Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Heated Rivalry
Author: Rachel Reid
Series: Game Changers #2
Heroes: Shane Hollander/Ilya Rozanov
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 310 Pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.
Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.
Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.
As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…
Review: First things first. This can totally be read on its own, as I didn’t read the previous book, and I never felt like I missed anything. There are probably some aspects of this story that will put off some of the more sensitive readers, but it pushed all the right buttons for me. It is the story of two professional hockey players who hook up in their rookie year and knowing there isn’t any chance of any kind of normal relationship, (a) because they are rising stars in the NHL; (b) they are media-created hated rivals; and (c) because they play for teams in totally different cities, decide to make the most of it and continue hooking up when their teams play each other.
These guys are opposite in many ways, yet perfect for each other in others. Shane is the shining star and team captain whom everyone loves. Ilya is the bruiser and team captain everyone loves to hate. They both play different roles on their teams, and with similar stats, have had their careers compared and them pitted against each other from the get go. Such is totally not the case off the ice, however. They sort of joke about not actually liking each other, except for the amazingly hot sex, but it doesn’t take long for feelings to become more serious. Unfortunately, their life/career situations have not changed, and indeed, they are in the spotlight more and more. They continue on with things for years, but it never gets boring or feels drug out.
I absolutely loved these guys! I loved sweet Shane and the sexy Russian, loved their banter, their dirty talk, how you could always tell how they felt about each other, but didn’t need them explaining it over and over (something that happens frequently in stories these days), and I was not ready to let them go at the end. I love reading a story about guys who seemingly have no chance of every being together, trying to figure out how it will ever be possible, then seeing them make it happen in the end. They gave me a total book hangover, and that, to me, is what I look for in a book.
If it bothers you to know the characters are having other relationships (with men or women), even if it is off page, and even if the main characters are not in a committed relationship at the time, then you might want to skip this one. These guys were hooking up for over 7 years. It would have been completely unbelievable had it not played out the way it did. This story felt real, it’s relationship felt real, the challenges they faced felt real, so if you are looking for a story like that with a fabulous ending, I highly recommend you give these guys a shot.
Overall Impression: It was amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*