Recommended Read, Review

Review: Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid (2019)

Game Changers, Book #2

Heat Factor: Melting all the ice on all the rinks

Character Chemistry: The bad boy is soft for the good boy

Plot: They met when they were 17 and were attracted to each other immediately, but ever since they were recruited to the NHL, their rivalry and antipathy has been played up so much that they can never really fall in love

Overall: So. Good. Totally hit the spot

Sometimes I wonder how books that, once read, feel like they were a lot of sex and not a lot of emotional development, but while I was reading felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. This is one of those books. I am so wrecked and so happy about it. 

The setup works really, really well because Shane and Ilya meet when they’re 17 and are attracted to each other but Ilya is an emotionally reserved, cocky jerk, and Shane can’t believe he’s attracted to a man. They wind up in the same hotel during a hockey event when they’re 19, and that’s when the fooling around begins. As time goes on, they keep hooking up whenever they’re in the same city, but their relationship is extremely complicated. It takes Shane years to embrace 1. that he’s attracted to Ilya at all and 2. that his attraction is about more than just sex. Similarly, but from a completely different angle, Ilya is perfectly willing to be attracted to Shane, but extremely unwilling to allow his emotions to run any deeper than a really steamy rivalry. Even though they do. 

Shane, as the more outwardly romantic and sweet protagonist, seems like the one who would want a relationship first, but Reid does a really good job of indicating that Ilya wants more (though he hesitates to acknowledge it) than what Shane is willing to risk as time goes on. Ilya is the first one to invite Shane to spend the night and to instigate hanging out together, for example. And Ilya is really upset that Shane never invites him to Shane’s real bedroom. But Shane is the one who sees that Ilya is extremely emotionally isolated and reaches out to be there for Ilya when he’s dealing with his family in Russia. Even though it started out as naughty sex and outright rivalry, they’ve been together in secret for so much and for so long that they develop a really beautiful relationship.

Bottom line, the way these two catch feelings is just perfect. New favorite.

PS: I listened to this book three times in two weeks.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

Sports Romances

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