Tennant Rowe has spent his entire life in the shadow of his two elder brothers. All of them were born to the ice, but Brady, as the eldest, has always stolen the show. To his family, a recent transfer to an expansion team seems like a bad decision on Ten’s part. But he knows with the Railers he can hone and improve his skills and take a shot at the first line. Hockey is his life and he isn’t about to toss away the chance to shine on his own for the first time.
Jared “Mads” Masden is settling into his role as a coach for the Railers. An undiagnosed heart condition failed to kill him, but it did end his career. As a coach, he can still stay close to the ice and mentor the up and coming stars, like Ten. Mads was friends with Brady Rowe years ago and Ten all grown up catches him off guard. The man is beyond hot, but Mads is too old for him, not to mention their professional entanglements. Ten and Mads are drawn together and Mads is determined to take it slow, so Ten knows exactly what he’s getting into. But both men are in the closet and sneaking around won’t last forever. When their relationship is exposed, their personal and professional lives are thrust into the spotlight.
Changing Lines was a lovely, sweet romance between two protagonists that are impossible to dislike. The writing is smooth and relaxed. It finds an easy rhythm early on and, as a result, the pacing is generally very strong. There is a great deal of hockey talk and while I know nothing about that particular sport, I didn’t have any trouble following along. I give the authors credit for making technical information so accessible. Mads and Ten are wonderful together. They offer just enough depth to give readers a real connection and their relationship is believable in both its passion and scope. Their attempts to maintain a connection while juggling professional responsibilities and personal issues read as relatable, especially in the context of their age difference. The wider Rowe family and Mads’ teenage son offer a strong secondary cast and while they aren’t given the depth they deserve, nor are they flat or without purpose to the story.
My only frustration with Changing Lines was it’s hurried ending. I felt like over the last two or three chapters the easy, natural pacing was replaced with a more hurried and jarring need to wrap things up. But in doing we don’t get real resolution with the story’s antagonist and the steady evolution of Mads and Tens relationship just evaporates. It doesn’t exactly detract from my enjoyment, but it does come off as awkward and somewhat forced. This is the first in a new series and while Mads and Ten don’t appear to be the focus of the second book, perhaps we’ll get further development of their relationship.
Changing Lines was a thoroughly enjoyable start to a new series. Mads and Ten make a wonderful couple and their evolution was truly a delight to read. The book falters thanks to a rushed ending, but this doesn’t take away from Changing Lines as a whole. Even if you aren’t a sports fan there is plenty to enjoy here.