Rating: DNF
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Thor meets Tony Hawk in this comedic, low-angst/high spice MM romance about a serious hockey goalie who is drawn out of his shell by a bratty skateboarder, a dare involving cake, and a lesson in how to use joysticks-for video games of course.

On the surface, I’ve got it all. I’m the starting goalie and Captain of the Colorado Bulldogs hockey team. I’ve got more money than I know what to do with. I can count an entire team of elite athletes as my friends. And according to the pundits, I’m an eligible bachelor.

That’s the image everyone sees, but it’s just a role I play. A part dictated by my career. I have to be just as perfect off the ice as I am on it since everything I do reflects on my team in some way or another. So, those questions I have about why I don’t crave sexual contact the way my teammates do–questions I’m afraid to ask with the world watching… I decided a long time ago it didn’t make sense to look for answers until after I retire.

Then I ran into him.

Tripp is loud, obnoxious, and full of confidence. Some people find his sass off-putting, but not me. I find it intriguing, and I admire his ability to be himself, consequences be damned. Apparently, I also admire the way he looks, since my eyes seem to linger on him longer than they should, and when he sets his sights on me…

Waiting for retirement to explore who I am seems like too big a sacrifice, so when Tripp offers to help me answer some of those questions about myself, I jump.

I’m tired of pretending to be Mr. Perfect… Tripp and his playboy antics might be just the thing I need to figure out who I am outside of hockey. The only problem is, everyone–including our mutual friends–see him as a bad pucking influence.

Bad Pucking Influence follows Bad Pucking Timing in the Colorado Bulldogs series. I enjoyed that first book in the series and was looking forward to seeing more. Xander and Niko from the first book are present here and, while I like to read series in order, this one can be read first. However, I did end up deciding to DNF this book at 40% of the way through.

I had a hard time following these characters in the beginning, as everyone seemed too much the same to me. Tripp and Noah alternate POVs and their chapters are labeled, but it wasn’t always clear who was speaking. Their characters are described as being so different and on paper they are, but their voices sound too similar. Add that in with Xander and Niko also appearing in the beginning of the book, and everyone blended together for me.

I also had a real issue with Tripp. The blurb describes this book as comedic and that was not the vibe I got at all in the portion I read. The blurb also describes Tripp as “loud, obnoxious, and full of confidence.” That didn’t track either for me. The vibe I got from Tripp was off putting and that he was pressuring Noah, who was on the asexual spectrum, into being physical with him because he saw Noah watching him. As an example, this is part of a conversation between the men when Noah was helping Tripp after he got injured, beginning with Noah:

“Why are you so determined to show me your dick?” I ask him.

“That bothers you?” He arches a suggestive brow.

“No. I sort of expect it now. I just don’t know why you keep offering.”

“Because you’re so curious to see it.” He reclines into the couch and takes another sip of his beer like he didn’t just make an outlandish assumption.

Since he’s so nonchalant, I act the same. “What makes you say that?”

His eyes gleam as though I’ve walked right into his trap. I probably have. “First, I see the way you look at me when you think I’m not paying attention. Spoiler alert, I’m always paying attention. And second, you don’t discourage my lame attempts to touch you. You totally play along.”

“I don’t ask you to touch me,” I say reflexively.

“He casts me a sly grin. “You don’t stop me either. I mean, measuring your biceps? Asking whether you can flex your pecs independently of each other and telling you I need to feel it since I can’t see it? All excuses to put my hands on you, and you oblige every time.”

Huh, I guess I don’t discourage him. I’m not sure that makes me eager to see his dick, though truthfully, my own seems to wake up a little when he touches me. It hasn’t become hard, but it didn’t stay flaccid either.

Then, Tripp talks about how he knows that Noah is ready to touch him because of the way he looks at him and Noah’s thoughts spiral all over the place. Tripp is so sure he has Noah figured out and that Noah doesn’t realize that he is attracted to men. But Tripp is clearly not reading the situation correctly when Noah says:

“Because I’m not sure I’m attracted to anyone at all. Man or woman.” The retort is out of my mouth before I can decide whether it’s a good idea or not. Though, I have to admit watching Tripp’s jaw bob comically up and down is pretty satisfying. He’s used to delivering shocking statements, not receiving them.

I pop the top of my beer and take a sip to hide my proud smirk, indulging in a little liquid courage before the inquisition begins.

“You… I… Seriously? You’re…” He swivels his hand in the air as if that will help his brain process information. “You’re asexual?”

I guess I have to walk through this door now that I opened it. “Maybe.”

“What do you mean maybe? How do you not know?”

“Have you ever had sex?”

“Of course, I have.”

“Then you’re not asexual.”

The scene then continues with Tripp seeming somewhat offended that Noah doesn’t want to jump him and ultimately being concerned if he gets Noah hard—because if Noah is hard, then of course he wants Tripp. Tripp then proceeds to undress to prove to Noah that he wants Tripp. This all feels like it is for Tripp’s ego and did not read to me as if any of this was in Noah’s best interest.

After they are physical for the first time, Tripp proudly announces he doesn’t have time or need for any emotions, and he is really only interested that Noah gets him hard. And, if things take a turn, he could lose his friendship with Xander as well, which he describes here:

I wouldn’t mind getting carnal with the big guy since he really gives my junk a hard on, but emotions are not my jam. If he goes fatal attraction on me, I wouldn’t just lose him, I could lose Xander, as well.

I might’ve pushed the boundaries of our budding friend group last night, and Xander won’t hesitate to castrate me for it if it backfires. He’ll claim I should’ve known better—which I did—as if he doesn’t know I’m unlikely to stop chasing a dick I want.

Usually, I have no shame in the pursuit of a good fuck, but I also don’t usually pursue acquaintances, or people I genuinely like.

Different readers have different views and characters like this can work, but Tripp didn’t come across as cute to me about any of this in the portion of the book I read and he didn’t work for me.

Being that this is labeled a romance, I would expect that both men would show growth during the book, but at 40% in, I hadn’t seen any of that. I wasn’t interested it watching it happen at that point and tapped out on this one.