Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Rachel Reid creates memorable characters and there’s no exception in this story. Ryan and Fabian are unlikely to be forgotten in the same way that Ilya and Shane (who put in an appearance in this story) will forever hold a piece of my heart.
Picture Ryan: huge, 6’7” of muscle, a ginger (yes!) who bears an amazing resemblance to comic character Archie, but carries a mean look and uses his fists in his role as his hockey team’s enforcer. Inside, he’s a sweet man who doesn’t really like his job, hates to fight, wants to skate to win games, not rough up opponents, and who suffers from panic disorder—a panic that can strike at any time, not only when he has to fly to an away game. In fact, he left his last team due to a panic attack that ultimately resulted in being traded to the Toronto Guardians.
Picture Fabian: 5’7”, slender, creative, artistic, a musician, wears makeup, is a fabulous dresser who sometimes wears lace undies, and who hates hockey players. His father and mother are hockey fanatics who took in student players who attended a special camp each year, and they discounted Fabian for his lack of interest in the sport and his focus on music. Needless to say, gangly, awkward teen Fabian feared homophobic jocks and hated hosting them—all except for one guy named Ryan, who he had a crush on that was never revealed.
Fast forward and a chance encounter with a huge ginger in his department at SuperSaver brings it all back. Ryan Price is up close and personal again and Fabian is so speechless he fails to act. This sets the stage for a long, sweet, slow-burn story of love and change and growth in both the characters and their relationship. Ms. Reid takes them through the early stages of reuniting in friendship, stumbling into sex, and finally realizing just how deeply they care for each other.
I loved the characters—their flaws, their foibles, their fun together. I was saddened through the tough times, broken-hearted over Ryan’s insecurities, anxiety, and frustration with his career, and I rejoiced with Fabian as his musical career took off and he came into the spotlight he’d been working years to reach. The two together fit like puzzle pieces long abandoned and now brought together to form their perfect whole. I simply loved this story and I highly recommend it to all lovers of hockey and MM romance. And one more word: get the entire series. This set of stories is outstanding.
Cover art by Carina Press: