- Book Title: Empty Net
- Book Series: Scoring Chances Book 4
- Author: Avon Gale
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (September 2, 2016)
- Book Length: 219 pages
- Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, Sports
- Reviewed by: Jill
- Rating: 5 Stars and Highly Recommended
Yes! I am writing this review immediately after reading the book. AND before the release date. Go me!! I’m debating going ahead and reading this again. Or maybe, read book three again and then re-read this one. Tough choice. Ok, not really. J I love books set in the wonderful world of hockey. Especially when they are well written. I could go into how well I know hockey and set the stage for my awesome picking apart skills. Except, this story doesn’t spend much time at all on the ice. It’s more about the guys and how they are off the ice. Which is perfectly acceptable.
I was hooked immediately. Seriously. Immediately. You see, I fell in love with Isaac in the previous book. He starts the dual POV with a bang. Love that. To say Laurent and Isaac don’t get along is an understatement. When Laurent is traded to the Spitfires, Isaac doesn’t take it well. Mind you, that’s pretty much what Jack Belsey (owner and self-appointed GM) was going for. Even though Isaac is my baby, it didn’t take me long to get to know and love Laurent, too. Additionally, as if I even needed more reasons to keep reading, I had to look up two words in the dictionary before I was 10% done. Read about hockey players and expand your vocabulary. Rock on!
I’ve alluded to this not being a heavy on the hockey bits. Or at least, compared to Power Play there is less talk about games and hockey in general. This story is about Isaac and Laurent, and their struggles are off the ice. Isaac, for all his struggles in life is in a better place at the beginning of the book and Laurent needs him. The primary plot thread revolves around Laurent beating his demons and becoming a happy person. A person who can love and feel loved. There are a few additional threads that intersect with the main focus, but nothing overwhelming. This is a romance, no doubt about it, and it is beautiful.
So, if you read Power Play, you already know the majority of the people in this book. It’s fun getting to see more of Max and Misha, by the way. They don’t take over the story; they are just there to help move things along. Plus, Isaac still lives in their guest room, so we’re not in any way leaving them behind. Isaac is a great character. I feel like I’m part of his life. He’s real. Cranky, bossy and intelligent, too. Oh, don’t forget funny!! Isaac isn’t perfect by any means. I love him just the way he is, but everyone can stand a little growth now and then. Then there’s Laurent. Bless his heart, he was handed a raw deal. His demons are real – very believable. Scary , too. As far as evolving goes, Laurent has the more difficult task, but he is up to it. He needs every one of his friends to help him get there, but he is such a strong kid. Also very real. Another character I just want to hold tightly and never let go. Ok, Hux and Murph are still Isaac’s best friends on and off the ice and they get a bit more page time than the last book. Belsey is still a rude yet amazing man. Go figure how 2 scenes with him can make such an impact. He really does. Too bad he’s straight and engaged to a real go getter. He’d be a fun book to read.
There is sex in the book, and a lot is on page. It’s just not a lot of sex. Sometimes, a romance needs partners to grow together before they get sweaty. I like how the relationship moves through several stages before the first sex scene. The sex isn’t gratuitous or over the top. It’s more understated than hot, but that really is what fits this story. I can’t emphasize that enough. This is a romance for two damaged men; sex is not their end game. Love is.
The ending is perfect. It is sad, too. Well, more like bittersweet, but leaning toward happy. This is a romance and Ms. Gale is all about the happy ending, so don’t fret. They get there, and it is glorious. I devoured this book and do not remember a single editing issue. So, either the ARC is perfect, or my brain was so into the story, typos and inconsistencies were totally skipped by my eyes. 😉
This story gets all the superlatives like amazing and transcendent and fabulous. I don’t even have to think about my rating. Five stars. This is why I read. To be transported to another world and completely lose myself in the story. This book is all that (and a bag of chips)! Go…read this.
Need to throw this out there somewhere. While reading the previous book (Power Play) may make you love these guys before you start Empty Net, it’s not required. The relevant parts are sewn in so that you could read this as a standalone. Although, I highly recommend the entire series because it is that good. Totally worth every penny!
Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.
Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.