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Common Goal

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DNF - I really tried but I couldn't get into this one. I did not like Kyle & he read way to immature for me. I think Eric could have done better

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Complementary copy given for honest review and opinion.

Read out of curiosity. Not really my thing. Lots of romance in this one.

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Eric Bennett has been an NHL goaltender for nearly two decades, and at age 41 he's rapidly approaching the end of his career. He's starting to realize that he hasn't really felt strongly about anything or anyone for a VERY long time. Even his divorce, while disappointing, wasn't exactly heartbreaking. He's got a great house, good friends, an amazing job, and even a hobby. But he feels empty. None of the trappings of success are keeping him company at night. He has also started to fully acknowledge the fact that he's bisexual. It's something he hasn't really had to examine much, since he was married to Holly for so long. But being single is making him realize that his attraction to men is something he wants to explore.

Enter Kyle. A gorgeous, young, bartender, a friend of a friend. Kyle is a free spirit - almost the exact opposite of straight-laced Eric. He's fun-loving, but he also speaks several languages and is studying for his graduate degree in art history. Since Eric is an art collector, they have a lot in common.

Kyle isn't afraid of pursuing what he wants when it comes to sex, and he's got lots of experience. Kyle offers to be Eric's "teacher" in the ways of hooking up with men. Kyle shows Eric a world of sexual pleasure that he had never even imagined, let alone experienced. But the sex isn't even the best part of their relationship. They genuinely like each other, like spending time together. Eric begins to realize that he's getting in over his head with his "friends-with-benefits" arrangement. The fact that he's 15 years older than Kyle is a huge road block for him, especially since Kyle has had several bad experiences with older men. He convinces himself that a relationship with Kyle wouldn't be fair to him. Kyle is so young, gorgeous and fun, he should be with someone his own age. So he tries to pull away. But Eric fails to realize that while Kyle may be young, he's able to make his own decisions about his life.

Common Goal is a sweet story about trust, and about the fact that it's never too late to pursue what makes you happy. It takes Eric a while to realize it, but Kyle is one of the best things to ever happen to him, and being together is what makes them BOTH happy and fulfilled. "Age ain't nothin' but a number". I devoured Common Goal. Eric and Kyle's story is sweet and steamy and fun and I couldn't put it down.

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A professional NHL player, Eric who is almost at the end of his career. He is getting divorce and now has come out as BI. Eric has a lot going on for someone who is getting older.

I have to be honest, this one didn't hold my interest. I got bored and skimmed.

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Common Goal is the fourth book in the Game Changers series by Rachel Reid. While returning readers will love the roles the stars of the previous books play in this one, and be able to see a bigger picture that even the main characters here, it is not necessary to have read the previous books to fully enjoy this installment.
Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time. Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away. Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings. Everything they both want is within reach, they just have to be brave enough to grab it.

Common Goal is a contemporary romance with an age gap, and two people that are unsure of what they really want, what the other wants, and if it is really the best thing for all involved. Like so many romances, a good sit down discussion or two would have solved most of the issues right away, but then I would not have had this lovely book to read. Eric is trying to figure out what is next. He has been divorced for a year, is contemplating retirement, and has never pursued his attraction to men. Kyle has a thing for older men, but has been burned in the past for it. The attraction is undeniable, but so are the doubts and complications that they cause. It was enjoyable to read about these to getting to know each other as friends and more. The growth of their relationship was sweet, a little spicy, and felt authentic every step of the way. I liked and connected with the main characters and the secondary characters, and was left hoping to find out what happens with this circle of friends, rivals, and so forth in future books by Reid.

Common Goal is exactly what I was hoping for as this series continues. Fans of the series will want to pick it up, and newcomers can enjoy it as well.

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Rating: 4.5 stars

This is a super steamy age-gap romance with LOTS of mutual pining. So much pining... There were so many times I was clutching at my heart and sobbing at this book "Just TALK to each other, you big dummies!" At the same time this book is so fun and sexy, and flirty in this bumbling sort of way (oh, Eric...). As a woman married to a man who came into my own bisexuality rather later in life, I love that Eric is taking the chance to explore his identity and embrace his bisexuality as more than "in theory." There were a few moments in this book where Kyle reassures Eric that his identity as bi is valid even if he never hooks up with another man that really got to me. It's so comfortable and accepting and also sweaty and exciting and adventurous, I just loved this dang book and just really didn't want to put it down.

This is the fourth book in the Game Changers series. It can be read as a stand-alone, though a lot of the characters from the previous books in the series show up or have a mention and you'll get the most from those little interactions if you've read the previous books. Spoilers for the first book in the series, Game Changer, and Scott and Kip (the leads of book 1) play a big role as the best friends of both leads for this book. I haven't read Game Changer (yet - clearly I NEED TO) and was able to pick up on anything missed through the background given in this book, so it's not require reading to enjoy this one.

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I wasn't a big fan of the age difference, almost 20 years is a bit much, but Eric and Kyle had great chemistry together, their relationship was balanced, and the sex was really hot. The power dynamics and the edging were incredible.
What's more, now I want to read the rest of the books, I really liked all the characters.

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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.

This review has been uploaded to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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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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