Book Reviews

Tough Guy (Game Changers 3) by Rachel Reid at Carina Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Athletes/Coaches / Romance
Reviewed by Barb Manning on 18-September-2020

Book Blurb

They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.


Book Review

Rachel Reid creates memorable characters and there’s no exception in this story. Ryan and Fabian are unlikely to be forgotten quickly, in the same way that Ilya and Shane (‘Heated Rivalry’) will forever hold a piece of my heart.

 

Picture Ryan: huge, six foot seven, pure muscle, a ginger (yes!) who bears an amazing resemblance to comic character Archie, but carries a mean look and uses his fists in his role as his hockey team’s enforcer. Inside, he’s a sweet man who doesn’t really like his job, hates to fight, wants to skate to win games not rough up opponents, and who suffers from panic disorder—a panic that can strike at any time, not only when he has to fly to an away game. In fact, he left his last team due to a panic attack that ultimately resulted in him being traded to the Toronto Guardians. 

 

Picture Fabian: five foot seven, slender, creative, artistic, a musician, wears makeup, is a fabulous dresser who sometimes wears lace undies (yes!), and who hates hockey players. His father and mother are hockey fanatics who took in student players who attended a special camp each year, and they discounted Fabian for his lack of interest in the sport and his focus on music. Needless to say, gangly, awkward teen Fabian feared homophobic jocks and hated hosting them—all except for one guy named Ryan, whom he had a crush on that was never revealed.

 

Fast forward and a chance encounter with a huge ginger in his department at SuperSaver brings it all back. Ryan Price is up close and personal again, and Fabian is so speechless he fails to act. This sets the stage for a long, sweet, slow-burn story of love and change and growth in both the characters and their relationship. The author takes them through the early stages of reuniting in friendship, stumbling into sex, and finally realizing just how deeply they care for each other.

 

I loved the characters—their flaws, their foibles, their fun together. I was saddened through the tough times, broken-hearted over Ryan’s insecurities, anxiety, and frustration with his career, and I rejoiced with Fabian as his musical career took off and he came into the spotlight he’d been working years to reach. The two together fit like puzzle pieces long abandoned and now brought together to form their perfect whole. I simply loved this story and I highly recommend it to all lovers of hockey and MM romance. And one more word: get the entire series. This set of stories is outstanding.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and audio
Length Novel, 262 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-January-2020
Price $4.99 ebook, $18.37 audiobook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Tough-Guy-Game-Changers-Book-ebook/dp/B07WDLS4PJ