Audiobook Review: Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1) by Avon Gale

Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He's put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.

Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Listening Length: 7 hrs 33 mins

Breakaway gave me so many things I love and wrapped them up in a delicious package. I’m a lifelong hockey FANatic but I generally steer clear of hockey romances as I turn into a picky pain in the ass and that’s honestly not fair to the stories. So, I typically keep my loves separate as there haven’t been too many times the streams crossed successfully for my aforementioned pain in the ass self.

Breakaway though, is a completely different story. There’s a good bit of hockey sport, rules and regs throughout and the author did a stellar job of being true to the sport while keeping it accessible to hockey and non-hockey folks alike. That’s not an easy feat as hockey fans have a tendency to be rabid and a little off when it comes to their love of the game, so I get why it doesn’t always work. This one works. The game itself, as well as the ins and outs of the league became an integral part to the story and the vehicle for the relationship between Lane and Jared.

Lane and Jared are at two very different points in their respective careers and I really enjoyed listening to Jared’s views as he made decisions for his future based on his achievements, his overall career and his relationship with Lane. Jared was such a strong character based on his history and maturity, I really liked him. I know Lane is so very popular with fans of this book, I mean, you can’t not be in love with the guy as you get to know him, but Jared’s strength is what did it for me.

It’s the differences between the two characters that gave them so much appeal though. So I can’t have my Jared without Lane and vice versa, which it completely fine by this reader. Lane was just on the border of being too much, but the author knew how to redeem him when he was being clueless and how to rein him in before he went too far. The narrator nailed the voices for these two perfectly. They were distinctive and he was able to capture the subtle nuances of their dialog well so I never got lost in conversations no matter who was speaking.

The playoffs became another character in Breakaway and it was a lot of fun to listen to. Listening to the guys with their game faces when they were on the ice and then how they came together after was perfectly hockey and made me respect them both even more.

I have to give a shout out to Lane’s mom too. She wasn’t portrayed well through the bulk of the story, not awful, but not what I wanted for Lane either. Then when she makes her appearance in the story I loved her. The two of them did some actual communicating and she’s basically a female version of Lane. It’s no wonder they were both kind of lost. Lane makes all kinds of sense after you meet his mom and she and Jared clicked in the best possible way for their future.

There’s setup for the next in the series and I’m pretty hooked on the audio versions as the narrator is a great fit for the characters and when I read the blurbs for the rest of the series, I hear his take on the characters I’ve already met and I want to hear more from them.

For more information on Scoring Chances, check it out on Goodreads and over at Dreamspinner Press.

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

See our eBook review here!

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