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


Theo Mathis is an out and proud gay man who’s also a pro hockey player. Sure, he’s technically on the minor affiliate for the Seattle Rainiers, but he had a chance to play with the big boys for Pride Night and was so stoked. Okay, so it got ruined when the GM canceled it, dashing the good will the Rainiers had looked to build with their fans. As a gay player, Theo was frustrated, but he couldn’t stomach the dejection he witnessed from the team’s equipment manager, Christian Hayes. Christian’s also out and proud, but he’s also the homophobic GM’s son. Standing up for Christian probably cost Theo any chance to play for the Rainiers in the future, but it was worth it to see the beautiful man smile. And the post-game sex was pretty epic.

As the next season rolls on, the Rainiers are plagued with team injuries. They call up player after player from the minor team until the only one left with the skills to play the pro level is Theo. And, well, he’s going to show the coach and GM he deserves to stay up there. The bigger issue is that Christian’s just as amazing as he ever was, and the memory of that one night they shared hasn’t dimmed.

Christian’s just as smitten with Theo as he was on Pride Night. Theo’s so young and talented, and Christian doesn’t want to derail his career any further. His dad is a super grudge-holder, and he barely even speaks to Christian anymore since he came out. If Christian wasn’t such a great equipment manager, his father would have manufactured a reason to let Christian go a while back. Hooking up with a player is a definite no-go, for both of them, but darned if they don’t love the way they connect. Goodness knows when Theo’ll be sent back to the minors, and these guys want to take every chance they can to enjoy the love they’re making. Are they mostly in it for the thrill? Or, do they have a chance at true happiness?

This is a sweet and tender athlete romance, which has the interesting twist of a hidden relationship due to family/work drama, not fear of “outing.” I liked both Theo and Christian. They have good moral centers and are genuinely nice people. The whole time I just wanted them to be able to share their joy, though I understood their reticence. As a hockey story, the athletic scenes felt both accurate and accessible, a testament to the author’s deep love of hockey–she’s a longtime fan of the sport. I loved the balance between the athletics and the romance, always one of the hardest issues with sports romance stories.

This is the first book in a shared universe/multi-author series of minor league stories called The Games We Play and it’s certainly a great start. The books are all standalones, though some characters will undoubtedly appear in multiple stories. I really liked Red Line for its sweetness and realistic elements. There’s a total happy ending, and lots of yummy sexy moments.