A 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.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Avon Gale fan. Like, to the point I’m kind of waiting for a restraining order to show up at my door because I’m an online stalker. Okay, so maybe not that bad, but I really love Avon Gale. Have I mentioned that? And it’s the Scoring Chances series that roped me in as a lifelong reader of her stories, so I couldn’t wait to get my greedy little hands on Power Play.
Misha and Max have a history on the ice, and it’s not a good one. I loved the way Avon portrayed the guilt Misha felt over ending Max’s career. There was a balance between what I think is realistic guilt a player would feel and the added angst ingrained in him from childhood. Without that balance, Misha could’ve easily been seen as over the top and a bit unlikeable.
While I hated the ulterior motives that brought them back together, I’m glad they were. Both of them needed to heal from what happened, and it was perfect that they were able to do so together. They not only had great chemistry together, but they worked well as a coaching team. Both had their own strengths and neither felt slighted when the other took the lead.
I was expecting this book to be heavy on the angst given the fact that Misha is Russian and harbors a lot of fears over being gay. I thought his past would come back to haunt him in a more dire manner than it did. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. While part of me wishes it did, I don’t know that something so dark would’ve fit with the rest of the series.
I’m hoping and praying we’ll get to see Isaac’s story next, because I really feel for that boy!