Nathan is the captain of his hockey team. He’s younger than a lot of his teammates but they all respect him. He’s not one for partying as he tries to play his best hockey, but the team convinces him to go for drinks one night. It’s there he meets Felix and that meeting turns into one heated night that Nathan can’t forget. But Nathan doesn’t want a relationship and he leaves without a word.
Nineteen months later and Nathan is injured on the ice and he can’t believe that the new team trainer is Felix. The feelings Nathan had for Felix all come back in a blink, but Nathan tries to put them aside. He’s going to be Felix’s friend and that’s what he tells himself until being Felix’s friend comes with some tempting benefits and Nathan cannot resist.
This book got off to a good start and stayed above water for a portion of it. Nathan and Felix meet in the first chapter and have themselves one hot night. Nathan is convinced that he can’t have feelings or be in a relationship and hookups are just fine. His team and family both know he’s gay so that’s the not the issue. However, we never learn throughout the entire book exactly why Nathan does not want to feel anything more.
Nathan and Felix suffer from a complete lack of communication for just about the entire book. They become friends, good friends, that have lunch together often. They talk about all kinds of things, except anything to do with what is going on with them. Even when the benefits portion kicks in, once that is established, they barely talk to each then either. They both feel that the other one doesn’t want to be with them for anything other than sex. Yet, both go on dates with other people with Felix going so far as to get down on his knees to offer Nathan good luck with his date, but then he stops talking to him.
This is the entire book. There is an endless cycle of them being friends, hooking up, hanging with teammates, and then pretending not to be jealous. This goes on all of the way through the book until the 90% mark when they are forcibly put together to actually talk. The POV is only from Nathan and he constantly thinks he knows what Felix is thinking. Sure I could figure out what Felix wanted even if Nathan couldn’t, but we don’t get anything from Felix until much much later in the book.
Nathan is also the captain of his team and it seemed he was captain in name only as he’s not shown as having any leadership skills. He would take notice of something and think that he had to talk to his team about it but it never did happen. He did play good hockey, but they all did, so why he was captain at a younger age was also not clear. It was too bad this book couldn’t quite move along as the guys had good chemistry and there was some good hockey action with a cast of interesting side characters.
Even with the friends-with-benefits scenes going on and the backdrop of hockey, you have to really be able to embrace the use of no communication as a plot device throughout an entire book. If you are onboard with that, then you could check out Hat Trick.