Title: Coach’s Challenge
Author: Avon Gale
Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Series: Scoring Chances #5
Heroes: Troy Callahan/Shane North
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 6 Hours, 50 Minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 26, 2016
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.
Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.
Review: I love this series and I believe it has a lot to do with the narrator, Scott R. Smith. He has this soothing and fun voice that makes me smile from the first word spoken until the end. In the beginning, he was always Lane to me, from the first book, but since then, he’s grown on me and I can easily distinguish the characters. Lane is still my favorite, followed closely by Misha, but regardless of the character being performed, the narrator has the tempo and style down pat. He is the voice of Scoring Chances.
In Coach’s Challenge, we get a player, Shane, who has a reputation as a thug on the ice, who went from the NHL to finishing out his last season at the ECHL, the lowest professional wrung in the hockey league. He isn’t too upset, it is what it is, and he also doesn’t see himself as a thug and was only doing what was expected of him. But, his new coach, Troy, has some preconceived notions about Shane and the two start off on the wrong foot, or wrong skate.
But, what isn’t surprising for the guys is that they are attracted to each other. Shane is known as the one to be aggressive on the ice, but it is Troy who is the real aggressor. At first is was a little much, but it doesn’t take long for me to warm up to Troy, and to the both of them as a couple, albeit a secretive one. In this case, Shane is still closeted, and Troy is his coach so they can’t be open anyway. But there is more to the story. We are dealing with repercussions from the Raven’s old coach who basically cowered his entire team, and Troy and Shane need to help force them out of the shell. In addition, someone is using their relationship status as blackmail material…and Troy has been down that road before. My biggest concern was that Troy would allow it to happen again, so imagine my surprise when instead he faced it head-on.
This is an amazing series, especially if you are a sports and hockey fan. I look forward to each audio, and I don’t even have to read the blurb to know that I will listen to it, especially if Scott R. Smith remains the narrator. Highly recommended.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*