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Common Goal (Game Changers, #4)TITLE: Common Goal by Rachel Reid
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Release Date: September 21st 2020 by Carina Press
Format: e-ARC (282 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, LGBT
Blurb: New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.
 
Heated Rivalry is one of my favorite books of all time. The author Rachel Reid set such a high standard when she introduced Ilya and Shane that I am afraid every couple in this series will be compared to them

In this installment of the Game Changer series, we are introduced to goalie Eric Bennett who is past his first year since his divorce. He shied away from hanging out with the hockey fellas but he decided to support his teammate Scott Hunter and his fiancee Kip Grady, by attend a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials. Shane and Kip were the heroes from book 1 and their decision to live their lives openly had a hugely positive effect in the hockey community.

At the party, Eric found himself drawn to his bartender, Kyle Swift who is a bartender but Eric hasn’t never been open about his attraction to men. In addition, Kyle was still nursing an attraction on his co-worker Kip Grady, who was off the market. Both men commiserated a bit before realizing that they could work off their loss with each other. The issues for Eric boiled down to one thing, he was 41 years old and Kyle was 25 years old. But they agreed to just be friends with benefits.
Of course these arrangements never last because feelings get involved.

I liked the story but I really enjoyed the evolution of the heroes. At first, Eric was like a piece of wood adrift in a lake. He was at the twilight of his hockey career, he was curious of the part of his sexuality that he had repressed for most of his life, and he just didn’t seem passionate about anything. Kyle felt more like a college kid. He spent so much time remunerating about his crush of Kip while trying to figure out what he wanted out of life. But the author did a great job developing them because both evolved into more confident and decisive men. The journey was one of self discovery and it was well paced. I just wanted more dynamic interactions and communication between Kyle and Eric but these two spent a lot of time in their own heads.

I liked them but the author really set my expectations high after Ilya and Shane’s book. My favorite scene in the book was Ilya being himself and calling out the “mess” that Eric was embroiled in. It was quintessential Ilya and that is why his commanding presence is so dominating in every scene he appears even more so than Shane the engaged hero from book 1.

This book was cool, it just didn’t bring the heat, witty banter and angst that I was hoping for but it was a good addition to the series.

*Special Thanks to Carina Press via Netgalley for the e-ARC given in exchange for an honest review

 

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