A MelanieM Review:Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

I discovered Rachel Reid through this blog’s recommendations for M/M Hockey Recommendations.  All it took was one story to know I had a new author for my auto buy list.  Luckily for me , the author also loves to write M/M hockey romances so I’m absolutely overjoyed twice over.

Game Changers is one of her fabulous series that I just impatiently wait for that next story to fall.  Tough Guy is the third installment and , again, just another outstanding tale of romance intertwined with the game of ice hockey and its players.  It’s a game I’m fanatic about and deeply appreciate those authors that share my love as well as have the ability to not only understand the complexities of the game but of the players and their careers.  It is a far cry from football, much closer in passion and spirit to baseball in what it takes sometimes to continue on because of the love of the sport.

In Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid, the author also writes about what happens when that passion begins to fade, what’s next.    Something that can cut deep  emotionally and mentally.  Reid’s characterizations have been a major draw of her stories.  They are layered portraits of real people, flawed, human, pained, and lovely.  So easy  to connect with, as you do here with both hockey star Ryan Price and musician Fabian Salah.

They have a complex back history, together and apart but when they mesh and reconnect, they are so endearing, so open, so, well perfect for each other, that the story just flew by as I was so engaged by their relationship and their path towards love.

By the end (as I feel with all the stories in this series) I was loathe to leave the couple behind.  I had fallen for them and wanted to linger a bit longer.

Oh well, now to wait for the next story in the series.  I hope Rachel Reid won’t make me wait too long.

I highly recommend this story and the entire series.  And this author.  What a splendid time you will have getting acquainted!

Cover art by Carina Press is just ok but doesn’t really relate to the storyline or character.  Meh.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published January 13th 2020 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488068917 (ISBN13: 9781488068911)
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

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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:

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: January 13th 2020 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488068917 (ISBN13: 9781488068911)
Edition Language English