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Series Tour & #Giveaway: Hockey Ever After Series (#1 & #2) by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James


@Archaeolibrary, @debbiereadsbook, @gaybookpromo, @ashlynkane,

#Contemporary, #Sports, #MM, #Romance,

Book Details:

Book Title: Winging It (Hockey Ever After 1)

Author: Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Length: 99 000 words/ 283 pages

Release Date: October 18, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Grumpy/sunshine, teammates to lovers, friends to lovers, professional athletes

Themes: Coming out, bisexual awakening, self-acceptance, friendship

Heat Rating: 5 flames

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Hockey is Gabe Martin's life. Dante Baltierra just wants to have some fun on his way to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Falling for a teammate isn't in either game plan.


But plans change.


When Gabe gets outed, it turns his careful life upside-down. The chaos messes with his game and sends his team headlong into a losing streak. The last person he expects to pull him through it is Dante.


This season isn’t going the way Dante thought it would. Gabe’s sexuality doesn’t faze him, but his own does. Dante’s always been a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy, and having to hide his attraction to Gabe sucks. But so does losing, and his teammate needs him, so he puts in the effort to snap Gabe out of his funk.


He doesn’t mean to fall in love with the guy.


Getting involved with a teammate is a bad idea, but Dante is shameless, funny, and brilliant at hockey. Gabe can’t resist. Unfortunately, he struggles to share part of himself that he’s hidden for years, and Dante chafes at hiding their relationship. Can they find their feet before the ice slips out from under them?

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Dante waited in the lobby, curled into a chair that wasn’t quite big enough to be comfortable. He kept his back to the flow of people and his nose buried in his phone. Any other night, sure, he would be happy to sign autographs. Tonight… his brain was going to endlessly replay the scene he’d just walked in on.

How had he not known Gabe was into men? It seemed obvious now. Of course he never picked women up in bars or brought a girlfriend to a team event. Dante felt stupid for not noticing.

Somehow Dante had stumbled onto a huge secret.

And now he had to work out what to do about it.

First, though, apparently he was going to think about Gabe’s broad palm on his partner’s chest. Gabe was a big guy—two inches taller than Dante, even if Dante was more solidly built. His partner had been clinging to Gabe’s muscular shoulder.

He should stop thinking about it, but his brain was trying to fill in details. Where had Gabe’s other hand been? Had it been placed on his partner’s thigh? Had he been putting his weight on it to steady himself? Or maybe he’d used it to tilt the man’s face to the right angle.

Dante exhaled sharply. This was really, really not his business. Dwelling on it would not do him any favors. He needed to pretend everything was normal. And obsessing about your teammate feeling up some guy—and kissing, can’t forget the kissing—was not that.

So. Normal. He’d been sexiled by a roommate. That was fine! It had happened before. Today, actually. He hoped Yorkie was having a better night than Gabe.

Most importantly, sexiling was normal.

Was it hot in here?

Footsteps jarred him out of his spiral, and he looked up to see Gabe walking toward him, head down, shoulders hunched. He didn’t exactly have the look of the freshly laid about him.

Fuck.

Or, like, probably not.

Gabe dropped into the chair across from him. He was loudly projecting that he would rather stand in front of fifty of Kitty’s slap shots than have this conversation.

At least they were on even footing in that respect.

Dante put his phone away. “So, uh, sorry for cockblocking you.” Even if it’s kind of your fault. Who doesn’t use the Do Not Disturb sign? Why didn’t you tell me to pound rocks when I asked to share?

Considering the circumstances, he kept a lid on these criticisms. He could bring them up later, when Gabe didn’t look like he was about to puke all over the hotel lobby.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be a problem,” Gabe said. He slumped farther, but Dante thought his shoulders were relaxing too. “Did you strike out or something?”

“Sort of. We passed her ex on the way back to her place and she made it like ten more feet before she burst into tears. So we stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream, and then she went to the bathroom and fixed her makeup and we took a selfie for her Instagram, and I came back here.”

The color returned to Gabe’s face and he met Dante’s gaze for the first time since that hideously awkward moment upstairs. “Guess neither of us is getting laid tonight,” he said, a little tentatively, like he wasn’t sure Dante would laugh.

“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

“Deal,” Gabe said. The lines of tension in his face disappeared under a relieved half smile.

Good. Dante was glad they’d settled that. “Great.” He yawned. “So can we go upstairs now? I’ve had just enough booze and ice cream to make me sleepy.”

When they got up to the hotel room, Dante said, “I wish you’d told me you liked guys.” His shoes thunked dully against the wall as he kicked them off. “I wouldn’t have tried so hard to hook you up with chicks last season.” Or last week.

Gabe stared at Dante’s shoes. Then he lined his own up neatly under the desk. “It’s not something I advertise.”

“No shit.” Dante shimmied out of his jeans.

After a beat, Gabe said, “You’re being really cool about this.”

Dante sat in the desk chair. He had a habit of saying the first thing that came to mind, and right now that was Actually, I’m kind of freaking out. He needed to take his time. “I mean, obviously I’m not mad or upset or whatever. I’m—accepting? Ugh, that’s a garbage word.” He huffed, frustrated with himself. “Look, you’re… gay?”

The muscle at the hinge of Gabe’s jaw bunched. “Yeah.”

“Cool.” He drummed the fingers of his left hand on the desktop, realized he was doing it, and forced himself to stop. “And obviously if you haven’t told the team, you’re expecting some of them to be assholes. And that sucks. Because as far as I’m concerned, my reaction? Is, like, a pretty low bar.”

Gabe rubbed the back of his neck. “I mean, it’s not like you could come in and introduce yourself.”

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Dante was losing his grip on reality. “Yeah, maybe not. You mind if I shower now? I stink like dance club.”

“Sure. I’m just gonna….” Gabe picked up the television remote.

The television came on, and a moment later Dante closed the bathroom door behind him and started the water. Mechanically, he removed his clothes and stepped under the spray. The hot water sluiced over him, washing away the sweat and club grime and what had maybe been just a little too much hair gel.

But the image of Gabe kissing another man on the bed in their hotel room stuck with him, and now, in relative privacy and naked, alone with his thoughts, Dante was forced to confront the truth of his own semi.

“I did not see this coming,” he muttered as he reached for his shampoo.

4 out of 5 (very good)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!


I will admit, hockey-themed books tend to be a bit and miss for me, depending on the level of detailed descriptions about the actual playing of hockey. I have no interest in hockey, and it's not a very popular sport in the UK. So, when a blurb grabs me, about a hockey book, I walk into it with an open mind and give it a good go.

I was VERY pleased I took this on!

Gabe is far in the closet and has no plans to be out. Dante is not, in the closet nor out of it but a door opening at the wrong time, gets Dante a glance at Gabe in a man's arms. Dante's mind then goes into overdrive. Gabe is all, aside from hockey, he thinks about. Gabe is outed by an ex, Dante stands by his man. Cos Gabe is his, he just doesn't know it yet.


What I especially liked about this, was how things crept up on Dante. Gabe, for his part, liked Dante, and he played a part in Gabe's dreams, but Dante was a ladies' man, before Gabe and that does throw him a little bit. Once he gets his head around it, Dante is happy to admit he is bi. And Dante goes all out to get Gabe in his bed and his heart.

Gabe is more cautious, and rightly so. He's been hurt before and doesn't want to be again, but sometimes, fate has a way of stuffing your plans out the window!


I loved the guys on the team, all of them even Kitty. He does a bad thing here, but he does redeem himself, beautifully! And the way they all pull together to help Tom was amazing. They saw he was off, and pulled a bit of an intervention to get to the bottom of it and then they all helped. Loved that.


I found the level of hockey descriptions just enough for me. Some may say there isn't enough, but for ME, they were just detailed enough for me not to skip them, which is good, cos I would have missed some important bits had I skipped!

The level of steam is fairly high, but not ever so explicit and I liked that here. This is more about seeing what's in front of you, dealing with your past and planning for the future.


Book 2 has a different set of leads, so I'm wondering if that book follows this one, given what is said in the blurb, and given what happens here. I do hope we can catch up with Gabe and Dante though.

First I've read of either of this pair of authors, I will read more!


A very enjoyable 4-star read.


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Book Details:

Book Title: Scoring Position (Hockey Ever After 2)

Author: Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Length: 98 000 words/ 285 pages

Release Date: October 18, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance

Tropes: Opposites attract, roommates to lovers, age gap

Themes: Mental health, self-improvement, family pressure

Heat Rating: 5 flames

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Ryan Wright’s new hockey team is a dumpster fire. He expects to lose games—not his heart.


Ryan’s laid-back attitude should be an advantage in Indianapolis. Even if he doesn’t accomplish much on the ice, he can help his burned-out teammates off it. And no one needs a friend—or a hug—more than Nico Kirschbaum, the team’s struggling would-be superstar.


Nico doesn’t appreciate that management traded for another openly gay player and told them to make friends. Maybe he doesn’t know what his problem is, but he’ll solve it with hard work, not by bonding with the class clown.


It’s obvious to Ryan that Nico’s lonely, gifted, and cracking under pressure. No amount of physical practice will fix his mental game. But convincing Nico to let Ryan help means getting closer than is wise for Ryan’s heart—especially once he unearths Nico’s sense of humor.


Will Nico and Ryan risk making a pass, or will they keep missing 100 percent of the shots they don’t take?

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5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!


This is book 2 in the Hockey Ever After series. I don't think it's fully necessary to read book one, Winging It, before this but it might give you a better picture of the world these players live in. And I really enjoyed that book. Dante and Gabe do pop up, but knowing their story isn't essential, just helpful, especially with Tom and Kitty (side characters) playing a large part here.


Ryan is traded out and his new team is a mess. Their star player, Nico, even more so. But Ryan can see that Nico is hurting, in more ways than one. Finding his sense of humour was a great start. Then Ryan messed it all up. And just what is going on with the coach?


I really enjoyed book one, gave it 4 stars, but I found this a much more engaging read, a deeper emotion read. I loved it.


Neither man is in the closet, so there was none of the coming-out issue. What there was, though, was a lot of anger on Nico's part and much was misplaced. Ryan needed him to focus that anger, on the ice, rather than punishing himself. Falling for the other gay team member was in neither man's plans but fate has a way, huh?


I loved that it really did creep up on them both. Yes there was attraction from the start but the feelings came later and they both fought it hard. Ryan messing up, though? THAT came out of nowhere and I did NOT see that coming! I was reading, and then I was "OH MY GOD, RYAN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?!" out loud and my partner was somewhat shocked at me! Oh, he does redeem himself, but I loved that Nico makes him work hard for that redemption. There is not a quick fix, either, and it does take time for them to be really together.


I loved that we caught up with Dante and Gabe from book one. And Tom and Kitty. I think this is a couple of years after Winging It, since Tom is captain of Ryan's new team, and has a couple of kids. Kitty surprised me though!

Are there any more planned?? I'm loving this series, but these authors are growing on me, as a duo.


5 full and shiny stars


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

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Ashlyn Kane likes to think she can do it all, but her follow-through often proves her undoing. Her house is as full of half-finished projects as her writing folder. With the help of her ADHD meds, she gets by. An early reader and talker, Ashlyn has always had a flair for language and storytelling. As an eight-year-old, she attended her first writers’ workshop. As a teenager, she won an amateur poetry competition. As an adult, she received a starred review in Publishers Weekly for her novel Fake Dating the Prince. There were quite a few years in the middle there, but who’s counting? Her hobbies include DIY home decor, container gardening (no pulling weeds), music, and spending time with her enormous chocolate lapdog. She is the fortunate wife of a wonderful man, the daughter of two sets of great parents, and the proud older sister/sister-in-law of the world’s biggest nerds.


Author Links

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Morgan James is a clueless (older) millennial who’s still trying to figure out what they’ll be when they grow up and enjoying the journey to get there. Now, with a couple of degrees, a few stints in Europe, and more than one false start to a career, they eagerly wait to see what’s next. James started writing fiction before they could spell and wrote their first (unpublished) novel in middle school. They haven’t stopped writing since. Geek, artist, archer, and fanatic, Morgan tends to pass their free hours with in imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it’s an addiction. As is their love of coffee and tea. They live in Canada with their massive collection of unread books, where they are the personal servant of too many four-legged creatures.



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