Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.
Contemporary, Sports, M/M, GLBT+
240 e-book pages
Scoring Chances, book 1
February 19-20, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
Click for more information regarding ratings.
I have what might be the stupidest grin on my face right now after reading this book…more like devouring this book.
I’m a hockey fan. Not exactly the rabid fiend variety. But, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say I’m firmly a 7. I’ve left my voice behind at many a game from all the screaming and cheering.
In fact, there was a time back in the 90s that my city had an AHL team. I went to every game, even traveled to see a few of their away games. Back then, I’d say my fandom level was around a 9. Not a 10 because I was only rabid for MY guys and didn’t pay much attention to the NHL or other teams. I knew all my team’s names and numbers and their stats. I wasn’t a puck bunny…but had a super-fan crush on a player. I loved the game more than the crush, though–and anyway, I was way too shy to attempt stalking the locker room.
I went to a few Thrashers games when I lived near Atlanta. But they weren’t so good, and not nearly as fun.
Our local team is ECHL conference now, but they kept the same name as when it was AHL. Weird…but I think that’s what kept the fans, and these guys have won a few championships.
Oh. Wait. You’re here to read my thoughts on the book, not about my hockey fandom. Right.
Just a sec.
When I sat down to read this Friday night (late), it was after a horrific workday and a particularly grueling work week. I’m on a massive project I’ve been working since September that’s nearing go-time and Friday didn’t go very well. I’ve got people depending on me to have my shit together, and things sort of fell apart Friday. I worked til eight or nine every night this week, and ten on Friday–and still wasn’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My brain was mush.
It’s all back on track now after working some today, but next week will also suck dirty pucks.
I needed to escape into a book. I needed something that would make me laugh–because of my ill temper. I needed something sexy–because I always do. I needed something that didn’t require a lot of brain power–because mush.
THIS WAS THE PERFECT BOOK FOR WHAT I NEEDED.
The MC, Lane? If I had been in a different frame of mind, I’m not sure I’d have liked him much. But I found him to be hilariously charming and exactly what I needed. I also think he just might have me beat with the social awkwardness with saying things out loud before thinking them through. He’s…kind of a simpleton. And it might be because he’s so young. Or it could be because of too many hockey pucks to the head. Or that he’s Canadian (KIDDING! because this book pokes a little good-natured fun at Southerners). Who knows. But, he’s delightful and means well. He’s just random. He says what he thinks and it doesn’t always make sense. He’s the kind of guy that requires a lot of patience and asking closed-ended questions to cut to the chase and figure out what he means.
The love-interest, Jared. Also delightful. He’s a bruiser–but patient. He’s a veteran player just doing what he loves. I thought he was the perfect counterpoint to the somewhat scatter-brained rooky Lane. He’s also got a wicked and understated sense of humor that was way up my alley.
I liked these guys together. They made sense. They were sweet without being saccharine. They were good together and brought out the best in each other.
The hockey, ’cause that was pretty much a main character as well as the backdrop. I liked that this is set in the ECHL league and had a taste of the AHL and NHL. I also liked that we got ice time with the players and some really well-narrated plays. But, it was almost (very nearly) too much. This required a lot of visualizing on my part that I didn’t have the brain capacity to handle Friday night. Now, Saturday afternoon when I sat down to finish the book I was in a better mindset and all that fast-paced and intricate ice-time didn’t seem to bother me at all.
For those who aren’t fans, or don’t know the game, and are just here for the lovin’–then I can see where it might be a bit much. But I’d still say give it a shot because it’s all well-paced, and the rest of the plot lines are perfectly balanced, entertaining, and fun.
There were lots of laugh out loud moments seeing the world through Lane’s eyes, through Jared’s exasperation, and in the conversations Lane has with his new best friend Zoe and his teammates. And I loooooved Zoe. LOVED her.
The sexy times were smokin’ hot. I’m not expounding on that much further than to say that Lane was quite the innocent when it all began, and his learning was…erm…hot. And hilarious. And sweet and awkward at times.
This was my first Avon Gale book. I like her style. A lot. It’s fun, sharp, witty, and she can definitely write the action on the ice and in-between the sheets.
So yeah. I’m so glad I picked up this book when I did. I’m moving on to the next one without delay.
This review also posted on GoodReads.