather, Ethan tends to act first and think later…usually much later.
Right off the bat readers are treated to a slow burning romance story. Moving in together as roommates, Ethan and Riley quickly fall into a routine together that many married couples wish they could have. Riley grounds Ethan and helps him deal with his impulsivity, while Ethan helps Riley come out of the shell he’s built around himself.
As the two take their relationship to the next level, Riley finds himself calling upon Lane and Jared for help as to how to proceed – which is quite entertaining! Riley has never really been in a relationship. To quote him, “I’m not not gay.” Whereas Ethan has taken full advantage of the benefits wearing a hockey uniform has on scoring with the ladies. Yet, this is virgin territory for both of these guys as they test the waters together. Let’s just say that the waters are HOT! And who would have guessed that Riley has a mildly kinky side to him? It’s always those shy ones you’ve got to watch out for!
I think readers will be pleased to see that there is very little angst going on between these pages. Yes, there is the whole issue with money/finances, but it is resolved fairly quickly and doesn’t drag itself out longer than necessary.
My one complaint, and it is a minor one, is that at the beginning of the book Ethan brings a girl back to the apartment and has the headboard banging against the wall sex with her. Personally, I am not a fan of having one of my main characters having sex with someone else during the course of the story. In this case, it worked with the storyline – it’s just not something I like to see in my M/M stories.
Overall, I personally enjoyed this story much more than I did the first in the series – meaning, I can’t wait to see what Avon Gale comes up with to top this! I highly recommend!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.