Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.
After spending years guilt ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.
Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
With each new novel in the Scoring Chances series I’m finding myself saying “oh, this is now my favorite story and couple”. Because this series just keeps getting better and better.
Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale switches the focus of the series over to the hapless Spartanburg Spitfires, previously mentioned as the worst team in the ECHL, the one you didn’t want to be traded to. Now it’s undergoing a radical change with a new coach and assistant coach team brought in by it’s owner and GM Max to light a fire and shake things up. What better way then to team two men to coach together that were featured in one of the most notorious hockey injuries in recent memory?
However, under that powderkeg of a idea and storyline, lies a layered duo and a terrific plot. Misha Samarin, the demonized player (unfairly) in this scenario has since then logged many years both as a NHL player and minor league coach. He’s earned this spot and respect. The many dimensions to his personalities that will be plumbed during this story, not only through his interactions with Max and their shared accident and growing romance, but also through a player in the Spitfire team with a shared background. I really connected with Misha and adored this man utterly. He’s complex, intelligent, and amazing. Then Gale pairs him with Max, who’s career as a player was finished by their shared accident on ice while Misha’s continued. Max has had to rebuild and retool, his goals, his life…and the result is unexpectedly optimistic and charming. While others might be bitter, Max is forward thinking and positive in his outlook, something that astonishes the Russian, who doesn’t expect forgiveness.
The dynamics and the chemistry between Max and Misha is electrifying. For that alone, buy this book. Then comes the hockey and this sad sack bunch that becomes a real cohesive hockey team under the guidance and leadership of these two men. It feels real, and authentic, and wow, do you start to cheer for them all. Trust me, you’ll be picturing these games in your head and screaming and cheering them on…go Spitfires go. Even that smarmy Belsy of a GM turns out to have layers….
Then there’s s Isaac Drake, goalie of the Spitfires. He will win your heart too. Just a complex character (ok he’s a goalie) and he is getting his own story too. So worthy of it.
But I can’t help that it’s the Russians that continue to capture my heart. Here it’s Mikhail ‘Misha’ Samarin who takes the honors. With that haunted past, reserved manner, intelligence, and yes, humor, I’m addicted to him. It doesn’t take long, It didn’t for Max. And it won’t for anyone picking up this story.
Love contemporary romance? Whether you love hockey or not, this one is for you. Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale is well written, beautifully plotted, full of amazing characters and with a sexy, hot romance and great action on ice to boot. Grab this and the entire series up for a reading experience guaranteed to stay with you!
Cover art: Aaron Anderson. What that cover might surprise some people, those who love hockey know that the coaches wear suits as do the players coming into the area. They look sharp and that suit projects the right powerful image i would expect of Misha Samarin. excellent all around.
Sales Link: Amazon
ebook, 200 pages
Published May 9th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Power Play
ISBN 163477244X (ISBN13: 9781634772440)
Edition Language English
Series Scoring Chances #3
setting South Carolina (United States)