Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this sexy age-gap romance between a hockey player at the end of his career and a twenty-something bartender and grad student who helps him see that life after hockey can mean a new kind of future. Eric and Kyle's friendship starts out due to mutual friends, but Eric is also ready to try dating men, and he relies on Kyle's help to get him ready for this change in lifestyle - only Eric soon realizes that he's more interested in exploring things with Kyle than finding someone else. It's a hockey romance so we get lots of the sport but it's also about friendship, teammates, camaraderie, and swoonworthy (and hot) scenes. It's all around enjoyable, with funny as well as sweet scenes and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.

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I was looking forward to this book so much! I really loved the first three books in this series (especially Heated Rivalry), and I immediately started reading it when it was downloaded to my kindle. I’m really pleased to say that this book did not at all let me down! It was so sweet watching Eric and Kyle dance around each other and finally letting go and being together. They were so perfect for each other, and I loved watching them slowly realize that.

My only complaint is that I wish there’d been a few more intimate moments between the two of them. Like, it would have been perfect if there’d been more time at the end of the book with the two of them together and talking about their relationship, because I don’t think they ever fully addressed what kept them from committing to a relationship in the first place. But it was still a lovely book, and I enjoyed Eric and Kyle’s story so much. Not to mention the glimpses we get of Shane and Ilya! It was a great addition to the series, and now I can’t wait for the next one!

Oh, I also wish Kyle had figured out his life a bit more. He expressed interest in running a bar, but I didn’t like that he didn’t take any steps to make that a reality, and that Eric kind of wound up buying the Kingfisher for him? And I really wish he and Eric had talked more about what happened to Kyle when he was younger so they could reinforce that it wasn’t Kyle’s fault and that it didn’t negatively impact their relationship other than to make Eric somewhat more cautious with Kyle. Seriously, though, I really enjoyed this book and read it basically in one sitting!
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So many great aspects to this...age gap, famous sports star, and a MM romance. Eric and Kyle had great chemistry and it was sweet watching them grow together and how he helped Eric discovery himself.
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I have enjoyed this series and Common Goal is no exception. I found it a sweet and sexy romance with the age-gap being the biggest barrier to our two main characters getting together. 

I liked Eric, a goalie near retirement who has decided it is time for him to be brave and look at dating men, something he has never done, but always wondered about. He is respected by his teammates but doesn't always feel like he fits in. In comes Kyle, who we've met in previous books, a young and flamboyant bartender with a thing for older men and especially a thing for Eric. 

I really enjoyed the journey these two took to get their happy ever after and the learning they needed to do about themselves to get there. What starts as a friends with benefits arrangement turns into much more, though getting past the age difference proves to be a big problem for Eric. They both have some issues to overcome from their past relationships which is generally the case for most people. I found this novel hard to put down, as I have done with the previous books, I  really wanted to know how it all panned out. 

It was also good to catch up with some of the previous characters, Scott, Kip, and Rozanov. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin -Carina Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book. I think I've read them all out of order and that never mattered so I'm glad for that. I do wish I'd written my review right away because I think I've read 20 books since and so specific details get muddy. But, I know I really liked Eric, I thought he was such an interesting guy and even though it was obvious where his relationship with Kyle was going, it was fun to be in Eric's head along the way.  For Kyle, he was not what I expected, not that I really know what I was expecting. He just didn't seem fully formed and I didn't understand him for a long time. Kyle knows what he's doing from the start, so I was surprised by some of his decisions and choices. In the end though, he and Eric are really great together and it was a fun ride. Bonus for all their friends along the way that I met in other books from the series.
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3.5 Stars. This one is tough because I can't help comparing it to Ilya and Shane's book which is one of my all time favorite sports romance books. This one just can't live up to that book nor those characters.

The major issue in this book is that Eric is 41 years old and Kyle is 25 years old. Although to me Kyle read younger. He spent so much time mooning over his crush on Kip in the beginning and not really having an idea what he wanted with his life. Eric is wrapping up his hockey career and trying to decide what's next as well as exploring his bisexual nature and being with a man. The two are of course in a friends with benefits relationship and then feelings get involved.

I liked that both characters showed some character growth but the friends with benefits relationship that ended up with them having feelings has been done a thousand times and there was nothing special about this one. I would have liked a bit more time spent in the relationship and a little less spent with them out of their heads as they both spent a lot of time there.

My favorite scene of this book was with Ilya were he is pointing out what a screwed up situation Eric has gotten himself into. It's so Ilya and I absolutely loved it. Every scene he is in steals the show and I absolutely adore his character.

So while this one doesn't live up to Shane and Ilya it is definitely an enjoyable book and I plan to continue the series.
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This is the first book I have read by Rachel Reid and it certainly won’t be the last. Common Goal is book 4 in the Game Changers but it can be read as a stand-alone, I can vouch for that because I’m playing catch up with this series and I still loved this steamy sports romance. If you love hockey and MM romance this should be at the top of your must read list. 
In a Common Goal we follow  veteran goal keeper Eric Bennett and bartender/ graduate student Kyle Swift as they form a friendship which leads to love and a passionate romance. Eric is a bisexual man but up until now he has only had relationships with women but after his recent divorce he realises he may need more in his life and once he meets Kyle he knows just what he was missing....
This book ticked all my boxes, it’s steamy and romantic, it’s about friendships as well as love and it’s about two people getting to know each others secrets and flaws as they fall in love. 
Looking forward to reading more from this very talented author.
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I think it’s safe to say that Common Goal is one of my favorites in the Game Changers series so far. Right now it’s a toss up between this book and Heated Rivalry. Because honestly, who didn’t fall in love Ilya and Shane? 😉

It didn’t take long to figure out that Kyle and Eric’s “arrangement” wasn’t going to work. At least not the way they expected it to. They were too attracted to each other, and not just physically. I really did love both of these guys, even though they frustrated me at times.

The way that this series is written is unique, given it doesn’t follow a clear time-line. It kind of makes it fun too, mainly because of the confusion surrounding Ilya and Shane – especially Ilya. Everyone has a preconceived opinion about Ilya and his actions continue to confuse pretty much everyone. I can’t wait until everyone is clued into what’s really going on and since there’s going to be another book in the Game Changers series featuring this fun couple, readers might actually get that chance.

The next book in the series is Role Model and will feature a couple more characters that readers have already been introduced to. I can’t wait 😉
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When I saw this for review I know I just had to snag it. Rachel Reid is an author I enjoy and one I love coming back to. This series in particular is amazing. I love her writing and the detail she puts into her adult scenes. Her characters are always well rounded and intriguing. With just the right amount of depth and darkness to balance the sweetness, of course, this was a hit from the start. However, there were two things in this book that drove me up the wall: lack of communication and the constant repetition of the age difference not being surmountable. I really felt as if the lack of communication was used to draw things out. Because of that, it took me longer to get through, but the scenes in this book were well worth the reading.
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Absolutely adore this book! I love the aspect of an older hockey player coming to grips with his career ending and embracing his bisexuality that he has never been able to explore. 

Kyle and Eric burn up the pages with their chemistry! I am normally not a huge reader of age gap romances, but Kyle and Eric just work for me!
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Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series of hockey romances continues with Common Goal, the fourth book in the set and easily one of the best.  It’s a gorgeous May/December romance between a silver-fox goalie close to retirement, and a bartender sixteen years his junior; it’s tender, funny, emotional and hot as hell – and don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance on my Best of 2020 list.  I loved it.

New York Admirals Goalkeeper Eric Bennett is approaching his forty-first birthday and has reached the decision that this season will be his last.  He’s in good shape and still playing well, but the career of a professional athlete is tough on the body and Eric wants to quit while he’s ahead and walk away while he can still walk!  The trouble is that he doesn’t have much of an idea as to where he wants to go from here, and in addition to that, he’s struggling with being newly single following his divorce a year earlier from his wife of sixteen years, and with his sexual identity.  He’s always known he’s attracted to men as well as women but had chosen to ignore that side of himself; he’d been happily married and had no reason to think about it.  But now, with high-profile players like team captain Scott Hunter (Game Changer) openly out and proud and about to marry his fiancé, and other athletes being open about their sexuality, Eric is re-examining his choices. Facing a huge life change in terms of his career – and a lonely retirement – maybe it’s time to make another change and finally start to live as his truest self.  But he’s been out of the dating game for such a long time, he isn’t sure how to go about dating anyone, let alone dating a man for the first time.

Grad student Kyle Swift is twenty-five and works as a bartender at The Kingfisher, a local gay bar that has grown in popularity since Scott Hunter started frequenting it.  Kyle came to New York following an experience with an older, married man that left him badly burned and continues to haunt him, even seven years later. After that, he vowed to steer clear of older men, but they do it for him in a way most younger men don’t – and although he’s noticed Eric the few times he’s been into the bar with Scott, Kyle reminds himself that while Eric is exactly his type, he’s also exactly the type of man he shouldn’t allow himself to fall for any more.

On the night of Scott and Kip’s engagement party, Kyle’s resolve is tested when Eric actually initiates a conversation with him.  The older man’s confidence is hard to resist, especially when it seems as though Eric might actually be flirting with him, and they chat for a while, discovering a mutual love of art and books and travel.  By the end of the evening, Kyle is cursing a universe that has thrown this gorgeous, perfect and completely off limits man into his path, and Eric is wondering just how much of a mid-life crisis stereotype he’s become by even contemplating dating a man so much younger than he is.

What follows is a sexy, slow-burn romance (with an emphasis on the ‘burn’ because – phew! *fans self*) which starts out as Kyle offering to teach Eric a few things in a safe, non-judgmental way about the world of dating (and having “sexy times” with) men, but which ends up becoming so much more than ‘just’ a physical relationship. In fact, it’s clear to the reader very early on that there’s no ‘just’ about it when it comes to these two; they’re a perfect match on every level – intellectually and physically – but although they’re generally honest with each other, they’re both struggling with baggage and preconceptions that make it difficult for them to open up about how they really feel.

Both characters are genuine, good people who are extremely likeable and very well-drawn, and the chemistry between them is electric.  Eric is – it seems to me – a pretty atypical sportsman hero; he’s got a degree in English from Harvard, he’s a connoisseur of fine art, and he’s well-travelled; I liked that he was so keen to fully embrace his bisexuality and really appreciated his quietly introspective manner and self-awareness.  He knows that what he’s really looking for is companionship and someone to share his life with; not that the hot sex he’s having with Kyle isn’t all sorts of amazing, but Eric has never been one for casual sex.  He wants more than that, but is concerned that his being so much older than Kyle is somehow unfair to him, thinking that Kyle really should be with someone closer to his own age.  He’s also worried on his own account – a recent divorcé dating a pretty young thing is going to make him look like the worst kind of dirty old man.

The age-gap isn’t so much of an issue for Kyle; he has a history of falling for the wrong men, usually older men who only see him as a fun time, and part of him thinks he’s not good enough for a sophisticated, cultured man like Eric.  His outgoing nature is the perfect counterpoint to Eric’s more cautious one, and the author does a great job of developing their relationship out of the bedroom – where they clearly have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company as equals –  as well as in it – where Kyle takes the lead and Eric is only too happy to let him. But Kyle’s doubts are as difficult to overcome as Eric’s, and unless one of them can find the courage to risk laying his heart on the line, they might end up missing out on the best thing ever to happen to either of them.

If I have a complaint about Common Goal, it’s that perhaps the age-gap hand-wringing goes on a little too long, and the lack of communication that piled up was frustrating, but in the end, they were only minor irritants.  Reader favourites Ilya and Shane make cameo appearances – mostly Ilya who, of course, steals pretty much every scene he’s in, with his wicked sense of humour and arseholic-but-impossible-to-dislike personality – and we also get to see Scott and Kip finally tie the knot.  Rachel Reid’s writing is accomplished and direct, the dialogue is sharp, and the sex scenes, besides being superbly written, are integral to the character and relationship development rather than being there for the sake of it.  If you’re following the Game Changers series then you definitely won’t want to miss Common Goal; it’s warm and tender and charming (and, did I mention hella sexy?) and I finished it with a happy sigh and a fond smile on my face.  Definitely one for the DIK shelf.

Grade - A- / 4.5 stars
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Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series is quickly becoming one of my favorites because, let’s be honest, what’s not to like?? Hot and sweaty hockey men, cute and sweet guys that they fall in love with, and love, acceptance and friendship that is absolutely endearing. I was dragged in with her first book and have followed that couple through each subsequent story, while at the same time getting to meet new guys, and getting involved in their lives as well.

Although each book is a stand alone, they do mention past couples quite frequently, so having met and fallen in love with each of them individually as well does make the story that much more fulfilling.

In Common Goal, Eric Bennett is coming to the end of his hockey playing days. Wrestling not only with the end of his career but the end of his marriage, Eric feels that he is at a place in his life where he can be honest and open in his bisexuality as well. But being new to the dating game, especially with another man, Eric needs help. He finds it in the form of an adorable bartender. Having mutual friends provides the necessary introduction, and from there, we experience a cute story of Kyle, the younger but more experienced man, taking the seasoned hockey star under his wing. Serving as his sex tutor, Kyle helps Eric through his first time with a man, and surprise, surprise, feelings emerge on both sides.

While I did find myself getting frustrated by the theme of “you deserve better than me” and “I’m too old for you”, I was willing to push it aside because of how much I just simply liked these two guys. I knew that this was going to end in a HEA, so I was able to just go along for the ride and enjoy the story as it came. It was not groundbreaking, it was not intense. It did not have any shockers or surprises. But it had everything that I come to the romance genre to experience. It had love and affection and two people that find one another and have such chemistry and connection that they are better together than apart. It was romantic and sweet, and a series that is worth checking out.

4.5 stars
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I’ve got some serious mixed feelings about the beginning of this one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Rachel Reid’s latest installment of the Game Changer series and I will reread it but… I can see myself skim reading certain parts of the beginning.

This is all due to Kyle being in love – not really, but kinda really, really? – with someone else and entering into that sort of relationship with Eric.

The whole book I remembered the beginning and therefore I had trouble getting and feeling their relationship. It became better the more their relationship progressed but there still was this kinda bad taste to it. I really enjoyed Eric’s worries about how him being with a way younger guy will be perceived and how he wonders himself if there maybe is some sort of midlife crisis at play.

I don’t know how I managed to hold onto this for so long – I was really struggling to not start my review with this to be honest, so be proud of me. Ilya! And his part is really important too. Well, no it isn’t – but it brought so much joy.


Another thing that brought me joy is Eric’s bisexuality and how he accepts this part of himself. Especially because the only isntance of biphobia is in his thoughts and he immediately shuts those thoughts down.
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Another fantastic, hot and sexy book in this series.

I love this series so much.  Every single book has been a 5-star read for me and Common Goal is no exception – and boy is it hot!

It's a fantastic age-gap and bi-awakening story.  Eric is an aging goalie who is reaching the end of his career.  He had an amicable divorce from his wife of 20-years but has yet to remove his wedding ring.  This causes a bit of a dilemma for his soon-to-be love interest, Kyle, because while Kyle is attracted when they first meet, he absolutely will not get involved with a married man.

The thing that makes this story so hot is Kyle's offer to teach Eric everything he wants to know about sexy-time with a man – and boy does Kyle know a lot!!  But beyond this, there is a tender love story developing between the two of them.  The problem is that Eric just can't seem to get past the age difference and just about ends up destroying everything between them.

I started out listening to the audiobook version of this, read by Cooper North, but soon switched back to reading the ebook.  I believe this is the first audiobook I've listened to from Cooper North.  I didn't think his narration was really bad or anything, I just wasn't feeling the same emotion listening to the story as I've always gotten when reading the previous books (I haven't listened to any of them).

While Common Goal can easily be read as a standalone, fans of the series will enjoy visiting with previous characters from other books in the series.  In particular, I enjoyed the cameo appearances by Ilya Rosanov and Shane Hollander from book two, Heated Rivalry.  I'm not certain how the timeline for Common Goal intersects with Heated Rivalry, but nothing about that book is revealed in Common Goal.  However, if you've read Heated Rivalry, you'll be reading between the lines in a few of the scenes. 😊

As far as I'm concerned, this series can continue on forever.  I'm a huge fan and I love Rachel Reid's writing.

A review copy of the ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and Harlequin Audio provided a review copy of the audiobook, but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***
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Heated Rivalry is one of my favorite books of all time. The author Rachel Reid set such a high standard when she introduced Ilya and Shane that I am afraid every couple in this series will be compared to them

In this installment of the Game Changer series, we are introduced to goalie Eric Bennett who is past his first year since his divorce. He shied away from hanging out with the hockey fellas but he decided to support his teammate Scott Hunter and his fiancee Kip Grady, by attend a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials. Shane and Kip were the heroes from book 1 and their decision to live their lives openly had a hugely positive effect in the hockey community.

At the party, Eric found himself drawn to his bartender, Kyle Swift who is a bartender but Eric hasn't never been open about his attraction to men. In addition, Kyle was still nursing an attraction on his co-worker Kip Grady, who was off the market. Both men commiserated a bit before realizing that they could work off their loss with each other. The issues for Eric boiled down to one thing, he was 41 years old and Kyle was 25 years old. But they agreed to just be friends with benefits.
Of course these arrangements never last because feelings get involved.

I liked the story but I really enjoyed the evolution of the heroes. At first, Eric was like a piece of wood adrift in a lake. He was at the twilight of his hockey career, he was curious of the part of his sexuality that he had repressed for most of his life, and he just didn't seem passionate about anything. Kyle felt more like a college kid. He spent so much time remunerating about his crush of Kip while trying to figure out what he wanted out of life. But the author did a great job developing them because both evolved into more confident and decisive men. The journey was one of self discovery and it was well paced. I just wanted more dynamic interactions and communication between Kyle and Eric but these two spent a lot of time in their own heads.

I liked them but the author really set my expectations high after Ilya and Shane's book. My favorite scene in the book was Ilya being himself and calling out the "mess" that Eric was embroiled in. It was quintessential Ilya and that is why his commanding presence is so dominating in every scene he appears even more so than Shane the engaged hero from book 1. This book was cool, it just didn't bring the heat, witty banter and angst that I was hoping for but it was a good addition to the series.
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A romantic, sweet, May/December romance between Kyle and Eric. The biggest hurdle in this book is the age gap and Eric couldn't past that at first. There's great characters between these two and their love story is slow-burn. The reason why I love this book is because all the characters, whether they are teammates, partners, or friends, they are so sweet and accepting and I loved seeing all them. The book is funny, some angst, sexy bartenders and hockey players. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.
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I really enjoyed this one, though not as much as I enjoyed Heated Rivalry. I am afraid nothing will surpass that one anyway...

Still, in each book we get hot hockey players falling in love and what is not to love about that!! Damn I love hockey players and I will confess... the goalies are definitely my favorite. They are a brand all on their own. 

Now I wasn't a real fan of the slow going pase in this on and the pushing and pulling that came with it, but we can't love them all the same and I especially like how this author has made all the books so different from one another. 

That said, I loved the age gap and the sexual discovery in this one... it was delicious.

So even though, this wasn't my favorite in the series, I still very much enjoyed it and I can't wait for more. Keep em coming please!!!
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4.5 Stars

Eric Bennett is a tall, broad silver fox looking retirement from professional hockey in the face. He’s bisexual, but not really out, though he’s wanting to experiment with men for the first time ever. He’s a bit shy, and not really into the meat market approach to finding a partner. He has met Kyle, a young, sexy bartender, several times because he works at the same bar where Eric’s teammate’s new fiance, Kip, has been employed. Turns out that Kyle is a graduate student in ancient art and architecture, and Eric is an art connoisseur and collector. They seem to have more in common than a mutual friend, and that leads Kyle–who is always attracted to Mr. Wrong–to impulsively offer to teach Eric the ways and means of sexytimes with men.

Kyle has had a long-time crush on his friend, Kip, and seeing him happily engaged only spotlights Kyle’s loneliness. Kyle decide to really focus on his schooling, but he’s still more than willing to give sex lessons to Eric, and their chemistry could melt glaciers–let alone hockey rinks. They also get along out of the bedroom, with Kyle admiring and appreciative of Eric’s sense of style and his intelligence. Who knew Harvard graduated hockey gods? The more time they spend, the more they each begin to fall, but there’s a big age gap that unsettles Eric. And, he’s totally afraid he’s taking advantage of Kyle’s youth and winsomeness, especially when he learns of Kyle’s history of being used by older men.

Their happily ever after seems to be in jeopardy until Eric comes to his senses, realizing that losing Kyle to his own insecurities is not the way he should approach his new, and empty, life after hockey. It’s a very sweet reunion, and the sexytimes are fun and playful throughout. I loved the resolution here, and I look forward to more of these delicious hockey romances in the future.
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Common Goal
By Rachel Reid



That cover!!!! The image is so sexy and drew me in right away! I wanted to get my hands all over Eric Bennett!

This series is so much fun to read. I have to be honest, nothing will top Heated Rivalry. If you are looking for that feeling you got when you read that book you’ll be disappointed. The reason is because Shane & Ilya are just in a class of their own and you cannot expect an author to capture that magic in every book. That is if you loved Heated Rivalry as much as I did. I just know that it’s a favorite for many and therefore I tend to believe that other books in the series just can’t top that. That being said, I loved this book and the previous book, Tough Guy. TG because I fell in love with Ryan and his quiet self and this book because Eric is a down to earth guy with a great personality. 

Kyle is a bartender that was introduced in Game Changer. He has a crush on Kip but Kip is madly in love with Scott Hunter. Kyle has been on his own in NYC, attending college, since he was involved in a scandal in his hometown and practically banished by his family. He notices Eric Bennett who comes to the bar to hang out and support his teammate, Scott Hunter. Eric is interesting and so sexy but he’s married and straight. Or so Kyle thinks. 

Eric is a goalie for the New York Admirals. He’s coming up on his time to retire, he’s recently divorced from his wife and he’s bisexual even though he’s never had the chance to act on that side of himself. He’s definitely attracted to Kyle but he insists Kyle is too young. Feeling older than he is because of his hockey career doesn’t help that mindset either. 

As Kyle and Eric get to know each other they find they have things in common and when Kyle finds out Eric is bisexual he volunteers to help him find someone to experiment with. Of course he’s the one who shows Eric the ropes in all things gay sex but feelings start to develop and Kyle has been burned by an older man before plus Eric keeps saying Kyle is too young for him. 

The push and pull in this one is not going to be for everyone. I loved the slow burn and enjoyed how the friendship and relationship developed over time. Eric isn’t the type of guy to have casual sex. I can appreciate how Rachel Reid sticks to her characters personalities that way. This book is like Tough Guy, there’s a sensitive older man and a vulnerable younger one.

Rachel Reid has so much talent and I cannot believe she doesn’t have tons of books under her belt. Her writing gets better with each book. I know many read this series to see Ilya and you definitely see him in this book. He has just evolved so much into the funniest, sweetest man! I encourage anyone who reads the other books in this series after Heated Rivalry to keep an open mind and don’t compare the books. You’ll enjoy them so much more and hopefully love these characters as much as I do. 

ARC received by publisher via NetGalley for review
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Rachel Reid's Common Goal is a wonderful addition to the Game Changers series. I love athletes and I love hockey romances, so I am always excited for a new book in this series. 

This is the story of Kyle and Eric, two complete opposites. Kyle's a young man who's still reeling from his bad choices. He and the older Eric develop a friendship despite their reservations. 

I love Eric. He's at the end of his hockey career, and is secretly bisexual. Having been married to a woman for years, he has never experimented with a man before. Until Kyle. 

Their arrangement is for no emotions involved sexual exploration, as Kyle sets out to teach Eric the hot things he can do with a man. And, damn, does he ever show him!

There isn't tons of actual hockey in this one, but I do adore Eric and the way he talks to the goalpost. And I enjoy the frequent presence of his teammates. 

I love the writing style, and love the characters even more. They are likable men and their storyline is compelling. It took me a little while to warm up to the men, but I did. They both have some layers that are intriguing, and together they make a good couple. I definitely enjoy the emotions and the fun banter.  As well, the story starts off slow, but it picks up once the men get entwined. It's a long read, so be prepared for that going into it. 

Common Goal is more than just a hockey romance. Rachel Reid definitely entertains in this story of sexual exploration and love. It's a sweet, comfort read kind of book.
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