Rating: 5 stars out of 5
What happens when you try to fix the past and end up threatening your future?
Scott is struggling. Grieving the loss of his brother, carrying the weight of his father’s expectations, and getting his ass kicked in the rink, he’s in a downward spiral. He needs a solution and fast, but when his steroid use is exposed, he’s close to losing his place at Owatonna and more importantly, on the Eagles Hockey team. Thrown out of his house, with nowhere to go and no future in sight, he only has one choice; agree to mandatory counseling, random drug tests, and get his act together. Only then will he have a chance at normal. Meeting Hayne, a senior connected to the world through his art, is a shock to the system. Moving in with him is his only option, but falling for the shy artist leaves Scott in an impossible situation, and one he can’t escape.
Hayne has always been that quiet, creative kid who sat in the back of class drawing instead of listening to the teacher. A talented artist, the shy and sensitive young man is struggling with the loss of his childhood friend. Seeing his sadness reflected in his usually colorful paintings, he decides to attend grief counseling and meets Scott, a lost soul in desperate need of light and color in his life. Taking in a homeless hockey player certainly was never part of his carefully orchestrated ten-year plan. But now that Scott is in his life, he’s discovering the joy of this man’s loving smile and tender touch is one of the most beautiful palettes on earth.
Scott is the second in the Owatonna series which started with Ryker, a story I loved. These characters and novels are connected with the much loved Harrisburg Railers Series by the same authors (Ryker is the son of two of the main mcs). So yes, hockey, both the game and a team, is the framework for this series as well. Owatonna is the college and team that both Ryker and Scott play for. Except in Scott’s case, that’s about to come to a crashing halt.
And that’s where this book deviates from most of the other stories. Hockey plays a decidedly lesser role here. The laser focus is on Scott, the trauma behind his actions, the deep set grief and guilt he has never dealt with, along with Hayne, the young artist who has struggled with his own crucial loss. It’s a mighty combination of gripping emotional issues, moving characters, and a study in relationships and fractured families.
Truly, grab those tissues.
From that first shocking bloody punch, Locey and RJ Scott reel us into the pain, grief stricken world of Scott. Even as we deplore his actions, something about him broadcasts his fragility, his wounds, and we’re hooked. And when Hayne comes into the picture, well, the power of that small character completes the story and the connection to both men and the hope for their relationship.
I’m with them every angst filled step of the way and wanted this story to continue because I fell so in love with them both as they felt their way towards love and recovery.
What I love about this and the other series is that the authors bring back the characters in each others stories so we can see how their relationship is progressing. I look forward to that with Scott and Hayne too.
Bring on the next book!
If you haven’t started this series, rush out to get Ryker, and then Scott. You will be all caught up and ready for the next one!. I highly recommend them all.
Cover art: Meredith Russell. Love that cover. Perfect and matches the series style.
Published March 27th 2019
Series Owatonna U Hockey #2