Title: Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Avon Gale (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 27, 2015 – 240 pgs
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.
I loved this. A hockey story about a barely professional league in the American Deep South was always going to be funny. What I didn’t expect were the complex characters, a passionate love story and a completely angst-free m/m romance.
At the start of the story, Lane is a talented, arrogant new NHL draft pick starting his career with a farm team two divisions below the NHL. Socially awkward verbal diarrhea doesn’t exactly endear him to his teammates. Jared is a washed up goon at the end of his career. He’s still playing hockey because someone pays him and he doesn’t know anything else to do. They meet when Lane decides to win over his team by picking a fight with Jared.
These are two wonderful, perfectly developed characters. I love Lane’s awkwardness and his growth over the course of his first professional season. His relationship with Zoe and his relationship with his parents add warmth and depth to a brilliant story. The author doesn’t devote quite as much time to Jared, but his past and his relationship with his family are beautifully developed. I love the deft descriptions of the men Lane and Jared play with. And I really love Zoe. Not many m/m writers add well developed unique female characters, but I had a massive girl crush on Zoe from the first moment we meet her.
As the author points out, Hockey is a serious religion in Canada and I thoroughly enjoyed the clash of cultures between the Canadian and Northern American players and their new Southern home. So much is lost in cultural translation. I’m not sure if you need to be Canadian to understand the humour, but it helps.
I loved how the author circumvented the tired coming out angst common to most m/m professional sports stories. This author just acknowledges that most of the players are Canadian and they’ve had gay marriage and social justice stuff for years up there. So instead of the usual secrets, lies and stress, we get a really fun sports story. It feels modern and realistic.
I’m not a sports fan. Never have been. Imagine my surprise when after reading a few pages I found myself liking this book.
One of the things I really liked about this book is that it did not contain a lot of pages describing a hockey game or hockey players talking about hockey. I really appreciated that. This book is more about the relationship between the main characters and Lane and his friend Zoe.
I loved the main characters in this story, I especially loved Lane. He is a character with so many facets to his personality. He is hilarious and quirky and, like, has his own language, which made him really entertaining.
Below is one of my favorite quotes. Zoe and Lane are talking and Zoe says,
“What the hell are you doing?”
He looked up at her. “Looking for the button that turns on your closed captioning, because your accent is really thick when you’re mad.”
I really liked the budding relationship of the main characters. How the strange way that Lane speaks is what drew Jared in. That was so unique and funny.
I do recommend this book. This is a great story for sport lovers and ones who don’t care for sports. Don’t let the hockey scare you. Its not loaded with it. You will love the relationship between the main characters and the way Lane talks is so hilarious it makes the book a really fun read.
So I have to say it did take me awhile to warm up to Lane.. The way he acted and talked to everyone took a little bit to get used.Other than that I did like these two men together and thought this was a sweet, but very steamy book filled with a lot of hockey and two men who grow closer together as the time goes by. The way they talked to each other was honestly so funny but at the same time so sweet. Then there was also the ending which I loved.
I really liked the authors pretense of this story and the way these characters were written even Lane who took a little bit to get used to and eventually grew on me so much that by the end of this book I ended up loving his character!
All together I really liked this story!
I would recommend this book!
Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.