“As the game progressed, Isaac found his attention focused almost exclusively on the Ravens’ goalie, Laurent St. Savoy.”
In a word: Read the thing. This is a short story – only a little over 4000 words – that takes place between Book 3 (Power Play) and Book 4 (Empty Net) of the Scoring Chances series. It’s mainly a slice-of-life short from Isaac Drake’s point of view, though it does reference events that were mentioned in passing in Empty Net. It also explores a bit of the relationship between Isaac and Misha. It’s not really necessary to read this to understand the next book; it’s just some extra fun. The extra insight was interesting: we get some moments with Isaac and Misha, and we also get a bit of background on Isaac’s brief relationship with Xavier Matthews (who plays on the Asheville Ravens). There’s also a lot of foreshadowing for the impending romance between Isaac and Laurent St. Savoy. This isn’t really a romantic short (even with the focus on Laurent), I feel it’s more to do with the father/son type relationship between Isaac and Misha, which was very sweet. There were also some moments with some of the other hockey players, and it’s always good to see the boys interacting and having fun. Even Belsey wasn’t as much of a dick as he usually is. So this isn’t really required reading to understand the main story going forward, but it really is a fun read and the extra time spent on some of the relationships certainly doesn’t hurt. (Also it’s free to read.)
[available for free from Instafreebie]
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Series: Scoring Chances is a romance series about hockey players/coaches from the ECHL falling in love with each other and sometimes playing hockey. The stories are all standalone but all take place in the same universe and sometimes share characters. The books don’t technically have to be read in order to understand the individual plots, but they do all take place in a specific timeline. Overtime features characters and mentioned events from Book 2 (Save of the Game), Book 3 (Power Play), and Book 4 (Empty Net) of the series.
The Goalie: Isaac Drake is the goalie and captain for the ECHL hockey team the Spartanburg Spitfires. He’s the main focus of this short, and it’s his first stint as main character, sort of preparing us for him being one of the leads in the next book in the series, Empty Net. Isaac is openly gay, and his parents kicked him out for it when he was 17. He’s had a bit of a tough time of it since then, but he’s in a good place now. This story takes place pretty much immediately after Power Play, and starts out with Isaac and a few teammates going to watch the most hated team in the ECHL, the Asheville Ravens, play against one of the better teams in the league, the Jacksonville Sea Storm. Nothing much happens at the game, aside from some foreshadowing for the romantic relationship in the next book, but it is pretty fun to read because it’s mostly about Isaac and his friends having a good time. Also Riley Hunter still plays goalie for the Storm, so he’s in the game and his boyfriend, former defenseman and current outreach coordinator Ethan Kennedy, is watching from the audience. There’s also a bit of explanation about Isaac’s past relationship with Ravens player Xavier Matthews, which does make me hope that we’ll eventually get a book about him (Book 5 is supposed to feature the Ravens team, so hopefully we’ll see more of him). The main idea of the short, though, and my favourite part, is the relationship between Isaac and one of his coaches, Misha Samarin. Misha and Isaac bonded a bit in Power Play when Misha saved Isaac from a former trick that was trying to blackmail him, and they were able to relate to each other because of their similar pasts. Isaac is now living with Misha (and Misha’s boyfriend, assistant coach Max Ashford), and the two of them have developed a bit of a father-son relationship. It’s adorable reading about hockey family domestic fluff.
The Other Goalie: The Asheville Ravens seems to be the most hated team in the ECHL. For good reason: their coach is a complete arsehole and they all play dirty. Isaac had a particularly bad run-in with the Ravens’ goalie, Laurent St. Savoy, and they definitely didn’t make any friends there. Laurent is the son of the Ravens’ coach, Denis St. Savoy, which probably explains a lot of his behaviour. We don’t get any more insight into Laurent until he becomes one of the leads in Empty Net; so far he’s just a rival goalie who is possibly homophobic and definitely a dick. He’s in this short, but all he does is play hockey against the Spitfires, and there wouldn’t be much to say about him if not for how he keeps drawing Isaac’s focus. Isaac doesn’t really like Laurent, but he can’t help but be interested in him (doesn’t hurt that he’s hot). Isaac notices something going on on the ice, but neither him nor the reader realizes really what it is he’s seen until Laurent explains it in the next book and we get the whole story about what it’s like to be Laurent St. Savoy.
The Coaches: Max and Misha (though mostly Misha) return for the short as total hockey dads. Isaac is living with them now, and they’ve more or less lowkey adopted him. Max doesn’t get a lot of screen time, just enough to let us know that he still can’t cook, but we see quite a bit of Misha. This is Misha through Isaac’s point of view, so he’s definitely not as broody or dark as he was in Power Play. Though that is also due to the personal progress he’s made over the course of his story. His current relationship with Isaac is very paternal, and Isaac both looks up to Misha and greatly respects him. Misha cares for Isaac very much in return, along with Max, and they both want to see him succeed in life.
The Sex: No sex scenes here. Some of the characters are definitely having it, but it all happens either off screen or in the past and is only mentioned/alluded to.
The Writing: As with the other Scoring Chances books, the writing in this was great, with some funny moments and some heartfelt moments. This was only a short story, but it still managed to get across a lot of background information and a lot of foreshadowing for the next book. I really like Isaac as a character, and I’m glad we got another chance to see more of him. I also really liked the relationship he has with his coaches, and how much like a family they really are (what I really wanna see now is how Max’s parents will react to him). This is a good lead-in to Empty Net, and a good look into Isaac’s character, though I would’ve also liked to have been in Isaac’s head when the drama from Power Play was going on.
[Overtime was published July, 2016, by the author; it is only available as an ebook]