Miles is an expert skier. That’s all he knows and all he has trained for his entire life. He has dominated the slalom in the Snow and Ice Games and this year is his last chance to go for the gold. However, he may have some competition in the form of up and coming skier, Crash Delaney.
Crash has no formal training, but he has more raw talent than anyone has seen in a long time. Crash did not have access to coaches or equipment and often borrowed or stole equipment to get himself out on the slopes. When Crash was a kid, he idolized Miles, and never thought he would be spoken about in the same breath as the man. But here Crash is, with a chance to medal at the games and with Miles as his mentor.
Only Crash doesn’t have all that it takes. He’s terrified of doing press events to the point he makes himself sick and his lateness makes the others think he just doesn’t care. When Miles offers to help Crash relax before speaking to the press, it sends them both down a road they never expected. The men are supposed to be rivals and Miles has no room for distractions, but their chemistry in the bedroom says otherwise.
This book is the second in Tamsen Parker’s Snow and Ice Games series. The books are set around an athletic winter games and for this story that is the only connection and it would stand alone fine. The book is filled with a great dynamic between Miles and Crash, as well as entertaining banter and plenty of sexy moments.
Miles is the professional here and he has been training and skiing his entire life. He has had incredible support from his family and has had all the advantages of coaches and training. Miles follows the rules, yet is supportive of the entire team. While he wants to get these last set of medals, he is also concerned about how the team does as whole.
That’s where his relationship with Crash starts. Crash lived most of his life out of a van with his nomadic parents. When at the age of 16, he had enough of the road, his parents left him in the last town they were in. He’s in awe to be recognized at the games, but even more in awe that he gets any kind of attention from Miles. Crash has idolized Miles and not everyone gets to be with the person in the picture they have had on their bedroom wall.
The verbal timing and snark is well done from both characters here. Before Miles really understands Crash, he is left exasperated with him at almost every turn and when Crash is late once again, Miles is not exactly in the forgiving mood as he thinks, “Even though my blood had been boiling, there hadn’t been time after the latest presser to tear Crash’s limbs off and beat him with them.”
This book was an incredibly fast read and I was halfway through it in what seemed like a blink. The relationship between the men is insular as they primarily interact in their shared room and the book takes place solely at the games. The book is intimate and heated as the start of their relationship is purely physical, or so they tell themselves. We get dual points of view and that really helped to get a sense of both men. However, they spent too much time in their own heads for my taste. The amount of internal narrative largely overshadowed the number of conversations these guys had with each other and they mostly fell in love with each other within their own heads. This book had the style where a question would be asked, the character would go into multiple paragraphs of internal narrative, only to then answer the question that did not always remain obvious.
The only other issue I have with this series as a whole is the way the Snow and Ice Games are presented. The games are an elite, international, athletic event that happen every four years and the logo on the cover of the book resembles the Olympic rings. Yet, Miles, as a competitor, is able to assist in choosing to have Crash on the team and I would have liked something more concrete as to the background of the games. Also, skiing is talked about throughout the book, but there is little time where the men are actually on skis and I would have also enjoyed more time on the slopes.
I would recommend this book for all the things that it does bring: two opposite characters, great banter and timing, and plenty of heat. The guys are left in a good place, but I certainly would be interested if Parker were to ever follow up with these guys as Miles leaves us with the knowledge that he still has lots of plans.