Reviewed by Chris
SERIES: Scoring Chances #1
AUTHOR: Avon Gale
NARRATOR: Scott R. Smith
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 7hrs 33mins
RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2016
Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.
It is hard to fathom actually loving Lane and Jared more than I already do, but this audiobook version of their story does a damn good job of doing just that.
When Lane Courtnall throws down his gloves and goes after the Renegades enforcer, Jared Shore, he isn’t thinking about much more than that this might be his only shot to get his teammates to like him enough to at least not set him up to be slaughtered by the opposing team. What starts as a (losing) fight on ice, though, soon turns into something much more over (really bad) bar food when Lane runs into Jared later that night. Nothing–not even team rivalries, age differences, or Lane’s lack of filter–is enough to stop the chemistry between the two men. Though if anything would do it, it’d be chronic case of foot-in-mouth that Lane seems doomed to never recover from. But with lives in two different cities, and careers going in two opposite directions, the real fight will be in trying to have something that does not end with the cleaning out of lockers.
I’m not going to say much about the story itself (being that I already wrote a review for it when it came out on ebook–which you can check out here) but I do wanna emphasize my love for this book and the whole series. After having only just finished Empty Net (book four in the Scoring Chances series) just recently, it was really nice to go back and see where it all began. Breakaway is by far the lightest and most fluffy of all of the books in this series, but that does not make it a lesser book. It is a perfectly balanced mix of humor, hockey, and everyday human struggles. There is not one moment when I was bored or wanting to put the story down (and with this being in audio that means I rarely have to).
I don’t get many books on audio, but I must admit that I am clamoring to get this entire series. Scott R. Smith does a fantastic job of bringing out both unique and easily identifiable characters in not only Jared and Lane, but for all the secondary characters as well (and boy did the few instances of Riley and Ethan really get me excited to listen to Save of the Game). Lane sounded like Lane. In every way. And Jared…all growly and just damn perfect. I was absolutely thrilled to have them talking in my ear.
One of the marks of a great narrator for me is the ability to simply fade into the background and let the story take on a life of its own. Here Smith so completely catches the essences of the characters that it’d be hard for me to ever not hear them speaking in his voice when I go back to reread the ebook.
I am thrilled that I can once again recommend this book to you. It was a joy to listen to, and no matter how many rereads I go thru I will never not love to hear the story of Lane and Jared. This is just one more way to make that possible.