Thursday, June 7, 2018

Coach's Challenge by Avon Gale (audiobook)

Title:  Coach's Challenge 
Author: Avon Gale
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Scott R. Smith

Genre: Sports Romance (m/m) 
Series: Scoring Challenge #5
Main Characters: Troy and Shane
Release Date: December 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
6 hrs 50 mins

It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.25
Story: 4.0

I love this entire series and this installment was definitely no exception to that. My only complaint (and I really don't consider this as a complaint) is that I kept checking because I felt like I'd read this one before. But I honestly just think that's the nature of this series...all these romances are forbidden at a certain level so they all have that same similar feeling to them when it's been a while. BUT that's why they're part of the series...AND why I love this series so again, not really a complaint...just a weird phenomenon that kept throwing me while listening to the audiobook. 

So...this story... This is a romance between a coach and a player...something that really can't happen. Shane is in his final year playing hockey, so he's closer in age to the coach than most the players. The problem is that he's still in the closet with no plans for coming out before retirement. He simply doesn't want the focus of that one more thing to take focus off his career and his ability to play hockey. In his eyes, it's bad enough that he never lived up to his potential.

For Troy, his coming out forced him out of professional hockey play, so he has serious emotions about coming out before a person is ready. He was forced out of the closet. He certainly won't do that to someone else. 

I liked these guys together. I like how they bond over being the 'old' men in the sport. I also really liked the interesting little quirks like Troy's puzzles. It was a fun read and another fabulous installment to this series, which I've loved. 

I love Scott R. Smith's narration and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook.

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