Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Alisa
What to expect: Two men who are trying to put behind past hurts and become good support systems to their young team and to each other.
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.
They must navigate not only 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.
When I read this the first time I enjoyed it but it was my least favorite book in the series. I had a hard time connecting with Misha. Since then I’ve read the next book in the series, Empty Net, and Misha played an important role in it. I loved him in that book and I think it had a positive influence on me and made this re-read a good thing. That combined with the fact that I was listening to it on audio made everything stand out more and I was completely invested in Max and Misha’s love story this time around.
I think this author does hockey stories better than any other author I’ve read in the hockey romance genre. She knows her game and her love for it comes through. If you’re not a fan the details aren’t overwhelming but if you are a fan there are all kinds of comments about teams/players etc that will make you smile. You know you’re reading something by a true fan. I loved the part of the story about the team and their journey from underdogs to a winning team. Those scenes were great. I especially love the game scenes on audio and I say this in every review, but it’s like listening to a hockey game on the radio. I love them and I find myself totally rooting for our guy’s teams.
This was narrated by Scott R. Smith (as is the rest of the series). He has an odd cadence to the way he speaks but once I get used to it each book I end up enjoying it. He does well on different voices and you never get confused as to which character is speaking. I enjoyed the narration a lot and I think it enhances the story.
What you might not like: There is some discussion about past abuse of one character and some current abuse of another. It is not on page and is not graphic.
What you are going to love: Another excellent sports romance from this author.
Alisa runs the audio review column, Alisa Listens, at Binge on Books. She loves getting stuff done while she reads which makes audio perfect for her!
You can connect with Alisa on Twitter: @bookgirl0702