Series: Stick Side #2
Author: Amy Aislin
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Length: 280 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Six years ago, an ultimatum forced Dan Greyson to make a choice that cost him everything he loved most. One of those things? His boyfriend, hockey player Ashton Yager. Now that they’ve crossed paths again, Dan isn’t about to let the opportunity slip away. Ash’s reappearance in his life is just the catalyst Dan needs to escape the rut he’s fallen into…and win back Ash’s trust and love.
Ashton Yager, once burned and now a little bit shy, didn’t mean to publicly come out as bisexual. But now that he has, he’s got to deal with the consequences, including the fact that it might’ve cost him his NHL contract. With his job on the line, he needs to keep his head down, work hard, and play the best hockey of his life. Rekindling things with Dan? That’s not exactly keeping a low profile. It’s also never going to happen, not after Dan walked away once without an explanation.
When a hurricane forces Ash to seek shelter out-of-state, he and Dan find themselves in the same B&B, where old feelings resurface. But with everything Ash has on the line, does he dare play with fire again?
Dan was ready to give up the life his mother had trapped him in and walk away with Ash. Then his mother struck and struck hard at the one thing that Dan loved—his brother Mitch. With the threat of retribution hanging over his head, Dan turned his back on Ash and his brother only to realize that his mother never intended on keeping her side of the bargain. Now, reconciled with Mitch, Dan sees Ash after six long years and wants nothing more than to explain why he left Ash at the airport after promising him they would run away together. But Ash isn’t ready—not to listen and maybe not even to forgive. The problem is that Dan’s brother is the boyfriend of Ash’s best friend and teammate. That means that running into Dan is unavoidable and the feelings Ash once had for Dan are rearing their head once more. Can Ash give Dan a second chance?
Amy Aislin has released a second novel in her Stick Side series entitled The Nature of the Game. Using alternating points of view and flashbacks we learn the history of how Dan and Ash met, fell in love and ultimately went their separate ways. The flashback chapters which are interspersed evenly throughout the story are well done and rather than jarring they tie in seamlessly with the present day. I really liked seeing the full back story on how these two men met and got to the place they were currently in at present day.
I loved Dan—yes, he was perhaps naïve about his mother and her empty promises but one cannot fault him for trying to save his brother. Even he recognizes after the fact, years later, that he should have spoken out but how often are we in a dire situation and unable to see the forest for the trees? It was entirely plausible that he walked away from the guy he loved in order to save the brother he loved. I did feel that Ash took too long avoiding letting Dan explain exactly what caused him to leave so abruptly years before and yet as the story went on I felt that too made sense as Ash was not really ready to fully forgive Dan and hearing an excuse he could not refute would force him to do just that. Still the author made the chemistry between these two men ramp up every time they saw one another and by juxtaposing that with showing how their previous relationship developed years before in the flashback chapters you really got exactly why they were still so hot for one another.
The Nature of the Game was a really good second chance novel with flawed and conflicted characters that felt so very real. With everything going on in Ash’s life, Dan was just one more thing that tugged at his core. The fact that Dan was being as honest as possible despite the fact that it could all blow up in his face and he could lose Ash yet again made the story that much more intense. If you love a good sports trope that takes two broken hearts and puts them on a path to their happy ever after than pick up Amy Aislin’s latest—it’s a great read!
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