Title: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4)
Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 2nd 2016
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.
Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.
Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).
This is my attempt to write a proper review, although I doubt I’ll succeed. This book stole my ability to express myself coherently, and my thoughts and feelings are still all over the place. Avon Gale…you are a godess, and my heart belongs to you now.
“I just don’t want you to go anywhere.”
“I’m not. I’m all yours. Caught in your net.”
This book gives the “enemies-to-lovers” trope a whole new meaning. Remember what Laurent did to Isaac in Power Play? He spit on him and called him a fag! Can’t get worse than that, right? But appearances can be soooo deceptive. Laurent not only managed to redeem himself, but he made me fall irrevocably in love with him. I could go on and on about how much I loved these guys, but in a few words…
~incredibly well scetched and fleshed out characters.
~amazing portrayal of a demisexual character.
~character growth. The things Laurent managed to overcome…
Isaac and Laurent have crazy chemistry, but that’s not all there is. Laurent needs Isaac, and Isaac is the only one who really gets Laurent. I loved the way the relationship progressed, and that these guys really talked to each other. The sex scenes are scorching, very natural and realistic, especially from Laurent’s POV.
“When Isaac said those things to him, Laurent could feel the empty places made hollow by his father’s cruelty as they filled up and mended into something whole.
“You look like you had a rough night.”
“I got a shutout, Coach Samarin made my father go away, someone gave me comics, and people talked to me like a person.[…]It was the best night I ‘ve had in a long time.”
Laurent is hurting. He’s hurt, abused, and misunderstood. Isaac orders him to be quiet, because that’s the only way he can find some peace. But Isaac doesn’t have a magic dick (thank heavens!), and I was so happy to see that there was therapy involved. I loved the “comfort-healing” aspect of this story, mostly because it was so realistic and authentic, without it being overwhelming. Laurent, you really, really are awesome!
Who knew I would end up loving the scenes on the ice? My knowledge of ice hockey is next to zero, but I loved the tension during matches, and the camaraderie among the players. Misha and Max are amazing as secondary characters, and they play a big role.
I could say more about how much I loved this book, but I ‘ve already said enough. It’s certainly one of my favorites this year, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It stands perfectly alone, but you ‘ll be missing out if you skip Power Play.