Review: Power Play, by Avon Gale

Blurb:

cover-avongale-powerplayA freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time behind the bench, as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build


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Edition read:
May 9, 2016
Dreamspinner Press
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
201 e-book pages
3rd person
Scoring Chances, book 3
May 9-10, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Review:

I had a smidge of apprehension going into this…did I really want to read about coaches? Coaches are usually responsible, level-headed ones. Why would I wanna read about that? Also, coaches don’t usually get all sweaty. And I do like my men on the sweaty side.

Boy, oh boy, was I wrong. The kind of wrong I like to be.

This series has been so much fun to read, and it just keeps getting better. Avon Gale is moving right on in and making herself comfy as one of my favorite authors.

It’s been a while since I’ve laughed out loud so frequently while reading. In fact, it’s been so long I can’t remember when or what the book was. Maybe it was book two in this series.

In Power Play, Misha has been nearly leveled with guilt. From a shitty childhood that had him leaving his homeland and everything he knew behind, to when his long NHL playing career came to a somewhat abrupt halt due to a Big Bad Thing happening at the end of his stick. He’s been penalizing himself with guilt ever since. That guilt is just tacked on to a lifetime of guilt for all kinds of other Big Things. Dude’s just been camping out in the penalty-box of guilt for nearly his whole life.

Max’s playing career, oddly enough, came to an abrupt halt at the exact same time. Yet, he’s so full of compassion, optimism, hope, the love of a wonderful family, and a great outlook on life that he’s made the best of a bad situation and soldiered on.

See, these guys had a, um, run-in you might say, some years back. They have good reason to be wary of each other and to never want to be in the same room…ever. But a slick-willy mastermind has done just that, forced a power play between them, for the sole purpose of watching the sparks fly for publicity reasons. I just don’t think the smarmy dude counted on those sparks being due to chemistry and friction of the super-sexy kind.

While Misha is in his self-imposed penalty box Max takes every advantage he can get to score the man.

Max is a goofball. He’s hilarious, fun to be around and doesn’t have much of a filter. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but his blunders are endearing and giggle-inducing. He has the best heart and is exactly what Misha needs.

There’s a setting between “hate” and “sucking his cock,” Max. Find it and dial it there. Quick.

Misha. Wow, my heart was ready to force hugs-n-cuddles on the stoic, big blond Russian. He’s been in the States for more than twenty years but still hasn’t quite grasped American slang or culture. He’s a man of few words and a tough nut to crack.

“I’m Russian,” Misha said with the faintest hint of a smile. “We angst, Max.”

You know what I learned as a kid cracking nuts on my gran’s back porch? An easy way to crack one nut is to squeeze two of them together.

Max is just the nut for the job.

There’s a good bit of hockey, of course. It’s super-well written with just enough action that’s easy to follow. Much of it is hilarious because this team, the Spartanburg Spitfires, is bad. Really bad — starting the season as the worst in the league. They’re a bunch of misfit wannabes with a lot of heart and love for the game. Watching them flounder before coming together is comedy gold. As the coaches, Misha and Max can only shake their heads at times while watching from the sidelines.

This book was so much fun I didn’t want it to end! My only quibble is that things started feeling a bit rushed at the end. And, I’ll freely admit, that might have been me, devouring this as ravenously as I did.

Then. Dammit. I got to the end and COULDN’t STOP. Seriously. I just trundled right along and read the Exclusive Excerpt of book four, which I never freaking do when a book’s not out yet. So, take heed, fellow readers of the following words of wisdom:

WARNING: DO NOT, under any circumstances read the “Exclusive Excerpt” at the back of the book. DON’T DO IT. It’ll just make you squirm and drool, and CRAVE book four and it won’t be here until “FALL” whatever the hell that means. That’s not vague at all because it’s already fall in the Southern Hemisphere. MY GOD, HOW WILL I SURVIVE?

This review also posted on GoodReads.

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