Author: Elyse Springer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Length: 246 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.
When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.
Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained.
Alex Fanning has secrets—ones that he must keep quiet if he’s going to make it in the big leagues. When another goalie’s reckless behavior results in Alex being called up to the NHL he is both parts thrilled and terrified. After all being a paranormal, or a para as they are now called, in a league where a vote is about to take place banning his kind is not an ideal situation but being gay to boot spells out real disaster. Even though his best friend assures him the team Alex is assigned to is gay friendly he’s not taking any chances. So hiding in plain sight becomes an art form for the quiet man until he meets, or rather smells, someone who is about to make being a shadow difficult, to say the least.
Sasha is very unhappy about his friend Eddie getting caught a second time drunk driving—especially as it means another goalie is being taken on the team in order to fill the gap left by his buddy. It’s instant dislike for Sasha when he meets Alex. He knows deep in his heart he isn’t being fair to the new guy but Eddie and he go back a long way and even though Eddie’s behavior has been disturbing Sasha for a while he is still loyal to his friend. So Sasha ignores the new guy until the coach forces the two of them to make nice for the benefit of team unity and everything Sasha has been denying comes to the surface. Alex rings all his bells and when the guy thaws toward Sasha he really is quite nice. Now both men find themselves fighting off an attraction—one that may lead to secrets being spilled and possibly career ending exposure for one or both of them.
If you could see my hands you would note they are ready to make a grab for any sequels or future novels that author Elyse Springer will release in her new Hockey Gods & Monsters Series, especially since I absolutely loved this first one, Suckerpunch. Between the unique take on the life of paranormals in a bigoted society and their interesting lack of special powers in human form I was hooked from page one. The building of this special type of society juxtaposed against the professional sports world was really fascinating. I really enjoyed the fact that this wasn’t your average shifter story but rather one where the para was very normal—and lived as such.
This story was rich in details that leant background into a society that favored the pure and despised the affected. Alongside this story line was the romance building between Sasha and Alex which was a classic slow burn with pretty standard misconceptions that kept them apart but was still riveting to read. Who knew standard could be so entertaining? I loved these two and when they seemed to be coming together my heart rejoiced. But poor Sasha was so torn between what he should do to help Eddie and how to save the tenuous relationship that was growing between he and Alex.
Suckerpunch was an exciting read—one that moved swiftly, kept me fully invested and delivered a lovely HEA. I cannot wait to see what this author does in this new series and who the next novel may be about. I have my thoughts on that and hope I turn out to be right. Until then, I highly recommend Suckerpunch to you.
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