Author ~ Avon Gale
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 27 November 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A Scoring Chances Novel
Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He's put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.
Lane is 20 years old and just starting what looks to be a promising career in professional hockey with minor league team the Sea Storm. He’s just moved from Canada to Jacksonville, Florida. Too bad he has alienated most of his team before the first game starts with his inability to filter his thoughts before speaking. At 31, Jared Shore knows his time playing hockey is nearing an end. Cast as the villain enforcer for the Renegades, Jared’s used to fighting on the ice, and when rookie Lane Courtnall drops his gloves to instigate a fight in his first game, Jared knows just why he is doing it. When he runs into Lane at a bar later that night, things get strange, then they get hot and then they can’t wait to do it again. Good thing their teams are rivals with plenty of games to look forward to, not that Jared’s looking for a relationship or that Lane even knows what’s going on!
I really enjoyed this story. Once again Avon Gale has created a quirky and loveable character in the socially awkward Lane. He’s “not good at feelings” and says things as they pop into his head, often taking what other people say quite literally. He needs to pause to think about things he’s not sure he understands, even if it occurs in the middle of sex. Lane is not very experienced, but is eager to learn everything he can from Jared, who is more than happy to oblige.
Jared is a sweetheart. He knows where he stands in the league and that he needs to start considering life after hockey. While Lane is learning a lot from him, Jared also starts seeing things differently after spending time with Lane, realizing how the events that started his career were still holding him back after so many years. The way he embraces the “weird” that is Lane just made me smile.
The dual point of view works great and the two MC’s have very different personalities. They fall very easily into their relationship with no unnecessary drama between them. It’s not often that I find myself laughing in the middle of a hot sex scene before getting right back to it. I loved the way Jared and Lane kept their rivalry on the ice and each played to win, trash talk and all. You don’t have to be a hockey lover to enjoy the entertaining on-ice scenes.
The biggest issues that both men have to deal with concern their parents and, for Lane, coming out to his team. Both had different experiences, good and bad, as far as their families supporting their interests and responding to their sexualities, but neither has been all that good communicating about it and tensions grow throughout the story.
In addition to Jared and Lane, there are a number of well written supporting characters including Lane’s new best friend Zoe, his roommates Riley and Ryan, and the rest of the Storm and Renegades players. I’m really looking forward to the next story about quiet Sea Storm goalie Riley.
Breakaway is a completely different book than Avon Gale’s debut, Let the Wrong Light In. This is a straight forward romance about two men falling in love and incorporating each other into their lives, with no major angst or drama. There are still bumps in the road of course, but it’s a lighter, feel good love story. If you like sports themed romances with a touch of humor, a quirky MC and a wonderful supporting cast you’ll have fun with this story.