Friday, September 9, 2016

Empty Net by Avon Gale


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.

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Book 4
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Dreamspinner Press



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah☆☆☆☆☆
This is another brilliant addition to one of my favourite series. Isaac and Laurent are two more incredible characters and I loved their story. We know Isaac well from earlier books: the former rent boy has blue hair, distracting piercings, and a short temper. I was expecting his book, and his story is even better than I’d hope for. But Laurent was unexpected. The badly damaged pretty boy without any social skills is an unlikely but wonderful leading man.

Isaac’s bravery, his unapologetic confidence, and his sarcastic wit are a brilliant match for Laurent, a man who only knows how to keep people away, a man whose life has been soaked in fear. We saw glimpses of Laurent as a homophobic prick in earlier stories, but as we learn his story, it becomes easier to like, and ultimately fall in love with a character who is initially completely offensive.

There is less humour at the start of this story and some of the issues are even darker than those explored in earlier books. It takes time for Laurent to grow into the easy banter I expect and love in Avon Gale’s books. Supporting characters add some of the missing humour here. Isaac lives with Max and Mischa and I loved seeing them as an established couple still caring for Isaac. Isaac’s his best friends, Hux and Murph, add a sense of fun to the story and Laurent’s downstairs neighbour adds warmth and unexpected hilarity.

I enjoyed the drama of the game play we see later in the story as the Spitfires attempt the playoffs, but there is less hockey in this story than in some of the others and I missed it. Laurent and Isaac are both goalies, competing to be the team’s starting goalie and the competition between the two is brilliant.

This is a wonderful series. Fans will love this book, but new readers should start at the beginning with Breakaway or at very least read Powerplay before this one as it doesn’t quite work as a standalone.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆☆
This is the fourth book in the series, and although I haven't read them all, I think that it would be a good idea. That said it is an excellent story in its own right.

Isaac has a checkered past, but now that he is living with the two coaches, things are settling down and his hockey team buddies have his back. So the arrival of Laurent St. Savoy as his backup goalie is an unwelcome development. However, as things progress, Isaac starts to see some behaviours and evidence of abuse that he realises are not really in line with his view of the man. As everything unravels and we get to see the impact of such an awful upbringing on Saint (Laurent), opinions can only change. I loved how the pair moved forward together, and had such faith in each other. I thought that Liz was brought to life in an amazingly effective and positive way, and applaud the sentiment behind that.

I have put this on my reread pile (and would try and start from the beginning of the series) because I am sure that I missed some of the subtlety in my desire to see how things worked out. An amazing mix of serious, sexy, funny and sporty – very enjoyable read. Thank you Ms. Gale.



AVON GALE wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it—even if it was a bit weirder than the other hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after—though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. By day, Avon is a hair stylist who loves her job, her clients, and the opportunity to spend her time being creative and making people feel happy and look fabulous.

When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music, or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

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https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale to read and review.

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