Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.
Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.
I loved this story! Older MCs, two Alpha-types, hockey, sex in public places, and humor—lots of humor! And did I say hockey? LOL. I love hockey player stories. Plus, if the author decides to keep going with this series, there are several secondary characters that need their HEA.
The story opens with Shane arriving late to his first day of practice in Asheville where he’s signed a one-year contract to play out his last year of hockey. Though he never reached the potential the sportswriters thought he should in the NHL and AHL, he wants to go out on his own terms. A stop in Dallas for a quick hookup delays his trip from San Diego so he gets off on the wrong foot with new head coach Troy Callahan. Cally has been hired to try to undo some of the bad vibes left by the very viciously homophobic Coach Savoy who we met in the last story.
He doesn’t put up with any of Shane’s garbage, and before he knows it, the attraction for the older player who seems to hit all his hot buttons grows into a red-hot flame. Add in some alone time in the front of the bus on the eighteen-hour trip from Wichita and you get the picture. Front-seat blowjob—Troy’s not sure if he’s more embarrassed or turned on by the thought of being caught. A few more public sex escapades are sprinkled throughout the story, including the one that eventually does them in when he’s got Shane and a desk and an office without a door.
Seriously though, this story just kept me smiling the whole way through. The humor was a good mix of both subtle and in-your-face funny and made their romance just exactly what I needed to pick up my mood. I highly recommend this one to anyone who’s read the previous stories, those who love men in sports in their MM stories (you don’t have to know hockey to appreciate this one), and to those who enjoy older and/or physically fit MCs. And of course, if you love public sex, you will definitely enjoy this one. It could be read as a standalone since it’s the first story involving the Asheville Ravens team, but I really think our enjoyment is enhanced if we’ve read the others in the series and know the background of this team and the opposing teams’ players and coaches.
Don’t hesitate to pick up this Scoring Chances series, which starts with Breakaway. Each story is like a potato chip—it’s pretty darn hard to stop at one.