Adam has just transferred colleges and is now playing with a different hockey team. It was never his plan to transfer, but a betrayal from someone close to him made it impossible to stay where he was. Adam has no intention of having his focus waver from hockey as the NHL is his only dream. He’s certainly not going to date. Except, when he first sees Kolby looking like he does, Adam starts thinking of all the delightful things the two of them can do together that certainly doesn’t involve hockey. But Adam isn’t out to his new team and while he doesn’t want to hide that he’s bisexual, his future is the NHL.
Kolby is on his own. His Mormon parents wanted nothing to do with him when they learned he was gay and, while Kolby has a scholarship, he also has three jobs to keep himself going. Kolby wants to go to NYC to act and while his life is hectic, he has a goal. Someone to share it all with would certainly make it sweeter.
The two of them don’t get off to the best start, but when the only elective available to Adam is improv, he needs Kolby’s help. And, when Kolby needs to learn how to skate for an acting opportunity, he needs Adam’s help and the men are falling fast and hard for each other. Kolby doesn’t want to be Adam’s secret, but Kolby hasn’t told Adam his family history and when one secret after the next explodes around them, the men will have to really open themselves up to each other or else walk away for good.
Showstopper is part of the Vino and Veritas collection, which is a set of multi-author stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order and feature the Vino and Veritas wine bar and bookstore.
I liked the vibe of this book from the start as Adam and Kolby meet and clash as Adam is trying to change his improv class. Kolby works in the school office that Adam visits and the while the men are eyeing each other, the rest of their meeting doesn’t go so well. Adam is a transfer student and a hockey player and he didn’t want to start over, but trusting the wrong person put his entire life in jeopardy. Adam’s family knows he’s bisexual, but in the world of hockey, he knows it’s better to keep it quiet.
Kolby is resilient as he is on his own after his Mormon parents disowned him. He also knows what it’s like to be someone’s secret and Kolby refuses to do that again. But then he meets Adam. The guys are both going against what they said they would do again, with Adam needing to focus on hockey and school and not his love life, and Kolby never wanting to be someone’s secret, and that is where a lot of the tension in the story comes from. While the book deals with some heavier subjects from their pasts, there is also a lightness to Adam and Kolby falling in love and there is a fun vibe in their improv class and skating.
The path to the end of book didn’t keep the momentum going as much for me with gossip and secrets being exposed and the addition of Kolby’s sister didn’t quite fit in for me, but the guys are college age trying to navigate a lot. The final scenes pull together again, making their journey a worthwhile one to read about and it would be great to see these guys again in the future.