Adrien Fischer was on the cusp of his dream of making it to the Olympics on the Canadian figure skating team. He turned in a star performance at the World Championships and it was his time. Then, Adrien was hit by a drunk driver, sustaining injuries that required his leg to be amputated and ending his Olympic dreams. Now, three years later, Adrien runs a skating rink with his best friend, Nolan, in Denver where they help other kids learn to skate.
Ravi Chandola is the captain of the Denver Huskies hockey team. He works hard and never expected the kind of fame or attention that comes with being a star on the team. One night, someone slips something into Ravi’s drink, leaving him stumbling to his car. When he wakes up, Ravi learns that he has been arrested for drunk driving. He has no memory of what happened that night, only remorse for apparently doing something so dangerous as drinking and driving, and he quickly accepts a guilty plea. Ravi ends up sentenced to community service at Adrien’s rink, helping kids with disabilities learn to skate.
Adrien is furious when Ravi shows up to his rink. While Adrien may be in a good place in his life now, he lost his career and almost his life to a drunk driver and he has no patience for a spoiled, rich, hockey player who gets off with a fine and community service. Adrien can barely tolerate being in the same room as Ravi, and things are incredibly tense between them. But as Adrien begins to see how kind and caring Ravi can be, it is hard to keep holding himself at a distance, especially when he is so fiercely attracted to the man. Eventually, the men find their way to a friendship of sorts, as well as end up in bed together. The pair are on fire together in the bedroom, as Adrien’s dominant streak is a perfect fit for Ravi’s more submissive side.
Things are confusing for both men, however. As Ravi begins to learn the truth about what really happened that night, it is shaking him up completely. He just wants it all to go away, but he also doesn’t want his attacker to get away with hurting more people. And Adrien is suddenly realizing that Ravi is not to blame after all, that he wasn’t drunk and reckless, but the victim of an attack. Both men are also having to accept that they are fast becoming more than casual friends with benefits. They need one another and have found something truly special, but both men must take a chance on admitting their feelings for them to move forward together.
Breakaway is the first book in E.M. Lindsey’s new Sin Bin: West Coast series. The series takes place in the same world as Lindsey’s similarly titled Sin Bin series with Marina Vivancos. However, while some of the familiar teams and players are mentioned casually here, this book stands alone and the series will focus on different teams and players, so you definitely don’t need to have read the other series to enjoy these.
I say this time and again, but Lindsey is such a master with character development and this book is no exception. The story sets up these men in immediate conflict. Adrien was injured by a drunk driver, and he and Ravi both believe that Ravi drove drunk. As readers, we know right away that Ravi was drugged, so there is no confusion on our end. But the men are at odds from the start as Adrien is understandably furious about what he thinks Ravi did, as well as the fact that he now needs to see him for 500 hours of community service.
I think what works well is that this is not a big miscommunication or failure to talk. Ravi has reason to believe he was drunk driving and he is all about accepting that responsibility. So the men are finding their way to each other with this cloud over Ravi. At first, Adrien wants nothing to do with him, but slowly he comes to realize what kind of man Ravi really is despite his mistakes. These two are just such a good fit; it is almost like a sigh when they make it together. At first it is just sex, but it is impossible for them to keep their distance. Both men find such comfort in one another. It is not just company, but also an ability to put down some of their burdens and take care of each other. There is just such a lovely dynamic between the two of them and I just adored them as a couple. They are also like fire together in the bedroom, so this one is nicely steamy with a bit of kink.
This story has just enough hockey and skating in it to ground these men as athletes, but you definitely don’t need to be familiar with either sport to enjoy this one. We also get to meet other guys from Ravi’s team, as well as both of their best friends, and Lindsey establishes a nice group of men here who I assume will feature in future books (and OMG am I excited getting the teaser for who is up next).
I know I am sort of a broken record where Lindsey is concerned, as the author just crafts such amazing, well developed characters that make their stories shine. This one is no exception and I am incredibly excited for the rest of the series.
Note: We do see someone give Ravi a pill (claiming it is something else), and see him both drugged and in danger. We also hear briefly about the history of another player who was drugged years before. So readers who are sensitive to this topic should be aware.