Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
This New Adult book is the first in the Owatonna U Series, a spin off from the best selling Harrisburg Railers Hockey Series.
Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?
Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.
Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?
First of all, let me say I adore and am seriously addicted to the Harrisburg Railers series by these same authors. It’s an ongoing series, and the focus is the Harrisburg Railers Hockey team, where you meet Coach Jared Madsen and genius player and from hockey family royalty Tennant “Ten” Rowe in the first book Changing Lines. Why is that important? Because Jared Madsen is Ryker’s dad. And Ten? Well, read both series and find out if you don’t already know.
That’s one warning I do have here. Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey is an adjacent series to the Harrisburg Railers and contains spoilers for that series as it picks up during events happening in and after the Harrisburg Railers story Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6).
So if you haven’t already read Goal Line, you’ll be shocked and heartbroken by the events here. I’m still in recovery over that book fyi. So just a flag..
All that said, I’ve loved Ryker throughout the Harrisburg Railers series, HIs close relationship with his father and Ten was a joy to read. Now the focus is on him and the fact that he’s has the ability to be as talented a player as Ten. People are seeing it as he heads off to college and the draft, he has choices to make, while others will be made for him. And one hockey camp changes his life and opens his eyes to life lived outside his “hockey” bubble when he meets agricultural student Jacob Benson, using hockey to continue his education and save his family farm.
As I’ve come to expect from these authors, the portraits of these young men at camp and college are realistic and layered. They are exuberant, youthful, hopeful, serious, just everything you expect young men to be. Even judgemental…that old not going past the surface thing…that happens all too often and the writers know it and use it. The authors keep it real from the dialog to the physical contact..the boys jockeying for fun so high energy, all bumping and jumbling around with each other. We get not only the interactions between Jacob and Ryker, but also all the other teammates that become so important to this couple.
Another moving element? Jacob’s farm and parents. Jacob’s deep love for his family farm, his need to save it comes across ini his characters and actions. The scenes on the farm and his dynamics with his father are tremendous. I reveled in the later when it comes to the aspect of Ryker. I won’t spoil that here. That should be savored.
My only, well, can’t call it an issue, maybe tiny heartbreak, is the HFN, which it has to be at this stage of their lives. Both are still in the growth stage, both still have their goals ahead of them. And like the Harrisburg Railers with Jared and Ten, we followed them all through every story, one way or the other as their relationship progressed, even though the stories had other couples at the fore. I’m grinning in anticipation and waiting for the next story to release. That would be for both series!
You can read one, which I highly recommend, but why would you when you can read both if you haven’t already ? Make the Owatonna U Hockey team part of your life along with the Harrisburg Railers. Become as addicted as I am! You won’t be sorry.
Cover art: Meredith Russell. That’s a perfect representation of Ryker, irrepressible curls and all. I love it.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IdxlmP
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2MT11q9
ebook, 1st edition
Published September 26th 2018 by Love Lane Books (first published September 22nd 2018)
SeriesOwatonna U Hockey #1