Thursday, September 17, 2020

Common Goal by Rachel Reid

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it. Common Goal by Rachel Reid

New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Game Changers series!
For book one, Game Changer, click HERE.
For book two, Heated Rivalry, click HERE.
For book three, Tough Guy, click HERE.



Common Goal by Rachel Reid

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press – Harlequin




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4.5 stars

I love Rachel Reid’s hockey romances and I really love a friends-with-benefits storyline. This book offers both – and I fell hard for both Eric and Kyle.

At the end of his NHL career, Eric has been in the background of this series for a while. I love the contrast between his reputation on the ice and his vulnerability off the ice. The uncertainty he faces on the verge of retirement feels real and very raw. The age gap works between him and the younger Kyle because in many ways, Kyle has so much more life experience. The two men balance each other and they take care of each other.

This is a high heat read – with a little bit of kink. For a hockey romance, there’s not a whole lot of bling or flash – though Eric’s house is pure property porn – and the connection between Kyle and Eric builds quietly. Rachel Reid writes great romance and this one gave me all the good feels.

Common Goal is the fourth installment in the Game Changers series. While it could most definitely be read as a standalone with little to no confusion, there are cameos and continuing interactions with past narrators, as well as the introduction to the two narrators in this novel during past installments. I don't believe there would be more of an emotional impact in reading the series versus this as a standalone when it comes to this couple in question.

Hockey. Bisexual. Age-gap. Slight BDSM bedroom sports.

Goalie Eric is newly divorced. Lonely, despite the camaraderie of an entire team having his back, because as the goalie he sets himself apart, but mostly because he's one of the oldest members of the team, one who doesn't drink and is a vegetarian, along with one who doesn't have a string of flings to add to the locker room banter. Mostly, it's Eric himself who creates this divide, failing to see how badly his teammates want to interact with him.

We previously met Kyle, the friend and bartender coworker who has an unrequited crush on Kip. He's still nursing a broken heart because Kip is madly in love with Scott, while trying to ignore his feeling in favor of a close platonic relationship.

On the relationship front, both Eric and Kyle have hang-ups on what the other represents. Kyle is into older men but has been burnt badly because of it, while Eric thinks himself an octogenarian and Kyle a child.

Age was the focus, but this portion was a major con for me, aside from the teammates’ jokes that had me busting a gut. Eric is stuck on his age, which became annoying for this 42 year-old to read, how I am ancient and decrepit and should just crawl into a grave and wait for the Grim Reaper to claim me.

All said in jest on my part, but it did get annoying coming from Eric's nonstop inner monologue about his ancientness. I understood it from a professional athlete standpoint, and the jokes made at his expense were really funny, as well as simply said because they were actually calling Eric out, not because they felt he was old. I understand this was a hang-up for Eric, but it was like beating a dead horse then dragging it through hundreds of pages. A handful of times, we'd get the picture. After that, it just became overkill and slightly insulting to anyone older than 40 reading the novel, borrowing some of Eric's self-loathing over his age.

The team camaraderie was most excellent, especially how Eric's teammates tried so hard to include him in everything. I experienced a ton of feels during those moments. The warm and fuzzy and the humorous, especially from Ilya. The fact that after all this time, I immediately read Ilya with an accent added to the humorous bent. Ilya, now he's a fan favorite, every cameo turning into a scene-stealer.

The intellectual and art outside interests connected Eric and Kyle, bridging the gap in their ages until it wasn't a big deal for this reader, as well as when they were in each other's orbit. I understood why Kyle was seen younger than he was. Almost 26, the fact that he was still in college made him appear more 17-21 than half a decade older. Then there was Eric, who behaved and hated himself as if he were on death's door, when he was still in his prime. These issues made the age-gap wider than it truly was.

The romance was overshadowed by the angst dealing with the age-gap, especially since it was obvious how Kyle emotionally distanced himself from Eric the entire time due to his past trauma with an older man. This took the warmness out of the romance, detaching their connection for the sake of angst, removing the feels for me.

Bi-discovery, that was insanely hot and silly and awkward and endearing. Kyle acted older in this regard, while Eric was sexually stunted after twenty years of marriage to a woman he wasn't feeling a spark toward. Thankfully, the ex wasn't shown as a villain or in a bad light. But it was most definitely authentically and realistically written.

I will say, it was a struggle for me, because the role reversal was at odds with their personalities. I am a sucker for power-exchange, and I understand all the facets of it, but there were a few personality traits missing from their everyday lives to extend into the bedroom for the believably factor. This isn't in regards to Eric.

Kyle acted mature only in the bedroom or during art discussions with Eric, yet silly and childish for large portions of the novel, where Kyle and Kip took on distinctly teenager-ish, effeminate personalities, yet acted like grown men at other times. The flip-flop of personalities traits was a struggle for me, a struggle to grasp who these men truly were and what was an act. I understand that they are young, but it came across as more high school than college graduates on the cusp of the paths they'd take for the rest of their lives.

All in all, the series as a whole has been beyond entertaining, the gamut of emotions. I most certainly recommend
Common Goal, the Game Changers series, and Rachel Reid to fans of the MM romance genre, particularly the sports subgenre.

This is the fourth book in the series – it also ties in with book one, where Kyle worked with Kip in the bar, and Eric was a friend and teammate of Scott. That said, you could read it as a standalone and still enjoy it for sure.

Eric is nearing the end of his hockey career. He is thinking about the future and how his life will be. He loves art and has been collecting it and filling his large house with it for years. When he finds that Kyle also loves art, he has to accept that there is more to the 'young' man than he had given him credit. Whilst Eric is worrying about being too old and too new at realising his interest in Kyle, he really would like to examine his attraction and learn about how to pursue a man. Kyle is unexpectedly reluctant, as there is clearly a connection between them. We learn why eventually – these two guys really need to speak more and rely on their internal voice less!

I enjoyed catching up with other characters from previous books and chuckling at the fun they bring to this story. I found the pace and the relationship did work in the context of these two guys – and look forward to seeing them in future installments.

Eric is 41-years-old and playing what will be his last year of professional hockey. Recently divorced, he is a pretty reserved kind of a guy, he doesn’t drink, is into clean eating and taking care of his body, and he loves art. So his best mate steers him in the direction of 25-year-old Kyle, a bartender who is studying art history, thinking they could be friends.

Eric and Kyle are attracted to each other but in the beginning, different assumptions, including Kyle’s assumption that Eric is married and straight. When Eric confirms he is bisexual, Kyle offers to help Eric get out in the dating scene, but it is clear that the only person Eric is interested in is Kyle.

These two are off-the-charts hot in bed and Kyle takes the lead, broadening Eric’s horizons. Their age difference isn’t even a consideration when they are burning up the sheets. The problems arise when they leave the bedroom and their brains get in the way. The thing is, when they stop thinking so much out of the bedroom, they have a great time together. And I had a great time right along with them but I could understand, at least initially, Eric’s concerns.

I’m not a fan of romances with large age-gaps but I have to say, I was won over by this story. Their age-gap is a big deal for Eric and it stands in the way of him finding happiness with a guy that is clearly perfect for him. That is when I realised the age-gap just doesn’t matter, their happiness is more important.

I adored reading Common Goal and I feel like this story has opened me up to reading a whole new sub-genre of romance novels I would usually avoid. Just thinking about this story now is making me smile. Common Goal gets four happy stars from me.



Author Bio


Rachel Reid has always lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, and will likely continue to do so. She has two boring degrees and two interesting sons. She has been a hockey fan since childhood, but sadly never made it to the NHL herself. She enjoys books about hot men doing hot things, and cool ladies being awesome.

Connect with Rachel

Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Common Goal (Game Changers #4) by Rachel Reid to read and review.

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