Mike has just transferred to a professional hockey team and is ready for the next phase in his life. However, his teammates, known for their pranks, greet him by covering him in lube. It was supposed to be the best day of his life, but Mike is broke, covered in bruises, and now the day’s joke. And, even though he’s moved away, his parents are still on his case about a girlfriend, marriage, and money. But Mike is determined to make it and finding a place to live is next on his list.
Alexei is a veteran hockey player and has ten years on Mike. He’s always been known as the prankster on the team, but he also gets the job done covering the goal on the ice. He keeps his private life just that, private, but something about Mike’s defeated stance on that first day draws him in. The two become close friends, yet neither one of them realizes that they could have so much more than friendship.
I don’t have an extensive TBR list (it’s true!) and finding a book for the TBR Pile challenge that I hadn’t read and also that hadn’t been reviewed here yet was, indeed, a challenge. Crashing the Net offered friends to lovers and a sports theme so it sounded like a good one.
This book was easy to read and moved quickly. However, it was mostly a superficial story with little depth, character development, or even hockey. We meet Mike on his first day with the Ice Cats where he’s being pranked. Alexei is a jokester and maybe the joke gets turned around on him when he sees Mike in the shower already bruised and defeated. Before Alexei knows what is happening, his protective instincts kick in and he’s offering Mike a place to stay.
The two become the best of friends, they spend time together, and there is attraction stated. I get what this book was trying to do and the outline was there, but it just didn’t come across for me. We don’t learn much of anything about Alexei. We learn a little bit about Mike, but his story wasn’t fully developed either. The story behind his initial bruises is disclosed, but it seemed just added in. Mike’s family is also background and they were one-dimensional characters and that story also remained on the surface, as well as a seemingly random pop-up scene with Alexei’s ex.
There is one on-ice hockey scene that occurs much later in the book and most of the hockey action is them passing through the locker room or talking about practice or games. At one point, Mike decided at the last minute to travel with the team and a point was made to mention that he had to pay the difference in the cost of the air travel and then when the hotel was fully booked, he was left on his own with no accommodations until Alexei offered to share his room. It wasn’t clear at all how this professional hockey team was taking care of its players. There was also a time where the name of the team switched from the Ice Cats to the Wild Cats, with a few additional inconsistencies mixed in as well.
Mike and Alexei state several times how they are the best of friends, yet neither one has any idea that they are both interested in men. When they finally do get together, they certainly make up for lost time with heated scenes. But Alexei keeps saying that taking their relationship further is not a good idea, yet in the very next breath he’s all over Mike and it was another area that was underdeveloped. There was also an intimate power exchange being addressed with Alexei wanting to dominate and Mike wanting to submit that also wasn’t explored in any depth.
The ending was rushed and coupled with a lack of complexity for both the characters, as well as a lack of any hockey time, it was a basic and average read for me. As far as a recommendation, it’s one of those where if the set up sounds interesting, give it try as it may work better for you.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for TBR Pile Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of this week’s fabulous prizes from NineStar Press. One lucky winner will receive a copy of all the NineStar Press releases for six months in ebook, and another will win a collection of seven print books. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on TBR Pile Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!