Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/09/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
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 guilt-ridden years 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 to forget, but also a sleazy GM determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets the team, Misha revisits his darkest days, which might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
This is the third installment in Score of the Game, and while there is no real need to have read the first two books, they are both really good and I would recommend that you do so.
I think that this is the strongest of the series so far, and in Max Avon Gale has created a caring and delicious character. The premise of the book is simple, Misha caused Max’s accident at a hockey match, and both of their hockey careers came to a close. The accident exacerbated Misha’s unbelievable sense of Russian guilt, and yet freed Max. Both men went into coaching, and found themselves as head and deputy coaches to a failing hockey team, the Spitfires. Max has been recruited specifically because of the accident and to cause publicity with Misha; but as they they to know each other they realise that not only to they make a great team as coaches; they are also attracted to each other.
Max’s bisexuality is dealt with in such an accepted way, and in fact his acceptance of himself is one of the most attractive things about the book, Max is happy. he doesn’t really have issues, he faces things head on and pretty much says and does what he feels to be right. Once of the most endearing characters I have come across in contemporary romance in a very long time, he talks, he listens I loved him.
Misha is darker, guilt driven and secretive. To see him being drawn out of some of the darkness by Max, and the players in the team was great, I can’t remember the last time I smiled quite so much, the relationship between them was so sound , there was drama but it wasn’t forced, even when Misha’s past is forced out, Max’s reaction is caused by lack of trust, and there is no angst.
The secondary characters, especially Drake the blue haired goalie, are also well fleshed and interesting.
A joyful and entertaining read, I am looking forward to Drake’s story (hint hint).
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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