Release Day Review ~ Coach's Challenge (A Scoring Chances Novel) by Avon Gale
Title: Coach's Challenge
Series: Scoring Chances: Book Five
Author: Avon Gale
Release Date: June 26, 2017
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 that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’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, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not 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.
*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
Coach's Challenge is the fifth book in Avon Gale's Scoring Chances series. This book could be read on its own even though it does kind of continue a storyline from the previous book. There are also brief interactions with characters from book 3 and 4 in this series. Personally, I recommend every book in this series, so why not just start at the beginning!
After the controversy of the previous season and the firing of their coach, the Ravens are starting over. They have a new GM, new head coach and have added a new player. Head Coach Troy had a history with the previous head coach who had blackmailed him when they were players on the same team. He gave up a coaching job in the NFL to coach the Ravens and hopes he can help the Ravens get back to playing hockey without all the drama. Which is why he's unhappy that the GM brought in Shane on their team. Shane is in his last year and is known for his aggression on ice, not something the Ravens need.
Shane is just looking to finish his career on his terms, set his own narrative instead of the one that's followed him throughout his career. Shane plans to ride out his year on the team and not get involved. Except he can't ignore what's going on around him. The Ravens are just a bunch of hockey players, not a team and Shane works with the Team Captain to come up with ways to get the guys to leave the old mindset behind and to come together as a group.
Shane and Troy butt heads and have an antagonistic working relationship but neither can deny the attraction to each other. And though they originally plan for a one-time hookup, they can't deny their attraction and need for the other. I found their interactions with each other to be both funny and a little annoying! Honestly, even when working together they sniped at each other. As with all the books in the story, hockey is a big focus but I think the author does a great job of making it so even readers uninterested in hockey can easily read this story. If you haven't read this series because of the sports' element, please don't let that stop you.
There's a point in the story where someone tries to use Troy and Shane's relationship to get what he wants. I was worried that this would be the typical breakup that happens in stories and then make the characters work through to find their HEA. Thank you to the author for not doing that!! This situation that happens was used to strengthen the relationship and bring Troy and Shane together more. This book was another great addition to the series and I really hope Xavier's story is next! He deserves some happiness in his life.
Rating: 5 stars!