“There’s more than one way to score.”
When superstar winger Neil Shannon is injured in the Stanley Cup Finals, he loses more than the hockey championships. With his confidence shot, his career begins to fall apart and an early retirement seems inevitable. Unwanted by his former team, Neil is traded to one that’s starting over. Even worse, he’s joined there by his biggest rival, the sexy Swede Adrian Magnusson. Adrian feels responsible for Neil’s fall from grace and is determined to revive his career, but Neil wants to stay far away from this Swedish temptation, or else he’ll lose the last thing of value he owns: his reputation.
Book Title: He Shoots, He Scores (Skate to Love Book 1)
Author: Tricia Owens
Publisher and Cover Artist: Tricia Owens
Genre/s: Sports M/M Romance
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 70 000 words
Release Date: June 16, 2020
“I like keeping in touch,” Magnusson admitted. “And I thought it would be fun, texting you. We’re always being pitted against each other by the fans and the media. Funny if they got it all wrong, yeah?”
“We’re not really friends, though,” Neil said, regretting it immediately when the light dimmed behind the other winger’s eyes. “I mean, we don’t know each other that well,” he hastened to add. “This is the first time we’ve said more than a few words to each other.”
“We should be a secret.” Magnusson’s face, normally animated, became still. “You and me.”
You’re already mine, Neil thought. He knew Magnusson meant only friendship, but a person could dream, and Neil was good at entertaining dreams.
“We are a secret,” he declared with drunken boldness. Let Magnusson think he meant it innocently. It didn’t matter.
Emotion moved across the Swede’s face, something wistful. Something stronger. Magnusson was strangely intense when he was drunk. It made Neil nervous, as though anything could happen, good or bad.
Then Magnusson grinned, and the tension snapped.
“I’m glad you yakked today, Shannon.”
Neil sighed, his arousal deflating. “Bite me, Magnusson.”
“Don’t say something like that around a Swedish lion.” Magnusson abruptly stood up and strode to the bathroom. “I’m going to shower.”
He left the door open and Neil could see him clearly in the mirror’s reflection, clumsily undressing. Neil opened his mouth to yell at him to shut the door. But then the tight yellow dress shirt came off, and the undershirt beneath it—and Neil forgot what he was going to say.
Damn, he’s built. He stared openly, unable to look away as the other man struggled with his tight pants until he finally managed to yank and kick his way free of them. His thighs were indeed tree trunks, his calves chiseled. And his ass—Magnusson wore a thong beneath his pants. Neil choked.
Magnusson heard him. His blue eyes flashed up to the mirror, wide with shock. He hadn’t realized Neil could see him. But instead of blushing as Neil expected, Magnusson’s expression grew intent again. Holding Neil’s captive gaze, he reached back and slapped himself loudly on one ass cheek.
I’m not a big hockey fan, but I am a sports fan, which is why I wanted to give this a shot. There is A LOT of hockey in it. So much so, that I feel like we hardly got to know Neil and Adrian as a couple.
Ok, so hockey rivals. Fun, right? Normally. Except the book starts with game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. In which Neil’s season ends because of injury. So there wasn’t much rivalry at all.
After recovering from his season ending injuries, he is a bit wary on the ice. And unbeknownst to him, gets traded to another team because his rival wanted him there. Because he knows that he is a great player.
But Neil is MAD. And Adrian just kind of blows off his anger. He acts like he did Neil this giant favor, because together they are unstoppable. Neil certainly doesn’t see it that way.
Oh, they are both gay and both in the closet. Although Adrian doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about being outed, Neil does. So after a hot hook up, Neil tries to blow him off. More hockey, more hockey, more hockey.
And then we get a happily for now. WHA? There was no substance to their brief relationship at all. They had heat, but I definitely didn’t feel any feelings between them. Oh, but there is an epilogue! Redemption? No. The epilogue was just the next day or so. Nothing about how they navigated their relationship in the closet, or if one or both came out or got outed or if others kept their secret, or or or…
It was a readable book and I was mostly enjoying it, but there was no couple substance there. And the happily for now seemed like a total cop out.
3 pieces of eye candy
Tricia Owens has been writing m/m fiction since 2000, after stumbling onto the term ‘slash’ and thinking it referred to horror stories. She is the author of the Sin City, A Pirate’s Life for Me, and Juxtapose City series, among several others. She lives in Las Vegas.
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