Book Title: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods & Monsters, Book 1)
Author: Elyse Springer
Cover Artist: Elyse Springer
Release Date: 5/15/2020 (re-release; first published 10/1/2019)
Genre/s: M/M romance, PNR/Paranormal, sports romance (hockey)
Trope/s: Enemies to Lovers, secrets, soul mates
Themes: Opposites attract, love triumphs over fear
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 85 000 words
It is a standalone story.
A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hot-headed defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.
When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.
Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained.
The end result was that Sasha was running far behind in his usual game-day routines. He didn’t think of himself as especially superstitious—not like Engel, who had an almost religious devotion to his playlist on game days, or Carts, who had been eating the same lunch before games for almost a decade. But he did have the timing of things down precisely, and watching the clock tick later and later was stressing him out.
When Sasha did finally burst through the locker room door, he was already half an hour behind schedule. Still, he couldn’t help but pause as he walked inside, head turning automatically to stare at Ed’s stall.
Where there was a kid sitting on the ground and stretching.
And it was a kid. The guy looked like a goddamn teenager, eighteen or nineteen at best. This is our new backup? A literal child? He was bent over his own legs and hadn’t looked up when the locker room door opened, which gave Sasha a moment to study him unobserved.
Okay, the kid was honestly kind of cute. Floppy brown hair, pale skin, and lean muscle that flexed beneath his thin base layers. Under different circumstances he’d be exactly the kind of guy who would catch Sasha’s eye in a club—not that he’d do anything about it, but he’d enjoy watching and fantasizing. The new goalie had an expression of absolute focus on his face as he went through his stretches, showing off flexibility that made Sasha’s mouth go dry.
But circumstances were what they were, so it didn’t matter how nice the kid looked. He wasn’t Ed, which meant he didn’t deserve to be sitting in that stall, with his name on top like he belonged there. Just the sight of him made Sasha want to yell and kick something.
“Sasha, hey!” That was Shawn, calling him over to joke about how late he was running.
His defense partner was enough of a distraction to pull Sasha’s attention away from the child across the room.
“Long night last night. You heard?”
Shawn made a face. “Yeah. Is it as bad as social media is saying?”
Sasha resisted the urge to rub his temples where a headache was threatening to form. “Worse,” he said shortly.
“Shit. Three to six months, huh?”
Sasha hadn’t heard any confirmation, but with the injuries he’d seen, it wasn’t a surprise at all.
But Shawn was the kind of guy who didn’t linger on the negative. He balanced Sasha out that way—usually cheerful and energetic when Sasha was more dour and solemn. “But hey, man, at least there’s some good news. You remember I told you about my best friend from Juniors? Alex Fanning? He’s our new goalie!”
Before Sasha could respond, Shawn was already yelling across the room.
Sasha stiffened. That was Carts’s best friend? The child who had been brought in to replace Ed? Impossible.
Up close, the guy didn’t look quite as young as Sasha had initially thought. His face was young, cheeks still a little soft, but his eyes were intelligent and bright, and showed far more maturity than the rest of his appearance.
And, somehow, he was even more attractive up close. Handsome wasn’t the right word, or even cute. Fanning’s brown eyes were fierce and bright, and his skin was flawless, like he’d look more fitting on a runway than in a locker room. Прекрасен, Sasha thought, then immediately banished the word from his thoughts with a sour taste in his mouth.
Beautiful or not, he didn’t want anything to do with this temporary replacement, and he’d make sure this kid knew it.
About the Author
Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, Elyse spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.
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