JMS Books LLC, $2.99
Contemporary Romance, 2010 (Reissue)
Faceoff was initially published by Amber Quill Press back in 2009. I know because I’m actually reading the original version that I unearthed from my external hard drive. I’m cheating and using the independently-released cover art here, because it’s a far nicer one. I’m not sure whether the author had merely reissued this story or had revised any parts of it, however, and that’s something best addressed to the author.
This story is one of those “And I shrug!” stories. This one is about Christian Magdziuk, an ice hockey player formerly from the Richmond Rebels and now with Bedford Blizzard. In his latest match, he finds himself squaring off against his former teammates, all of whom are apparently bitter about him leaving, and he’s especially vexed that his ex-boyfriend Ronnie Niedermeyer seems to be avoiding eye contact altogether. How dare he! You’d think they are here to concentrate on winning for their team or something… oh, wait.
This one offers flashback as well as cuts to the present to flesh out these two men’s back story as well as their surly glower-off at the present match. And… that’s basically it.
Hence, I shrug, and believe, I shrug. At the end of the day, this is simply the story of two men that have a miscommunication problem, so much so that a simple transfer is perceived as a breakup notice. Thank goodness Grindr just started that year this story was first published, or else these two will spend quite a bit of their happily ever after wondering which way to swipe in order to tell the other person anything.
So yes, in the end, they make up, and the puck slinks into the goal. Good for them, but the story is still a whole lot of glowering and sulking over what is basically a very tiny molehill. This isn’t a bad read by any means—it’s actually a readable and easily digested story. Maybe too easily digested, in a way, because a lack of compelling romantic conflict means that this one goes in and out as easily as a bowel hour with Ex-Lax.