Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5)
M/M Hockey Romance
Released: June 26, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
This is the first time I have read this author – I didn’t know I was missing out on a m/m hockey series! What I liked about this book is that it takes place in the minor league of the NHL. The author includes a note at the beginning, briefly explaining the minor league system for the NHL and I appreciated that. I enjoyed seeing a minor league team and the struggles some of them face.
That all being said, it took me a bit to get into this one. I kind of felt like the dialogue was forced or just didn’t flow well at the beginning, but it greatly improved for me as I got more into the story. This book features one hero who is the coach of the Asheville Ravens, and a player who is done playing in the major leagues, but isn’t quite ready to be done playing hockey all together.
Troy is the coach, who is out as gay but was blackmailed when he was in the NHL, forcing his retirement. But he is now a minor league coach and really likes it. He is also super grumpy and taking over a team that does not have a good reputation. This team was led by a really bad coach who put this team into a very bad place. They had silent locker rooms, they bullied other teams and their own players. Troy has a big challenge ahead of him and he is just the guy to take it all on. He comes in with very strict rules, but they are all there to lead the team back to working together. When he hears the GM signs Shane North – Troy is worried this player, with a history of bad hits and a bad attitude, will bring chaos back to his team.
Shane’s NHL career never did much but he loves the game. He agrees to sign a one-year contract in the minors so he can keep playing. While he has had a history of suspensions for bad hits, he only wants the best for his new team. Right from the start, Shane and Troy butt heads. Shane is respectful of Troy, but at the same time, as a veteran player, thinks he knows what is best to help team morale. After some grumbles and growls, they each figure out their place on the team and together really start to help these young guys get off on the right skate.
Shane is not out, but Troy soon realizes he is gay and they have that “I hate you but I secretly am in lust with you” thing going on.
“Why does it turn me on when you talk to me like an asshole?” Shane’s fingers slipped deftly inside the sweats Troy had changed into for the long ride back to Asheville.
“Because you’ve got a goddamn screw loose, North. That’s why.” Troy gave up and rested his head back against the seat as Shane wrapped his rough, calloused fingers tightly around his cock and stroked. “Do it fast.”
There are soon angry kisses and blow jobs in the locker room. They are very physical and Troy, being his coach a little older, likes to boss him around. I enjoyed their chemistry a lot. And the sex is intense and dirty. They may turn to blow jobs every time they have a conflict with each other, but it works in this book. Although their relationship is heavy on the physical sex, I also felt them fall in love and come to care for one another.
“I want you to stick around. And not just so we can get caught fucking in my office either.”
“This is the most romantic moment in my whole life,” said Shane. Then he made a face. “Jesus Christ, I think I actually mean that.”
There is an outside conflict that comes into play when another discovers this secret love affair and tries to blackmail Shane to outing himself. This doesn’t overshadow that romance or the hockey atmosphere, which is done well by the author. When I read hockey romance, I like to feel the hockey aspect.
Overall a sexy book – I’d like to go back and catch up on the first four.