I imagine that everyone who reads this site has a hockey crush, or two… or many. Odds are most of us won’t get to act on those crushes. The great thing about books though is you can read about hockey players’ exploits on the ice, off the ice, finding love and hooking up.
Craig and Doug had the idea to review gay-themed books that feature hockey players, after seeing one mentioned on Backhand Shelf. I was game to take on the reviewer role. Summer is a great time to take on this new aspect to PuckBuddys. With hockey in the off-season why not get a different look at some players.
So what’s going to make a good book for me? Plot rules all. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in the book—the setting, the characters, the sex… it just doesn’t matter if the plot’s not compelling. Ideally there’s also some hockey played. Don’t just tell me he’s a hockey player; show me what he’s like on the ice!
We’re kicking off this series with the first two books of the Blue Line Hockey series: Offside Pass and Between the Pipes by Stephani Hecht. These are great books to start with because you get three hockey players, brothers no less, at the center of these stories… and two of them are gay.
Offside Pass (eXtasy Books, 90 pages) opens with the introduction of twin brothers Devon and Chad along with their younger brother Trey. The brothers are just arriving at their new hockey home with the minor league Battle Creek Hawks, a team that hasn’t won a game in three years. This is the last stop for them after being thrown out of the NHL and several other teams for their raucous behavior.
These brothers come with a lot of baggage. Their father drove them all, including their oldest brother, to be pro players. When Brock’s knee blew out just before he went NHL, it was up to the remaining three to fulfill their father’s dreams. It all fell apart when Trey was outed by a spiteful ex and Devon jumped in and outed himself to deflect the media attention. While all this went down in the sports world, the homefront exploded it ways they can never reveal.
In Battle Creek the brothers know they need to make it here or they will be done. It’s not easy though. They’ve got firey tempers. They’ve got each other’s backs, which means when there is a fight all three are likely to pile in. They also go after each other. But they are great players too. Devon is a power forward. Chad’s a strong enforcer. Trey is a laser focused goalie.
Journalist Saul Davis see the trio as his ticket to make a name for himself. He senses there’s more of a story than has ever been told about the brothers. It won’t be easy for him though; the brothers don’t like the press. To make it worse, Saul finds himself attracted to Devon… and after their first encounter outside the locker room, Devon is attracted to Saul too.
Hecht builds a great story in Offside Pass, with its foundation in family and the lengths that family will go to protect each other. Devon, Chad and Trey have been through a lot, but at the end they are very close. It’s fun to watch these three go through their various states of loving and hating each other. Conversely, it’s difficult hearing about what went down when the family meltdown occurred.
The back and forth between Devon and Saul is fun, and steamy, to read. Devon absolutely doesn’t want to fall in with a reporter, yet at every turn with Saul he finds himself falling more for him. Meanwhile, Saul knows he wants the hockey player, but he’s torn between getting the story and getting the man. The sexual chemistry and tension between these two is palpable from their first encounter and it only grows from there.
It’s a slow burn too as Devon works to keep the family secret a secret while also wanting Saul so bad. It makes for some super hot, super tense reading as Saul and Devon go through their paces before they finally end up in bed to relive all their pent up feelings. In the bedroom these two drip sweat and passion. It was tremendously hot.
I enjoyed the different plots in play here, especially since the book covers a couple of my favorite topics: hockey and journalism. There were good hockey scenes as the brothers proved their worth to the Hawks too. Saul’s attempts to uncover the story were also solid. Hecht blended everything together great.
I liked the book so well I picked up Between the Pipes (eXtasy Books, 116 pages) so I could continue the Canton Brothers story. Offside Pass was mostly Devon’s story. As you might guess from the title of the book, this one focuses on goalie Trey.
Trey is the youngster of the group and lives solely to play hockey and get laid. There was a hint of that in Offside Pass, but in the early pages of this book Trey tells the story of his attempt to make a sex tape with one of his hookups.
Trey finally grows up over the course of this story. First he’s asked to help out his friend’s nephew, Andy, who is one of Trey’s biggest fans and wants to be a goalie himself. Trey reluctantly agrees to help Andy, which in turn gets him several other young students.
Trey soon finds an upside to coaching Andy, meeting his uncle Wade who personifies everything Trey has ever wanted in a man. One small problem—Wade is a cop. As you might imagine, if the brothers have issues with reporters digging around in their past, a cop would even be more off limits.
Even before the first meeting, Wade was already a fan of Trey but once he met the goalie he had an immediate attraction. Getting to know Trey though was more difficult than Saul had with Devon.
Trey never thought he’d find anyone who loved him for him. His father had taken the news of him being gay very hard and he took it out on Trey at every opportunity. Trey is a master at deflection, never taking a compliment well and certainly not believing that anyone could want to be with him for more than sex.
Wade’s police officer scenes guide him well in his interactions with Trey. While the two do have some mind-bending sex after their first night out, Wade is determined to take it slow so from there so Trey can see that he is more than a random hookup. Wade doesn’t have an easy job though since Devon is determined that, despite his success with Saul, that they do not need a cop in the family.
Unfortunately, Trey’s past comes back to haunt him too as older brother Brock comes to town. Since his NHL career failed, Brock’s been an addict mostly living off handouts from his brothers, particularly Trey. Brock reminds Trey of his father and he takes to heart every harsh word Brock can dole out.
Happily Wade holds his ground and peruses Trey, showing the goalie how a real relationship works and not letting Trey’s past get in the way.
Hecht does a wonderful job of maturing Trey over the course of the story. Between the good things in his life—the coaching and his budding relationship with Wade—and Brock coming to town to cause havoc, Trey goes through a lot and his evolution from tormented child to confident adult is deftly written and a delight to read.
They other bit that’s an extremely good read is the bedroom time in this book. That first hookup between Wade and Trey is sizzling hot, but the final one in the book is more about Trey and Wade making love and it is sizzling in a more passionate way.
I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in the Blue Line Hockey series, as well as sampling other gay hockey fiction. If you have a title I should read, please leave it in the comments!