“Really? You can’t believe two contrary people who thought they were just gonna have sex every now and then decided to have feelings?”
In a word: Read the thing. I’m always happy with a new addition to the Scoring Chances series, and this time is no exception. Coach’s Challenge is a book that has a completely new and separate plot from the other books, but still furthers the general series timeline in significant ways. Main characters and romantic leads Troy Callahan and Shane North are both newcomers to the series, though they aren’t completely unknown to the other characters (Troy got a mention at the end of the previous book), and their story fits in well in the established universe. The team getting the focus in this book is the Asheville Ravens, probably the most hated team in the ECHL, and rival to the Spartanburg Spitfires. Troy is hired on as their new coach, to replace the vile Denis St Savoy, who was banned from the league at the end of the previous book. Troy’s job is to whip the Ravens into shape and turn them into a more cohesive team that can play a clean game. Shane is a veteran hockey player, but new to the Ravens. He’s there playing out his last season, and is easily the oldest member on the team. He and Troy get off to a bit of a rocky start, what with them both being contrary assholes, but it isn’t long before they fall head over heels in lust with each other. As good as the sex is, though, it doesn’t stop it from being a bad idea since Troy is Shane’s coach, and the Ravens really can’t afford any more scandals or bad press. Too bad Troy and Shane have way too much fun fighting and fucking to even bother trying to keep away from each other, even if it does all threaten to blow up in their faces. For all the serious background and possible disaster in this situation, this book is hilarious. Troy and Shane’s banter nearly made me laugh out loud a few times, which is good because it’s what they do most of the time they’re together (seriously, if snark and banter and constant arguing isn’t something you enjoy reading, you’re probably better off skipping this one because it happens a lot). Also we see the return of a lot of the characters I really liked in Empty Net, so that was definitely a bonus. This is another great addition to the series and I can’t wait for the next one.
The Summary: (from Goodreads) It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.
Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.