A MelanieM Review:Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1) by Avon Gale

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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.

June was Pride Month and the NHL and all of its teams celebrated too with a month long event “Hockey is for Everyone”.  Rainbow events and merchandise appeared at NHL arena and hockey players showed up at Pride parades.  It was outstanding!  And they were the only sport to do it.

Hockey players and LGBT romance is also a great combination and this blog made a list of recommendation, to be found here.  As part of my summer reading I’m working my way through those novels I hadn’t gotten to yet.  Including this one.

Don’t know how I missed it because I love Avon Gale and Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1) is both a great hockey novel which demonstrates a love and knowledge of the sport but a terrific romance, often laugh out loud, sexy and fun.

In the author’s notes, Gale mentions several autobiographies read in preparation for writing this (and other) stories.  I’m on the hunt for them now.  Because I truly believe hockey players are a unique sort of human, especially goalies.  Here Avon Gale brings in her love of the game, her depth of understanding of what it takes to play the sport, not just at the top but coming up from the ranks, if you ever do,  The lifestyle, the long hours and low pay, small attendance, and years of never being called up.  Of settling.  Here in Breakaway, it feels so authentic and human, and believable.

Especially when you are contrasting a young “talent”, drafted by an NHL team, whose time spent in the minor leagues will be brief…if he remains injury and screwup free, with a older veteran of the ice who is looking at retirement and a career played in the ECHL.    The differences are stark, and not just because they play on opposing teams.  That divide happens mostly on the ice for these players.  No, its experience, attitude, outlook, and even something called hope.

Jared Shore and Lane Courtnall couldn’t be more different but the life that this author enfuses into them through their scenes and their conversations made me connect so throughly to them both.  Lane, who is soooo different, that he defies description, often had me laughing out loud, especially in Jared’s reaction to him or whatever Lane was saying or doing.  The two of them together was comedic spice and sex and rowdy delight.  From chuckling to guffawing and sighing over their relationship, these two beautifully created characters have my heart.

It ends on a great upswing note, as both men are starting out on another path for them both.  I’m hoping to see them again somewhere in this series and get caught up in the next stage in their lives.

If you love hockey, the men who play it, and romance, here is a story not to be missed.  I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson, this is a great cover containing an important element of the storyline.  I just love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published November 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Breakaway
ISBN139781634764865
Edition Language English
Series Scoring Chances #1
setting Florida (United States)

Literary Awards Bisexual Book Award Nominee for Romance (2015)