Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Niko has always wanted to play hockey and he can’t remember a time when it wasn’t the most important goal in his life. Hockey is the reason Niko moved from Sweden to the U.S. for high school in the hope of having a better chance at the NHL draft. Niko has fulfilled his dream and has been drafted to the NHL, but he’s still living a double life. A hookup right before he learned his life-changing news impacted his life in other ways, but the guy he met didn’t want to exchange numbers. However, now they find themselves running into each other again in an inconvenient way.

Xander doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t date closeted athletes. He’s been there, done that and has the broken heart to prove it. But Niko thrills Xander in and out of the bedroom. They try to become friends without benefits, but the tension is too thick between them as they already know what it’s like to be over and under each other. Hockey has always been Niko’s dream, but he might have found another one that’s equally as important. Now, Niko has to figure out if he can have hockey and Xander, or be forced walk away from one of them for good.

Michele Lenard is new author for me with a new series and it didn’t take me long to get hooked on Niko and Xander. They meet early in the book and have a hot hookup. Niko hasn’t had many, if any, one-night stands and he’s unsure of how to proceed. But Xander knows and, even though it was a great night, Xander is out the door. The men meet again in an unexpected way and how that happens is a little bit of a spoiler for the book, so I will not mention that.

There are a few main issues in the book. Niko is not out and doesn’t know when he will come out, but he’s never had anyone to come out for. Xander had his heart trampled by an athlete once before and he was so heartbroken, he’s not interested in a relationship at all. There are also other family issues on Xander’s side that are causing problems. The men decide to become friends, although Xander needs some convincing. They enjoy spending time with each other, but the chemistry between these men is amazing and takes over everything. Xander and Niko are young 20s, but they don’t read young and, while Niko is inexperienced, their interactions aren’t juvenile.

I would have liked if there had been a larger conversation between Xander and his father to wrap up the story. Most of the pacing was good, but somewhere along the way it became about waiting to see if Niko was going to come out and it slowed down some. Niko’s teammates becomes a good support for the men and there are subtle hints of other stories to come and when those drop, I will be all in.