Saturday, October 3, 2020

ARC Review: Face Offs & Cheap Shots (CU Hockey #2) by Eden Finley & Saxon James

Face Offs & Cheap Shots (CU Hockey #2)



For the last three years, I’ve lived and breathed hockey with one goal: team captain. 

There’s only one thing standing in my way. TJ Beckett.
Beck is irresponsible and immature, and I’ve hated him since the moment we met freshman year.

Yet, the coaches see something in him I obviously can’t, and they refuse to choose between us. The captain spot is going to a team vote, and the team thinks that what we need are a bunch of challenges to prove our worth. Challenges that have nothing to do with hockey. Challenges that are throwing me and Beck together. 

And he’s still as infuriating as ever.


I have no idea why Christopher Jacobs hates me, and I can’t say I care. I like pushing his buttons, but the guy needs to loosen up. I’m going to win these stupid challenges easily and spend my senior year as hockey king on this campus. Tormenting Jacobs at the same time will just be a bonus.
Even if I’m getting confusing feelings toward him, I won’t let it hold me back.
When it comes to competing, I’m all in, and nothing will get between me and the W.

Todd's rating:


I really loved this collaborative enemies-to-lovers story in the CU Hockey universe, mostly because it was full of snark and banter.

After winning the Frozen Four last year, serious and hard-working Jacobs was on track to become new team captain, but was furious to discover that TJ Beck, the squad's resident joker, was also in the running for the coveted captain's jersey.

Jacobs had busted his ass for three years to keep his grades up to keep his scholarship, while uber-wealthy Beck did the bare minimum, knowing that his money could buy his way out of whatever hot water he might have skated his way into. And that pissed Jacobs off, big time, so he'd had an intense "hate on" for Beck ever since they'd met Freshman year.

Then it was decided that the team members got to select their new captain, which included a series of five immature and ridiculous challenges, with the winner earning the lead position.

But it was the third challenge that proved to be the most challenging. And confusing. And scary. And *HOT*.

Gay Chicken.

Now I’m fully hard, and what the actual fuck?

I pull away. “Nope, nope, nope. I’m out.”

Cohen says. I didn’t even hear him come back in.

“What?” I snap at him.

“I think we’re all a little gay after that. That was hot.”

Rossi slaps Cohen’s shoulder. “Still only you, dude.”
For decades, gay men across the planet have been titillated by the idea of two straight guys diving into unexplored territory with one another, and I most definitely am *not* an exception to that rule. As far as taboos go, I'm all over that one, so I pulled up a chair, grabbed a bag of popcorn, and sat my happy, queer ass down for a front row seat to *that* show. ;- )

As I fully expected, since this is a romance, hello, the kissing challenge led to some soul (and sexuality) searching, then to the all-but-inevitable "more" for which I was hoping.

I adored how Jacobs' most furious scowls only served as fuel under the fire in Beck's snarky, playful comebacks, like they were his catnip. He totally had an appetite for someone finally not giving him a pass simply because he was attractive and rich.

Other than the usual pondering of their mutual attractions, the main angst in the story was the iron-willed expectation of Beck's father for him to grow up and take over the family's billion-dollar business empire after graduation -- whether he wanted to or not.

Spoiler: He did not want that.

But the Daddy Drama was wrapped up nicely, and in an unexpected way that made me happy, so I eventually enjoyed how that played out.

In regards to steam, there were a LOT of those, but not so many that I even really considered skipping them, as I felt that they were actually needed for the guys to strengthen their growing relationship.

The humor and overall tone of the story completely won me over, so I'd rate it at 4.5 stars and recommend this book to fans of enemies to lovers or jocks falling in love.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by Eden for a fair, unbiased review.

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