REVIEWED BY: Christie
SERIES: Winter Ball, Book 1
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
NARRATOR: Nick J Russo
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 5h 35m
RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2017
Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.
Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!
Okay, so I am a huge Amy Lane fan. I am also a huge Nick J Russo fan. And when I found that Winter Ball was not only written by Amy Lane, but the audiobook was narrated by none other than Nick J Russo, I jumped at the chance to get it even before I knew what the book was about. And, it was fantastic!
After having a rough childhood, and lonely adult existence, Christopher “Skipper” Keith has two things in his life that keep him going: the rec league soccer team he coaches and plays on, and his best friend Richie Scoggins. Then, one evening after practice, everything changes with one curious kiss that turns into another, that turns into… Well, something more. For both Skipper and Richie. That something more turns into sweet secret caresses, longing looks from across the soccer field, and beautiful weekends spent at Skipper’s house where just the two of them can live in their own happy world together.
The problem is, they can’t let anyone know about their secret burgeoning relationship. As far as Richie and Skipper know, they’re the only gay men on the team. Also, Richie’s family is a lot like in the fairy tale Cinderella, except his father is still alive and doesn’t give two shakes about Richie except for what he can do for his dad and family, the family business is a junkyard (literally), and his two step brothers are vicious and brutal to Richie. Oh! There’s also the fact that they are all quite homophobic.
But, here’s the thing about secrets, sometimes people catch on and figure out what you’re hiding. What happens when the people closest to Richie and Skipper find out? How will the team handle having two gay players on the roster? Worst of all, how will Richie’s family react?
One of the most memorable scenes from the book, for me, was when Skipper came down with the flu. The longing and need in Skipper to have Richie there beside him, and the fierce protectiveness Richie displays when he gets to Skipper’s house is beautiful.
I also really liked many of the side characters, including Skipper’s coworker, one of the (hysterical) executives at Skipper’s work, and some of the soccer team members. Amy Lane did a wonderful job creating a complex world, beautiful love story, and adding in many dashes of humor to enhance the story immensely. Another spectacular book, Amy!!
Then, there’s Nick J. Russo who brought this book to life like no one else could have. If you are a fan of gay romance audiobooks, then chances are you have run across one narrated by the highly talented Nick J. Russo. If you haven’t as of yet, please do so as soon as you can! I recommend that since you’re reading this review, you get Winter Ball and see for yourself how wonderful it is.