Rating: 4 stars out of 5
To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.
So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…
The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews was a delightful romance, especially so if you love the world of competitive ice skating. If you are one of those who stay hooked to the screen during the Olympics or the many World Championships watching the amazing athletes skate on the ice for medals and points, then Andrews manages to bring that world and back stage competition to life here in this story along with the romance. I have to admit there were times I wondered which I enjoyed more.
Alex Grady who’s desire to win makes him a less than sterling person to begin with. He evolves, thankfully, as a person as the story moves forward. But I admit to having trouble liking him at first. All his other competitors and fellow skaters, no matter what division they are competing in, came off far better. I liked them all, even Mrs C, Alex’s Russian coach. Every character here felt true, as a believable athlete and person. I enjoyed all the supporting cast, some almost as much as the main couple and wished to have seen more of them, like Kenny, the Japanese skater with so much riding on his shoulders.
The pain and emotional roller coaster that is professional/yes amateur skating world is well done here. One slip on the ice and its over for the year, everything a pair/skater/coach has worked for. How does one handle that? Andrews puts it all down into her story, and lets us feel these skaters pain and loss. As well as the fact that they’re so young too.
Matt and Alex together are adorable. I do hear that there’s lots of “hooking up” during competitions. All those gorgeous bodies and hormones flying. That feels so plausible as part of the story. By the end, they are well on their way to HEA and its wonderful.
Cover art works beautifully for the story and characters.
This new version has been extensively rewritten, updated, and expanded into a new adult romance with explicit on-page sex.
ebook, 2nd Edition: First published in 2010. , 246 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by KA Books