Reviewed by Susan65
Authors: RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
Series: Owatanna U Hockey #2
Heroes: Scott & Hayne
Genre: MM Contemporary YA
Length: 152 Words
Publisher: Love Lane Books Limited
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: What happens when you try to fix the past and end up threatening your future?
Scott is struggling. Grieving the loss of his brother, carrying the weight of his father’s expectations, and getting his ass kicked in the rink, he’s in a downward spiral. He needs a solution and fast, but when his steroid use is exposed, he’s close to losing his place at Owatonna and more importantly, on the Eagles Hockey team. Thrown out of his house, with nowhere to go and no future in sight, he only has one choice; agree to mandatory counseling, random drug tests, and get his act together. Only then will he have a chance at normal. Meeting Hayne, a senior connected to the world through his art, is a shock to the system. Moving in with him is his only option, but falling for the shy artist leaves Scott in an impossible situation, and one he can’t escape.
Hayne has always been that quiet, creative kid who sat in the back of class drawing instead of listening to the teacher. A talented artist, the shy and sensitive young man is struggling with the loss of his childhood friend. Seeing his sadness reflected in his usually colorful paintings, he decides to attend grief counseling and meets Scott, a lost soul in desperate need of light and color in his life. Taking in a homeless hockey player certainly was never part of his carefully orchestrated ten-year plan. But now that Scott is in his life, he’s discovering the joy of this man’s loving smile and tender touch is one of the most beautiful palettes on earth.
I knew from the previous book, Ryker, that Scott’s story was going to be a much more difficult and emotional one. Scott is wracked with guilt and grief over the death of his beloved older brother. These emotions are compounded by the way his father piles on the intense negativity and unrealistic expectations in his hockey playing. Scott is an amazing player, but his father puts the entire burden of the team’s success squarely and solely on his son’s shoulders. It was no wonder he turned to substance abuse to try and keep up. His mother, though physically present, was really not. Scott, though having a great group of friends, was really alone and that broke me.
Hayne is a very reclusive artist who literally has no one in his corner. He is small, shy, quiet and bullied by his roommates. The roommates who share his house. Compounding the difficulties of that life, he is also struggling with grief over the loss of his best friend. This grief is how Scott and Hayne meet. Two hearts who are shattered, but find solace with another who understands their pain. They were meant for one another.
One of the most important aspects of this romance, to me, is that Scott never denied his sexuality with Hayne, he never intimidated him with his jock status, and he protected him from others who did. No matter the minutiae of their budding-turned-everlasting relationship, those qualities redeemed any substance abuse or past wrongs Scott may have committed. Knowing that his friends and teammates had his back, although it took Scott forever to let them show it, was also a huge highlight for me.
This is a story of grief, acceptance, taking chances, and forgiveness. The forgiveness comes in the form of Scott’s family, who I never expected to have any redeeming chances, but it ended on a positive note. As a reader, I may not have forgiven the parental units, but Scott and Hayne needed them so I understood and accepted the outcome. If you like hockey, the Harrisburg Railers series, and a bit of angst, then you will love this book. I would just recommend you read that series first and not skip over any of them.
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for a fair and honest review.*