Title: Winter Ball
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 23rd February, 2017
Length: 5 hours and 35 minutes
Reviewed by: Lily G Blunt
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work – and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a post-practice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected – nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games – and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.
Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie – but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!
I’ve been a fan of both Amy Lane and Nick J Russo ever since I first listened to Beneath the Stain. Nothing surpasses this book in my opinion, although all of Amy’s other works are outstanding and superbly written.
Winter Ball is a great friends to lovers story with two very likeable main characters and some endearing secondary characters too. Although it’s a sport-themed book, not too much attention is paid to the games themselves—a big plus for me.
I just loved the connection between Skipper and Richie and how they both move from secretive/closeted to openly out and proud. I also liked when Richie’s possessiveness made itself known. The romance is sweet and the making out is ‘Amy Lane’ sizzling hot. Their relationship, the everyday events, the humour, and the dialogue came across as real.
The angst triggered by Richie’s family and how they treated him was there for conflict and, at times, I thought that storyline felt a little forced. I couldn’t understand why a twenty-five year old wouldn’t stand up for himself. But there again, that happens a lot in real life.
Nick’s narration is spot-on as always. He delivers great character representation, emotion, and his voice is just a joy to listen to. Terrific!