Contemporary Romance

Review: Game Breaker

Game Breaker
Game Breaker by Catherine Gayle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet and heartrending story about acceptance, love and family.

He may not be as tall or as heavy weight as his teammates, but Nate “Ghost” Golston is fast, agile and his quickly becoming one of the Portland Storm’s game makers intent on helping his team win the Stanley Cup. But when a couple of ignorant opposing fans insult his ethnicity, the incident goes viral and is coupled by rising racial tensions across the country, can he keep his focus on the game especially when the very attractive female reporter he’s been outrageously flirting with for the past two years is constantly in his space?

“It had started to feel natural again. Comfortable. Like there was no other way we ought to be together than overly playful, cracking jokes and making each other laugh.”

Anne Dennison had been covering the Portland Storm as a sportscaster for the past couple of years, but when an opportunity to produce the team’s web series lands on her lap, a rarity in the male dominant career she’s chosen, she snatches the opportunity. She doesn’t count however that this will bring her closer to the very sexy and alluring Nate which puts her between a rock and a hard place. Should she date him and throw her career down the drain or should she exploit his and the team’s problems to secure her job?

“Would you be offended if I tried to casually put my arm around your shoulders on the plane? I’m pretty damn smooth. You might not even notice me doing it until it’s too late.”
“I wouldn’t be offended by that as long as you wouldn’t get upset if I let my head fall on your shoulder.”

In true Catherine Gayle style, Game Breaker is not only a sweet and touching story, it also covers some very real and serious current issues mainly about chauvinism, racism with a side of homophobia. I’ve come to love this series partly due to the way Catherine skillfully brings out the importance of such values as tolerance, acceptance and respect and the need to stand up for them and the people affected by the lack of them.

“There are ignorant people everywhere… But I don’t think that’s what most of the world is like. I choose to believe that most people are good.”

Game Breaker is still a hockey romance about two charming characters who fall in love in under difficult circumstances. I really liked Anne, not just because she doesn’t let public opinion or her higher ups sway her moral compass nor rule her heart. She’s strong willed, smart and brave even in regards to her deep-seated insecurities that stem from her Indian upbringing. And while Nate has to deal with bigotry he’s protective of Anne and mindful of the effect he might have on her career besides being sexy, intelligent, and loyal.

I always enjoy Catherine’s hockey descriptions. It’s something that I’ve only found in her books. She not only makes you want to be invested in the sport but her accomplished narratives make me feel right in the middle of the action.

“Hockey was a team sport. It should never be about individual achievements or failures. We tended to answer questions about the team as a whole.”

I also loved the web series introduced in this book. It didn’t just allow Anne to get close to Nate but it also gave reason to get to know new team members like Harry and Nate’s best friend R.J. and visit old friends. The cameos by characters from past books gave us the chance to catch up with their growing families as well as witness how the racial tensions affected each of them.

“I knew there were many other layers to explore in future episodes. Not only was it more interesting to me to explore the guys’ dynamics away from the rink and witness how that played out on the ice, but it made the story we were telling that much more personal. It gave the show a heartbeat. This wasn’t just about hockey; it was about everything that made these men tick.”

Game Breaker is book #9 in the Portland Storm series by author Catherine Gayle. This is a poignant romance that includes all the excitement of the NHL. This is standalone full length novel, told from alternating points of view with a happy ending.

4.5 stars

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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