Title: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5)
Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 26th 2017
Genre(s): MM Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: LaurasPassion
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
“A Hockey Player’s Love..”
WOW. Coach’s Challenge, by Avon Gale, was such a fantastic read! It was definitely one of the best hockey-reads I’ve ever encountered. Exciting games, heart-breaking angst, and funny, down-to-earth, good-looking hockey players are just some of the reasons why I am so glad to have read this book. This was my first opportunity to read anything by this author, and, as soon as I saw that it was about hockey, I jumped right in. I’ve always loved watching hockey on television, and so in print…YES, PLEASE! There is just something about reading about how players fly across the ice in their clunky and padded gear with their large muscular legs with their strong thighs gliding them along, that is just so….thrilling.. That this was a must-read for me.
Coach’s Challenge is a story about Shane North, a kind, helpful, laid-back, and misunderstood hockey player, and, Troy Callahan, a retired, seemingly gruff, head-strong, and kind, former hockey player. Both are at an uncertain juncture in their lives, so a little helpful nudge would be welcomed in order to take that next step. Ever hear of the expression, “Being at the right place at the right time?” Well, that would describe perfectly how both men came to work for the same minor league hockey team in North Carolina. Having been brought in to revitalize a failing hockey team, both Troy and Shane begin to reshape not only the team, but, also, their own lives as well.
GAH…what an excellent, heart-stopping, nail-biting, incredibly steamy, and swoon-worthy read! This book took me by surprise. Well, I knew it was going to be something special, because.. DUH! It’s a book about hockey! ‘Nuff said about that. *giggles*
While I initially had thought the pace and the plot were a little slow at the beginning, I understood the need for all of the necessary details. I just wished that there was more time on the ice, rather than explaining the ins and outs of hockey. But, then..BAM! It had all smoothed itself out. Then..I didn’t want to stop reading, at all, even when I found myself crying at the decisions and sacrifices having been made, laughing at the banter, and having to stop and clean my steamed-up glasses as a result of the incredibly hot chemistry between Shane and Troy. *fanning ‘self again*
I also loved the secondary characters! I found them to be well-developed, relatable, adorable, and, funny-as-anything. Since Coach’s Challenge is part of a series, reading any of the prior books in the series would certainly help with the overall experience of this book, however, it would not be a hindrance if they weren’t read prior to this one. I also found that the characters who did make cameos in this book, positively added to the overall successful plot of the book.
The chemistry. Yes..oh yes..as mentioned briefly before, the chemistry was off-the-charts. *phew* I mean, YOWZA. This kind of chemistry frequently involved..incredibly hot dirty talking practically tearing off ones clothes kind of chemistry. I was secretly so glad to not be around anyone else while reading for fear of squealing aloud. Because I did, and I would have. But…I only wished that there was more *achem*..variation..with those sexy, sexy steamy scenes. And, I also had wished that there was more of a general description of the two yummy hockey players, to be able to have that over-the-top connection with them. Even though I did have a connection, I just needed more of a description of who they were.
I absolutely loved this book! While the angst was pretty much quietly solved, it does still leave the door open for more, and definitely more cameos in future books as well. It’s exciting hockey jargon, hilarious bantering, sexy hockey players, and especially its overabundance of support for the gay community, are just some of the reasons why I will return for a re-read very soon. 🙂