Shots on Goal by Amy Aislin
Series: Stick Side #3
Release Date (Print & Ebook): January 7, 2020
Length (Print & Ebook): 84,600 words | 330 pages
Genre: contemporary/new adult romance
Tropes: opposites attract, made family
Cover artist: Natasha Snow
Recently traded to the newly formed Vermont Trailblazers, professional hockey player Roman Kinsey needs to focus on helping the team win games and filling the stands, not on the blond, bespectacled part-timer who works at the library he volunteers at. He knows all too well that outing himself equals heartache and ridicule…or worse.
Cody Evans, psych major and grad school hopeful, notices everything and thinks too much. But he doesn’t know what to think when he sees Roman reading to kids. The rugged hockey player just doesn’t look like the type. But it stirs something in him, something he’s never felt before.
When the library is threatened with closure, Cody enlists Roman’s help. As they get to know each other better…much, much better…they realize that they have more in common than books. But Roman’s keeping a big part of himself from his team, and giving in to his feelings for Cody might be more than he’s willing to risk.
Guest Post from Author
Thank you for joining me to celebrate the release of my newest m/m sports romance, Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3), and thank you to Rainbows and Sunshine for having me!
Today, I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from the opening chapter. Check it out below!
It’ll be fun, they said.
Don’t worry, they said.
It’ll be easy, they said.
If his new team’s engagement coordinators thought this was easy, they’d never been the center of attention of fifteen unimpressed three- to six-year-olds.
“You have to do the voices.”
Roman Kinsey paused mid-sentence and glanced up from the children’s book in his lap. “What?”
“The voices.” One of the little kiddos in attendance for Tiny Tot Storytime at the library leaned forward and tapped his book.
As a professional hockey player, he was used to playing in arenas that held thousands, but being the sole focus of a bunch of ankle-biters? He hadn’t been this nervous since he’d played his first NHL game four years ago. Why did they have to look at him like they could see into his soul?
“Okay,” he said, glancing back down at the book. On the page was a rocket ship with a cartoon face that was smiling down at a smaller rocket ship. He cleared his throat and dropped his voice an octave. “‘Where do you want to fly to today, son? asked Papa Ship.’”
The kids giggled.
“That’s the wrong voice,” the same kid said.
Roman clicked his tongue ring against his teeth. “What does a talking spaceship sound like?”
There was what sounded like an aborted snort-laugh behind him. He ignored it.
“Like a robot,” said the kid.
“A . . .” Yeah, all right, that made sense. He repeated the sentence, using a robotic Greetings, Earthlings kind of voice. The kids giggled again, and Little Miss Ringleader didn’t object, so he kept going.
His first storytime wasn’t awful. It helped that he didn’t have to actually interact, just sit here and read from a twenty-page children’s book that had all of three sentences per page. Except Tiny Tot Storytime was slotted to last thirty minutes, and the only reason the rocket-ship book took him ten minutes to get through was because he read really slowly. Midway through the second book, his voice went hoarse. He hadn’t talked so much in one go in a very long time.
A week ago, he never would’ve guessed he’d be leading Tiny Tot Storytime in a small-town community library.
But then, a week ago, he hadn’t known he was going to be traded.
Happy fucking New Year to him.
The shitty thing was that since the Trailblazers were such a new team—they’d played their first game last September—in such a small city—only 40,000 people and the NHL thought Burlington, Vermont, was a good place for a team?—he couldn’t carry on as he had in Tampa, showing up for practices and games and the required minimum amount of charity and community functions while avoiding the press and ducking out of team bonding events. Here, he had to demonstrate community spirit. Visibility in the community, apparently, helped sell tickets.
Which was how he found himself reading to a bunch of kids. As a mid-season addition to the National Hockey League’s recently formed Vermont Trailblazers, he didn’t exactly have a lot of options to express this supposed community spirit. The engagement coordinators’ list of available Trailblazer-affiliated volunteer opportunities had been slim, with storytime the least unpleasant of the three options. Except the library in Burlington he was supposed to volunteer at had shut down temporarily for renovations, so they’d sent him instead to this tiny one in the minuscule college town of Glen Hill, about an hour southeast of Burlington.
Operation: Community Spirit—check.
“There’s no I in team,” Coach Donovan had said yesterday morning upon their introductory meeting, as if Roman hadn’t heard the exact same cliché from every coach he’d ever had.
“Um . . .” Roman had frowned at the poster tacked to the wall behind Coach’s desk in his office at the arena, an uninspiring thing depicting a hockey puck on ice with the words There’s no I in team written in block letters underneath. “Understood, Coach.”
“We work together, as a unit, toward the same goal. We respect each other, and we play by the rules. Team spirit.” Coach banged a fist over the pile of papers on his desk. “I want to win, Kinsey, but I also want my men to treat each other like brothers. Family. Those guys out there—” He pointed one finger at his office doorway and, presumably, the men in the locker room down the hall getting ready for morning skate. “—are some of the best you’ll meet. They’re the best friends you’ll ever have.”
It took Roman a moment, but he’d figured it out eventually: Coach wanted him to make friends. Him. Make friends. His hands had clenched on the chair arms.
That . . . would be much more complicated than the community spirit thing, owing to the fact that Roman had purposefully avoided friendships for years. When more than one “friend” turned their backs on him for being gay, it made a man quit the friend train. Friends would betray him if he let them.
He didn’t let them.
Operation: Team Spirit—pessimistically willing to try for the good of the team.
This book is the third in Stick Side series and it can be read as a standalone. Written in dual POV, I loved that we finally understand the reasons behind Roman’s gruff exterior. And it broke my heart. While he gives off the ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe, he’s actually a big , soft marshmallow on the inside. He is afraid to let in people because he thinks they’ll just hurt him in the end.
Cody was inevitable.
Cody is the one who sees him. Sees beneath the asshole exterior. Cody is Mitch’s best friend (from second book) and I love their friendship. Cody has his own issues but together they are perfect. Just like Cody, I want to wrap Roman in bubble wrap and keep him safe.
Found family is one of my favourite tropes and Roman’s new family is simply awesome. I love the team camaraderie. We meet characters from the previous books too. I loved Ritz and Honeybun and I really want them to get a book. Maybe a short story atleast?
Highly recommend this book!!
*ARC provided by the author via A Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest and unbiased review
“With lots of hockey, delicious food, and the sweetest couple ever, Amy Aislin scores a hat trick with Shots on Goal.” — Kelly Jensen, award-winning author of Block and Strike
“Shots on Goal is a great wintertime read. Like a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate! Huddle up by the fire and enjoy this cozy story!” — Allison Temple, author of The Seacroft Stories series
“I love hockey romance, and this book delivered all the romance I needed alongside awesome hockey.” — RJ Scott, USA Today bestselling author
“I’m already a big fan of Amy Aslin’s Stick Side series, so I was thrilled to get an early read of Shots on Goal. Cody and Roman’s story didn’t disappoint. Shots on Goal is the perfect blend of the beloved sports and small-town romance tropes. Roman’s gruff, strained interactions with his ice hockey team play well against Cody’s heartwarming relationship with his fellow library lovers. As these two men inadvertently team up to help save the historic library, Roman realizes there just may be someone worth opening up to, and at the same time, Cody learns that sometimes falling in love brings with it tough choices. Shots on Goal is a strong addition to Aislin’s delicious world-building surrounding the sexy, competitive world of hockey. We get to visit old friends from previous books, but it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy Shots on Goal.” — Lucy Lennox, Bestselling author
From Amy Aislin:
Shots on Goal is a novel about taking risks, about putting yourself out there, even though history says it could end in disaster.
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter here.
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Release Blitz Giveaway
Winner’s choice of ONE signed paperback from Amy’s backlist!
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**The Nature of the Game (Stick Side #2) is on $0.99 sale from January 7-13, 2020!**