Author ~ Jeff Adams
Publisher ~ JMS Books
Published ~ 13th September 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Life has a sneaky way of checking you into the boards.
The relationship that began when Simon Roberts and Alex Miller were in high school is about to cross another milestone as they start their final year at the University of Michigan. It’s been four amazing years of love, friends, and hockey.
Now it’s time to help pay it forward.
When a talented sixteen-year-old goalie is denied placement on a youth league roster, he asks Simon and Alex to coach a team of LGBT youth and allies. With the determination, hard work, and help of an amazing group of friends, they rally the team towards a winning season.
In the final installment of the best-selling Hat Trick trilogy, Simon and Alex find everything they’ve worked so hard for is in jeopardy. When they’re thrown a devastating curve ball, the far-reaching implications put their entire future together on the line.
NOTE: The paperback contains the stories, "Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp" and "Hat Trick Overtime: Reunion."
This final book in the series follows Simon and Alex through their last year of college. These boys have really been through the wringer in the previous books and while this isn’t completely smooth sailing, it was nice to see more of the focus placed on the good things in their lives and their plans for the future without overblown drama. Even though the storylines in the first two books were mostly wrapped up there, I wouldn’t suggest jumping into this story not having read them as those events and Alex and Simons’ character development color the actions and decisions they make here.
As Alex and Simon are busy with their duties as co-captains of the Wolverines, a full course load and part time jobs, they are approached by Scotty, a flamboyant young man who is looking to start a youth hockey team after being denied a position on a team to less talented players. It’s hard to say no when faced with a chance to pay it forward to players who are facing the same discrimination once thrown their way. With the support of the other members of the team and their friends, they take on coaching duties for the inclusive Rainbow High hockey team which introduces us to some very likeable side characters. Prejudice still rears its ugly head, but with their history Alex and Simon are able to offer the team the chance to just play. There was enough of a focus placed on a few of the players who had very interesting stories (especially Scottie, Bryan and TJ) it left me wondering if they will be given their own stories in the future.
Simon continues to work at the Community Center while considering pursuing a Master’s degree and Alex is hopeful for a full time job at Edge Tech. The book unfolds almost journal style, showing days in their life with their friends, teammates and family that gives the book a realistic but occasionally disjointed feel. It sometimes seems as though Alex and Simon are a bit too serious and mature for their age, although considering all they have been through it shouldn’t be a surprise. This maturity is on display when some unexpected obstacles thrown in their way, including a medical diagnosis that will affect the rest of their lives together, the return of Simon’s brother and doubt being cast on their relationship by someone who was one of their earliest and strongest supporters.
The one thing that is never uncertain is their love and devotion to each other. There are some things that never change and Alex and Simon always make sure to fit in some time for each other and IHoP pancakes. I would have liked to have had a few more of their quiet moments together, but the ones we do see reinforce what a good fit they are.
With less angst and heartache than the previous two books, Jeff Adams wraps up Alex and Simon’s story arc by giving readers a solid HEA for two characters who really deserve it. The conclusion will likely draw a few very happy tears as it brings everything full circle in a very special location. If you still can’t get enough Simon and Alex, I know Jeff Adams has plans for a peek into the future with a free short due out later this Fall so keep your eyes open for it.
Book #1: Hat Trick
Book #2: Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound