Title: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5)
Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 26th 2017
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.3 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.
Man, Avon Gale ticks so many of my boxes! Scoring Chances is one of my favorite series ever, and Coach’s Challenge was a worthy addition.
What I liked:
–The banter. Avon Gale is one of the few authors that can make me laugh out loud. The sarcastic/deadpan/give no fucks humour is my kind, and Troy rocked it.
“Just keep in mind that the Troy Callahan Sensitivity Training Seminar is a door hitting your ass on the way out and we’ll get along fine. Now that we got that clear, I’m gonna tell you kids a story about your former dickhead coach.”
-The chemistry. Off.the.charts. There were fireworks and explosions and dirty talk and sex in public places. They simultaneously made me hot and bothered and gave me an anxiety attack because “Idiots, you ‘re going to get caught!”
-The team. If you have read Empty Net, you know that Coach St. Savoy, the most disgusting coach there is, had beaten the spirit and passion out of his team. The way Troy (and Shane) took these players and turned them into a REAL team, was a thing of beauty to watch.
-The secondary cast. Xavier Matthews needs a story. River needs a story too (I don’t care about the boyfriend, make him go). I know I’m not the only one who says that, it’s public demand. It was great seeing Drake, Laurent, Misha and Sam. Their voices are so strong and distinct that only a few sentences from each of them were enough to make me relive their stories.
–The resolution to the conflict. I won’t say much because I don’t want to spoil. But nobody puts Troy in the corner, bitch.
What I didn’t like:
Lets see…Nope. Can’t think of anything. I really liked the book. I could have used a little more sweetness and sappiness instead of aggresiveness all the time, but in the end this is not who Shane and Troy are. They ‘re more like…
“I’m not just fucking you, idiot. I’m in love with you.”
“Of course the first time you said that to me, it’d be dramatic as possible. Of course it would be.”
“You do know me pretty well. Yeah.”
Special mention to:
Shane and Hux’s “fight”. The girl who ‘s never watched a hockey game and thinks that soccer is hardcore, was like……”WHOA! Is that a thing?”
Bottom line, Coach’s Challenge was a great addition to the series. Recommended!