Review: Coach's Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

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 out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’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, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to 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.

Troy Callahan and Shane North get off on the wrong foot. They find each other infuriating. Yet in the midst of rehabilitating the Asheville Ravens, the two also find each other incredibly attractive.

They both know that a relationship between them, a coach and his hockey player, is a bad idea. But Shane and Troy find it impossible to keep their hands off each other.

This series has quickly become a favorite of mine. The characters are well-rounded, the romances are sweet, the sex is hot, and the hockey is entertaining.


‘Coach’s Challenge’ is no different. Though Troy at first comes off as a perpetually cranky, and Shane as a bit irresponsible, the two MCs are immediately likeable. There’s clearly more to them beneath the surface.

The setup of their relationship hooked me in from the start. Shane and Troy get on each other’s nerves, but neither is willing to admit defeat. Their banter and small spats were hilarious.

The UST was killer!

Once Troy and Shane finally crack and give in, the sex was hot, hot, hot. The two are as argumentative in bed as they are out of it, but that doesn’t stop them from going at it as often as they can, and in creative places.


Aside from the undeniable sexual chemistry, Shane and Troy also click emotionally. Both had been alone for a long time. Shane was still in the closet, while Troy didn’t think love was for him. But the two find in each other someone that just get the other.

This book isn’t particularly drama-filled. Troy and Shane’s relationship builds gradually, and the two don’t fight against what they clearly want - a future together. The romance is quite light-hearted, with emphasis on the good feels.

The storyline regarding the hockey team was entertaining. I liked finally seeing the Ravens in a good light!

A bit of drama comes at the end relating to the hockey team, but it’s solved pretty quickly. And by the end of it, Shane and Troy have a HEA perfect for them.

Overall, I really enjoyed the latest installment in the Scoring Chances series. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book without having read books 3 and 4, but they’re all great reads!

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