Wonderfully surprised by this new to me author’s hockey romance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well this was an utter surprise and a very pleasant one. I’ve never read Amy Aislin before but I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for more of this series.
I absolutely adored it. This is slow burn but with a difference because NHL defensive lineman Alex is demisexual and he needs to be emotionally connected to someone before he even thinks about having feelings of sexual attraction.
Mitch, on the other hand, is younger and, on the face of it, way more confident. He’s bold and brash but hiding a lot of hurt and loss underneath his veneer of self-assurance. He’s been putting a brave face on for so long, he’s lost the ability to be himself. But, if he wants Alex, that’s what he’s got to be.
The slow, slow burn in this is beautifully written. Alex is repulsed at first by Mitch’s open come ons and he doesn’t want to get involved. But once he sees that the visible Mitch isn’t the real one, he’s intrigued and, as he begins to tutor him for a class he can’t afford to fail while out on an injury leave, Alex starts to to get that emotional connection.
I have to say, the only aspect of this one that didn’t quite work for me was the background to why Mitch was on his own and struggling so much and, while it was thoroughly explained and was a perfectly reasonable reason, I think I needed maybe a tiny bit more interaction with his mother for it to be sold perfectly. Especially the bits with his brother.
There’s a great bunch of secondary characters in this one and a very visual setting which was well described and I’m hoping there’s going to be more involving the guys from Mitch’s college team and some of Alex’s Tampa teammates.
I loved that there was a long time period over which this story was told as well, running from 2008 through to 2015 and the final chapter/epilogue was so ridiculously sweet it had me tearing up – which doesn’t happen often!
Sports romances are one of my favourite tropes because they provide me with hope that, eventually, the toxic masculinity present in so many of the “big name” games will fade away and it won’t matter about someone’s sexuality – just how well they can play.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review