Title: Power Play (Scoring Chances #3)
Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 9th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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.
The third story in the Scoring Chances hockey series delivers another fun, funny, low angst, sexy as hell and thoroughly enjoyable tale as I’ve come to expect from Avon Gale.
Misha Samarin and Max Ashford are hired to coach the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the ECHL, not just because team owner and General Manager Jack Belsey hopes they can turn the team around, but because of their mutual history. The one where during the Stanley Cup Playoffs years ago Misha threw the hit that sent Max to the ice, where his head slammed hard on the side of Misha’s stick and forever put an end to Max’s hockey career.
Belsey looks at the situation as a win-win – either Misha and Max’s history will get them media coverage, or they’re good enough coaches that the team will start winning and get media coverage.
For Max it was all a long time ago and he holds no grudge, for Misha he still sees Max lying unmoving on the ice, still as a corpse in his nightmares. But the two work together well, and by the end of training camp they have a team of passably decent hockey players.
What he really had was a team of misfits captained by a goalie with anger-management issues and a facial piercing, coached by the man who ended Max’s professional hockey career, and owned and managed by a sleazy asshole who was going to use that for publicity.
It was also a team that had five players named Jacob. And even though he’d been half-responsible for signing said players, Max had completely managed to overlook that.
“Wait. Seriously?” Max groaned when the fifth Jacob, who was actually Jakob, introduced himself the first day of practice. “What’s your last name?”
Max exchanged a look with Misha. “Congrats, Jakob. You’re the only one who gets to keep his first name.”
The more Max works with Misha the more he comes to realize he’s lusting for him. But while Max realized he’s bisexual (after a particularly interesting vacation to Mexico) and owns it, Misha is gay but not open about it. So it’s only after the two spark that slowly Max’s effervescent charm wends its way through the all the cracks in Misha’s armor, making Misha fall for Max. Hard.
Misha nodded and pulled away. His mind was still buzzing with the things Max said to him. “I was proud of you” and “I love you.” He should say that to Max, because he did love Max. More than he’d loved anyone—certainly more than he loved himself.
I love Max with his warmth and sunny personality, and I love Misha for being the taciturn loves to suffer in silence bugger he is. I love their interactions and romance. I even like all the hockey action.
While the romance is the best part of the story, for me, it’s also the part where I wanted more. I wanted more page time with the two together. I wanted more cuddles and fluff time. I flipped through the story so quickly, and was so into it, that I was disappointed when it ended, not because of the ending, but because I wanted it to keep going! I want more!