Goalie Interference by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
This is yet another M/M sports romance that I enjoyed Immensely. Not being a hockey fan – at all – should probably have me bored to tears by the story setting, but instead it’s quite the opposite. But, on the other hand, which straight woman wouldn’t enjoy a sexy read with lots of super-fit male athletes in a testosterone-filled environment?
Goalie Interference is the second installment in the Hat Trick series, and is coming out September 30. That I hadn’t read the first book didn’t matter at all though since they’re stand-alones. The story is of the classic enemies-to-lovers variety, but other than the trope, there is nothing regular or typical about it.
It’s about two Goalies, Emmit Armstrong and Ryu Mori, being drafted to the same NHL team and competing about the position of Starting Goal-keeper. Emmit is the rookie recruit from a lower series, Ryu is the veteran who was counting on the Starting position until Emmit showed up. But as they’re both pushing themselves to outshine the other in the net, they’re also reluctantly attracted to each other. However, Emmit has a really hard time to tolerate Ryu’s aloofishness, and Ryu simply can’t stand Emmit’s cocky attitude. On the surface, the two couldn’t be more different if they tried. Only then, when giving in to their attraction and agreeing to keep it solely physical, they start to realize they might actually make a good team. Both on and off the ice.
This read gave me all the feels. The development from adversaries to genuine teammates to more, it’s expertly written. Also, Emmit being African American and Ryu being of Japanese origin gave the story a different depth than if both MC’s had been white. Hockey is undeniably a very white sport, which I hadn’t ever reflected upon until now.
Another thing. Goalie Interference have some great secondary characters. And it’s sometimes hilarious. I loved their teammate Morley, he was simply awesome. I sincerely hope that the last installment in the series, Trade Deadline, is his story.
I have only two objections to this book. First, I like smut. Without it, I find any romance just… lacking. And the shenanigans in Goalie Interference were more of a sidenote than anything. Since Emmit’s and Ryu’s relationship started out as a purely physical one, some highly explicit sizzle in the sack would have been appreciated. Second – and this is a spoiler – I was really disappointed that they didn’t come out to their team in the end. I want and crave HEAs. And apparently, I also want and crave any sneaking around to stop.
Despite that though, in the end it was a great read. And I will most likely read the first installment, Off the Ice, the story about Emmit’s and Ruy’s teammate Tristan, while waiting for Trade Deadline.