Title: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3)
Author: Rachel Reid
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 13, 2020
Page Count: 262
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?
Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.
Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.
Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.
I absolutely loved Heated Rivalry and what I saw of Ryan Price there so I picked his book. It was—not what I expected.
The differences threw me off. The story format and focus is totally different, which was hard to adjust to. It’s a romance story, with heavy buildup of main characters. It tackles Ryan’s health problems in meaningful way, and the backstory he and Fabian share is very sweet.
Ryan is struggling with expectations everyone else has of him and what will really make him happy. He soldiers on, but there is no real joy in his life until he reconnects with Fabian. Except that Fabian is flighty and while confident in himself and his choices in life, he is not confident in Ryan. That seemed to be my main problem with the story: I didn’t like Fabian. He didn’t feel real in the way Ryan had and it diminished my interest in seeing how the story will develop. I persisted with reading because Ryan’s character was expertly done. His problems, the way he handles them, the underlying sweetness in contrast to his public persona sold me on him. Maybe that was my problem with Fabian, because he felt unfinished when compared to Ryan.
The romance story is sigh worthy and I liked Ryan’s shy approach to dating Fabian. But sadly, the book was not for me.