They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?
Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.
Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.
Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.
Tough Guy is a very different book from Heated Rivalry, which was one of my favorite books of 2019. It's a more... angsty story, a lot weightier, and though I enjoyed it, I didn't adore it like the second in the series.
I loved the fact that we get a confident, femme MC. I'm always into books with MCs who play with gender and blur the lines, and so Fabian was a real pleasure to read. I adored his confidence, and though he edged towards too judgmental and unsupportive of Ryan at times, he was a sweet character with an amazing group of friends. In fact, I think he had the best friend group I've read about in a long time.
Ryan really touched me. As an anxious person with a child who suffers from anxiety, I really related to him and his struggles. He is a gentle giant, even with his job as an enforcer. I loved that he was so very different from the typical male romance MC. He was so sweet and so earnest that my heart really went out to him. Also, his sexual difficulties aren't usually discussed in romance, which I found to be refreshing. Real relationships have challenges and aren't all sex, all the time (well, most of the time!).
While I found the pairing to be really lovely and with great chemistry, I found the plot to be slightly slow. I read the book quickly, but I didn't feel that urgency to finish that I do with a 5-star read.
If you want an opposites attract romance with some hockey angst to boot and MCs that you don't usually see in romance, this will be the story for you. I think Rachel Reid is on a great roll with this series.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!