Monday, June 26, 2017

Release Day Review: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

coachs-challengeTitle ~ Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) 

Author ~ Avon Gale

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 26th June 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





A Scoring Chances Novel

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 that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’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, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not 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.

Debra’s Review

Book 5 in Avon Gale’s wonderful hockey series once again moves teams and locations and brings us two brand new MCs. We’re moving onto the Asheville Ravens, the most hated team in the league, with good reason. I’d recommend reading the previous book, Empty Net, before this one since the reasons behind a lot of what goes on with the team occurs there.

Let go by his team in San Diego, at 36 Shane is about to play out his last season in Asheville with the Ravens. He’s not thrilled, but he wants to end his career on his own terms. Shane has allowed the commentators’ claims that he is just a goon who hasn’t lived up to his potential get to him, and thinks he isn’t good enough at what he does. He is out only to his best friend and is happy with his one-night stands.

Troy Callahan has his own reasons for taking on the job of coaching the Ravens and plans to undo everything their prior coach did and rebuild the team. He is out and proud, blunt and stubborn, at least one word in every sentence is f*ck, but he doesn’t mess around when it comes to coaching his team.

Shane showing up a day late to practice doesn’t exactly get him off to a good start with Coach Callahan, who already thinks bringing him onto the team is a bad idea. Lucky for us though they are both each other’s type. Their antagonistic banter gets them both hot for each other and pretty soon Shane is shamelessly flirting with Troy, though that all still sounds like an argument too. Once Troy ignores the voice in his head telling him what a bad idea it is, these two can’t keep away from each other. Troy has a filthy mouth and Shane totally gets off on it. Shane’s a smartass who turns everything into a challenge and Troy can’t resist that. Good thing they’re just having sex since Shane is going back to San Diego at the end of the season, right?

As a couple, Troy and Shane are great fun. They’re not romantics, but they show their affection in other ways, sometimes publicly, but always by trying to get the last word in. The banter is great, something Avon Gale always excels at. These two these two get off on the bickering. They even do it during blowjobs. Both of them are turned on by the other’s attitude; Troy is a dirty talker and likes to be in control and Shane loves it! Possibly the most romantic things they do are the small words of support they offer each other, but then quickly cover with a wiseass comment.

The story didn’t have the angst and drama of the previous books, and I did miss that a little. Both men’s issues are in their own heads and are mild personal hang-ups, that don’t really hold them back. The relationship itself actually flows without problem for the most part. There is a bit of drama at the end, something that blindsides the men, but it wasn't a focus of the story. There is quite a bit of focus on the hockey aspects and rebuilding the team that St. Savoy destroyed in the last book, and with both Shane and Troy’s points of view it’s presented from both the player’s and coach’s side. It was great to see the team grow and get some redemption. There are glimpses of games against the Sea Storm and the Spitfires and one of the best on-ice scenes is between Hux, the Spitfires’ enforcer and Shane, with an assist by the always charming Isaac Drake.

There are a few new characters introduced that I expect to see in future stories, including River, a ballet teacher by day and bartender by night. There is also more focus on team captain Xavier Matthews and I have a feeling there will be plenty of drama and angst when his story is told.

All in all this was a different type of couple than we usually get in this series and a bit of a different story, but I adored the way Troy and Shane went about their relationship and am hoping to get more of them, and what will be their new professional dynamic, when we are given Xavier's story. I consider this another winning entry in a series that has not faltered yet.

Purchase Links





Scoring Chances Series

Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1)


Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2)


Power Play (Scoring Chances #3)


Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4)




Meet Avon Gale 


avongaleAvon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.



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