Picks & Pucks
Title : Picks & Pucks
Author : Teegan Loy
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 254 pages (e-book)
Published : April 21 , 2014
Rating : ★★★★
Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.
Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.
If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.
This is the second book I’ve read and enjoyed by this author. I, of course, had to read it the minute I see hockey mentioned in the blurb. Unlike a lot of romance books, this one did have quite a bit of hockey being played. Lots of ice time because the MC, Justin, is a once hockey player turned professional ice skater returning to his home town with some issues to work through. I cringe to say demons because that word was use so frequently in this book. We are talking triple digits total and probably 25 times in the first chapter. Yes, it was distracting and too much IMO, but I suggest you push through that because I thought this was a pretty good book.
I had no idea where we were going when this book started. I expected something really horrific to have happened to Justin for him to be the angry bitter man he comes off as in the beginning. His mother died and it ripped his family apart leaving Justin on the outside alone. He returns to stay with his sister to escape his hectic life and spend his days training for his upcoming competitions. I didn’t really understand why it was so important for him to train at his father’s college or how that was any less stressful or distracting than what he had going on in California because it was never really explained but I just rolled with it. Seemed like there should have been some explanation given the extreme behavior of Justin to returning to his family under the circumstances.
When he shows up to his sister’s place he learns his secret ex lover, Danny, is staying at his sister’s, too. I thought this might be the love interest. In fact, despite his ex being a complete ass there was a very powerful moment between them that made me cry. Danny is a total overcompensating closet case prick, who does love Justin but won’t come out. Justin thinks he’s in love with Danny so their break up scene made me put my hand to my chest because it hurt. This scene gave me flashback to Jake and Adrien, because you can feel how much of himself Danny is crushing down to keep his secret and you can’t hate him for it like you want to. The author doesn’t let you. This line gutted me! I read it three times. “I love you.” He paused. “No matter where you are or who you are with, never forget that.” Then he leaves! 😥 It hurt!
Danny is the main reason for Justin’s issues with “hockey boys”. Then a new one transfers onto his dad’s team and into the bedroom Danny just abandoned. The new guy named CJ is totally likable and doesn’t fit into Justin’s stereotype of what a hockey player is. Justin has a very real hang up on hockey despite the fact he used to play. This was explained pretty well as the book goes along. Initially I was like WTF is Justin’s problem?!
CJ and Justin have chemistry. There’s that “is he gay” moment CJ clears up with a kiss one night. CJ has something serious he’s keeping secret from CJ about where he came from. Justin is getting over a break up and training hard. Neither think it’s an ideal time to start a relationship but that’s what CJ wants. Justin is in denial about his interest in CJ. They just kind of ignore the secrets between them and enjoy each other afraid to burst their little bubble with reality. This became frustrating because you knew it was going to explode at some point. AND it did.
I will say the sex scenes and chemistry were smoking hot in this book. I felt a strong connection between Justin and both the men he’s with in this book. I really should have disliked Danny’s character but I can’t deny there was something there. CJ is the real deal for Justin though. Pretty much everything he wants minus the secrets. CJ even follows and really enjoys figure skating.
The secondary characters in this book were really enjoyable. I didn’t have a moment of page time where I whined to myself about wanting the MCs to get back on page because the interactions between the other characters kept me thoroughly entertained.
So, to sum this up. The first chapter was a bit of a struggle for me. The demon thing entire book was annoying but the first chapter was a struggle. The next 2/3 of the book was really good. Then the ending was very angsty and dramatic with an HEA. I did really enjoy this book and I will be looking forward to this author’s other books.
Rated 4 stars by Whit