Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Role Model by Rachel Reid

For Troy, being in a public relationship with Harris will mean facing off with his fears, once and for all.

The highly anticipated fifth novel in Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series sees a grumpy professional hockey player meet his match in an out-and-proud social media manager…

The hits just keep coming for Troy Barrett. Traded to the worst team in the league would be bad enough, but coming on the heels of a messy breakup and a recent scandal… Troy just wants to play hockey and be left alone. He doesn’t want to be in the news anymore, and he definitely doesn’t want to “work on his online presence” with the team’s peppy social media manager.

Harris Drover can tell standoffish Troy isn’t happy about the trade—anyone could tell, frankly, as he doesn’t exactly hide it well—but Harris doesn’t give up on people easily. Even when he’s developing a crush he’s sure is one-sided. And when he sees Troy’s smile finally crack through his grumpy exterior, well… That’s a man Harris couldn’t turn his back on if he wanted to.

Suddenly, Troy’s move to the new team feels like an opportunity—for Troy to embrace his true self, and for both men to surrender to their growing attraction. But indulging in each other behind closed doors is one thing, and for Troy, being in a public relationship with Harris will mean facing off with his fears, once and for all.

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.
For book four, Common Goal, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


Role Model by Rachel Reid

Book 5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)
Carina Press (HQN)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Don't make the same mistake as I did by starting the novel at bedtime, expecting to read a few chapters before sleep. I read from start to finish, all through the night, not falling asleep until well past four am. Learn from my mistake, start early. Ha!

Role Model is the fifth installment in the Game Changers series. While it can easily be read as a standalone with little to no confusion, Troy was introduced in other installments. The emotional payoff would be greater if the novels were read in series order. Start with Game Changer.

Returning readers are no doubt asking themselves whether or not past narrators made an appearance on the pages. Most, if not all, I believe, made a cameo on the pages, their connection to one another made known, while others were mentioned heavily.

Now... to answer the most important question you all wished to know. What about Ilya? Does he make a cameo?

Ilya is a major focal point in the story, acting as a mentor of sorts, seeing something in Troy that resonates with him. Heavily present on the pages, acting as comedic relief, Ilya and the team pup were some of the cutest, most heartwarming scenes, scene-stealers of the best kind.

Back to our main characters. Our heroes. Troy and Harrison.

Troy was portrayed as a mega asshole in past installments, which he did as a defense mechanism, finding the person closest to his father's personality and befriending him as a shield against his true nature. With the flip of a coin, Troy's life is upended. Not only does he get caught on camera calling out his BFF for sexual assault, his closeted secret actor boyfriend dumps him at the same time. Not only does he get dumped, the boyfriend of two years is suddenly out and engaged, which meant he was being cheated on that whole time.

Bumped down to a losing team in the league as punishment for speaking the truth, Troy is surrounded by past rivals, nursing a broken heart and unable to tell a soul, while dealing with the repercussions of speaking his mind. The entire league and its fans, everyone has an opinion on Troy, thinking him a traitor for betraying his friend and teammates because he believed numerous women's accounts of sexual assault and had to audacity to admit it publicly.

Troy, Asshole to Hero. Fans and league, his father too, they all loved him as the asshole, but he's never felt more lonely as the accidental hero. It's no wonder Troy is so reserved, his guard completely up, thinking his new team wouldn't want anything to do with him.

Harrison is the team's social media guru. Extroverted, bubbly, and super friendly, it's impossible for even the most prickly member of the team to not be entertained by Harrison, especially when he brings a puppy to work. An entire team of rough and tumble hockey players melt for Harrison, behaving and treating him with respect as soon as he appears.

Plagued with a congenital defect, Harrison has a good heart, seeing the best in everyone, which is exactly the succor Troy needed to heal. Slightly slow-burn, a friendship is built over one-sided conversations and coffee, Troy making the first step by bringing the coffee, and Harrison being patient and coaxing Troy to open up and reveal the sweet guy beneath.

Warm and fuzzy, super sweet, undeniably realistic, Troy and Harrison were perfect for one another. Their banter, added with the reinforcement of Ilya, made for an entertaining read. Quick wit, humorous teasing, Harrison coaxes Troy until he's a pup eating out of his hand.

Oddball that I am, I adored the fact that their team sucked. Loss after loss. So used to the main characters being super awesome on the best team, it was a refreshing change of pace, as was the teammates being good dudes instead of rampaging assholes. Troy, Ilya, and the others, their team progresses as the story does, the bond improving both their lives and the team itself.

I am anticipating the next and the next in the series. Upon completion, the only thing I could think is how I'd love to do a series reread, get another hit of the feel-good vibe the entire series yanks from me.

Definitely recommend to MM Romance fans, particularly those who love the sports genres. Game Changers tops my favorite series list in the hockey subgenre.

I love that each book in this series feels fresh and original. In this fifth book, Troy is an unlikely hero. For most of his all-star career, Troy was as successful as he was toxic. When a scandal takes away his success, it isn’t easy for him to make a fresh start.

If Troy is difficult to like at the start of this book, Harris is impossible not to love. Out and proud – and as positive as Troy is miserable, Harris is determined to help Troy fix his tarnished public image. I love Harris, but I was surprised to find myself falling even harder for Troy in this story. The wonderful slow burn sexual tension between these two is fabulous.

I love that the author tackles some of the darker aspects of toxic masculinity in this book. I’ve not read a #metoo story from the point of view of a complicit man before and I’m surprised how well this works. Somehow, Harris and the actual hockey parts of the book prevent the story from ever becoming too earnest or too dark. This might be the best book in the series so far.

This is the fifth book in the series. I would recommend that you read them in order, but each book deals with another romance, so it is possible to start here and go back!

I read a lot of sports romance and feel that the genre has really moved on from the first to be out, to now looking at the truth for each person and how they deal with how they choose to be. Sadly in Troy's case, he has been conditioned by his horrible, homophobic father, and made friends with a guy who sexually assaulted women. When he calls Dallas Kent out on his behaviour, it is he who is traded to Ottawa, and told to be quiet. Having finally taken a stand on something, and still been the bad guy, Troy is really sad, confused, and determined to keep his head down and his face like ice.

Such a great start to what we have to know will involve him thawing, but we have to be patient – it is a really moving and engaging journey, made all the more exciting by the wonderful Harris.

There are so many great things about this romance, some which made me laugh, some gasp, and some worry. But faith in Rachel Reid meant that I was keen to follow how the complications of their lives would play out. We can rely on Ilya and Wyatt to help, along with Scott and others, to give Troy the self-belief that he does deserve better, and even accept that Harris may be a bright light in his life.

Sexy, swoony, sporty, and satisfying – another great read!

On first meeting Troy, I wasn’t sure I was going to like him. He has been traded to a new team after calling out his best friend and teammate for raping women (something that didn’t go down well). And while that is a good thing, Troy has spent a lot of his career behaving badly, being a bully, and acting like a homophobe. He is, of course, firmly in the closet, so you can see why I was hesitant. It didn’t take long at all for me to change my feelings about Troy. And I think my feelings changed because Troy is remorseful and wants to be better and do better. His struggles to do better and with his sexuality really tugged at my heart strings and had me desperate to see him find happiness.

Enter Harris, the team's out and proud social media manager. He is full of life and is a social butterfly. He makes the effort to engage Troy and slowly they develop a friendship. I loved Harris. He has a good soul and just what Troy needs, even if Troy doesn’t think he deserves someone as good as Harris. But for me, this story is all about Troy, changing his life, fitting in at his new team, and ultimately deciding if he will come out.

Role Model was a more emotional story than I was perhaps expecting. I felt a good deal of Troy’s sadness and loneliness at the beginning, but the story is also romantic, a bit sexy with some good fun. The only thing I would have liked was to see a little more of Troy getting to know more of his teammates. But I loved reading Role Model. It is another great addition to this series

M/M ice hockey romance is one of my most favorite romance tropes and for me, Role Model is a great story in a great series. If you haven’t read any of the Game Changers series, I’d highly recommend each and every story in the series.



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



Carina Press.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Role Model (Game Changers #5) by Rachel Reid to read and review.

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