This was a really good story about two professional hockey players. Lane is a young, recently drafted player to a NHL affiliate team. He's struggling with gaining respect from his teammates and ongoing frustration leads to him throwing down his gloves against rival team enforcer Jared. Jared has been playing for awhile and knows his career is coming to an end. He's shocked that the young player would challenge him and despite their ensuing fight Jared is attracted to Lane. A later meeting at a bar leads to a steamy one night stand. What neither men counts on is a deep attraction that causes them to rethink their relationship.
What stood out to me most in this book was the character development. I felt the author did a great job with both of the main characters. They and their relationship carry the story. Lane was very socially awkward which led to some pretty funny moments but he's endearing and he's honest about his own short comings. Jared was a solid character who is just a nice guy. He is done well and realistically. I could totally understand his draw to Lane and I could see how Lane's innocence and enthusiasm could change the way Jared sees life. There was a host of side characters who added to the story. There was some angst with their parents but it was believably done. I was also really happy to see that the author chose to have the MC's be "out" and their fellow players to be portrayed as accepting and tolerant, not the stereotypical homophobic jerks that are so often portrayed in books about hockey.
I also really enjoyed the pacing and flow of the story. There are enough things happening to make it interesting but it wasn't full of traumatic incidents or typical tropes like life threatening injuries (again really common in hockey books). Things happened but not many big things and nothing took away from the magic of the two MC's relationship. The relationship built over the course of the story and seemed very realistic.
This was my first time reading this author and I was excited that this was so good. I went right out and bought another book by her. This book was a really pleasant surprise and I highly recommend it. It had a bit of everything. A good solid story, some funny moments, some romance and some steamy times. And of course, hockey.
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.