Included as a top pick in bimonthly September New Releases post, which highlights and promotes upcoming releases of the month (link attached).
I’ve enjoyed the Game Changers series, and while book two is still my favorite, Common Goal was a great addition to the series and definitely worth the read.
Opposites attract is a perennial favorite trope of mine and I really liked how Kyle and Eric complimented and contrasted with each other in Common Goal. Kyle’s flirty, suggestive side was just enough to be entertaining and offer a bright counterpoint to Eric’s normally quiet, pensive approach. Even better, both characters were multi-layered and I enjoyed getting to see all their sides as the book progressed and they grew comfortable with one another. I also liked the approach to Eric’s bi-awakening and the way he (and Kyle) explored his sexual identity. The pace was measured, enough interest and chemistry between Eric and Kyle to hook me but slow enough to allow the emotions time to build as the story progressed. There was a bit of the dreaded lack of communication as the main source of conflict and tension between Kyle and Eric. Although the reasoning for both characters’ hesitation was noted and believable, it’s a pet peeve of mine that always dulls the shine of a romance for me. Happily, Kyle and Eric finally hashed it out and I did enjoy the resolution quite a bit. As with the other books in the series, Common Goal has great heat with good physical chemistry between the men. For those like me who want their sports romance to include the sport on page, Common Goal has a good amount of hockey in it, picking up on the quirky personalities of goalies and the comradery among teammates.
Overall, I really liked that both Eric and Kyle were original and I thought they had a good chemistry. While I wished there had been more open communication between them over the course of the story, Common Goal is a good bi-awakening hockey romance with polished writing I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Common Goal features Eric Bennett and Kyle Swift, characters that both appeared in book one of the series, Game Changer. Eric is a 41 year old goaltender who is recently divorced and finally ready to further explore his bisexuality. Kyle is a 25 year old bartender at Kingfisher (the bar Kip works at and Scott likes going to) and a student earning his masters in art history. After bonding over a shared love of art, they realize there is a spark between them and Kyle offers to be Eric's teacher as he navigates the new to him work of dating men.
A classic case of friends with benefits turning into "whoops, I caught feelings." This book was sweet and incredibly sexy. The way they talk about and ensure consent (go Kyle!) is *chefs kiss* brilliant and shows that it can be a sexy and empowering part of intimacy. The chemistry and connection between the two is clearly evident throughout the book, despite both of them trying to deny that there is anything more between them than some friendship and a few good times.
Overall, while it doesn't beat Ilya and Shane in Heated Rivalry (can anything?), this was an enjoyable continuation of the series. I also loved the glimpses of Ilya and Shane that we got in this book and was thrilled when I saw that book 6 will be another book focused on them. Can't wait!
Eric and Kyle have to navigate a number of obstacles -- some small (Eric still wears his wedding ring), some more hazardous (how to take the next step from friends with benefits), but mostly this is a hot, fun hockey story, with cameos from all the stars of the previous books.
It's another age difference story (Eric's 41 to Kyle's 25), which appear to be on trend at the minute. To be honest, I am ready to move on from this trope. But it's a valid concern on both their parts. Can Kyle be happy with staid, healthy disciplined Eric? Will Eric ever see Kyle as more than a 'kid'?
I liked the bits about Art, and Kylie's frustration with the bar where he works. These elements fit in nicely around all the sexy times, the hockey games and the angst about growing feelings.
The conclusion is epic. Highly satisfying. If you have been on the journey so far with Rachel Reid, you'll want to keep going.
Thanks Carina Press and Netgalley for advanced copy. Comes out on September 26. Bring on the next one.
🏒Ice at work & a newly-discovered taste for 🔥fire after hours
This was my first time reading a Rachel Reid MM sports romance and I was pretty impressed. Especially with the character she created in veteran goalie Eric. Eric just does not resemble the hockey player stereotype and that's why he was so appealing to me.
Eric explores his long disguised attraction for men with Kyle, a much younger student/bartender who's had some disheartening experiences with older men but still gravitates to Eric. This story has frequent and detailed steamy scenes, including some experimenting with restraints. Despite the way the guys open up to each other sexually, they have real difficulty talking with each other about their true emotions which leads to rocky patches.
In addition to Eric's insecurity about seeing a much younger man, Eric's facing the end of his career on the ice as his age and injuries are catching up to him despite his healthy lifestyle. I really found this part of the story touching.
I thought the writing was good, the plot compelling and the romance sizzlin'🔥. I can see myself reading other books in the series, but this story is a standalone; no cliffhanger in sight.
Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
I generally avoid books with a larger than I'm comfortable with age gap, but I'm glad I picked this one up. Eric and Kyle were really sweet together and I loved how they each learned something from the other. I've really been enjoying Rachel Reid books and I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Spicy, steamy, and romantic!
Common Goal is a passionate, lighthearted, sports romance featuring the playful, outgoing Kyle, who is adamant about keeping things casual but more than happy to help a mature, sexy, hockey player explore his attraction to men, and the sweet, thoughtful Eric, who is ready for something more but definitely not with someone fifteen years his junior.
The writing is sultry and sincere. The characters are insecure, charming, and appealing. And the plot is a tantalizing mix of palpable attraction, unquenchable lust, sizzling chemistry, friendship, temptation, desire, drama, sexy times, and hockey.
Overall, Common Goal is a fervent, tender, seductive treat by Reid that is another wonderful addition to what is ultimately turning out to be an absolutely fantastic Game Changers series.
Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team
Sarah – ☆☆☆☆
I love Rachel Reid’s hockey romances and I really love a friends-with-benefits storyline. This book offers both – and I fell hard for both Eric and Kyle.
At the end of his NHL career, Eric has been in the background of this series for a while. I love the contrast between his reputation on the ice and his vulnerability off the ice. The uncertainty he faces on the verge of retirement feels real and very raw. The age gap works between him and the younger Kyle because in many ways, Kyle has so much more life experience. The two men balance each other and they take care of each other.
This is a high heat read – with a little bit of kink. For a hockey romance, there’s not a whole lot of bling or flash – though Eric’s house is pure property porn – and the connection between Kyle and Eric builds quietly. Rachel Reid writes great romance and this one gave me all the good feels.
Erica – ☆☆☆☆
Common Goal is the fourth installment in the Game Changers series. While it could most definitely be read as a standalone with little to no confusion, there are cameos and continuing interactions with past narrators, as well as the introduction to the two narrators in this novel during past installments. I don't believe there would be more of an emotional impact in reading the series versus this as a standalone when it comes to this couple in question.
Hockey. Bisexual. Age-gap. Slight BDSM bedroom sports.
Goalie Eric is newly divorced. Lonely, despite the camaraderie of an entire team having his back, because as the goalie he sets himself apart, but mostly because he's one of the oldest members of the team, one who doesn't drink and is a vegetarian, along with one who doesn't have a string of flings to add to the locker room banter. Mostly, it's Eric himself who creates this divide, failing to see how badly his teammates want to interact with him.
We previously met Kyle, the friend and bartender coworker who has an unrequited crush on Kip. He's still nursing a broken heart because Kip is madly in love with Scott, while trying to ignore his feeling in favor of a close platonic relationship.
On the relationship front, both Eric and Kyle have hang-ups on what the other represents. Kyle is into older men but has been burnt badly because of it, while Eric thinks himself an octogenarian and Kyle a child.
Age was the focus, but this portion was a major con for me, aside from the teammates’ jokes that had me busting a gut. Eric is stuck on his age, which became annoying for this 42 year-old to read, how I am ancient and decrepit and should just crawl into a grave and wait for the Grim Reaper to claim me.
All said in jest on my part, but it did get annoying coming from Eric's nonstop inner monologue about his ancientness. I understood it from a professional athlete standpoint, and the jokes made at his expense were really funny, as well as simply said because they were actually calling Eric out, not because they felt he was old. I understand this was a hang-up for Eric, but it was like beating a dead horse then dragging it through hundreds of pages. A handful of times, we'd get the picture. After that, it just became overkill and slightly insulting to anyone older than 40 reading the novel, borrowing some of Eric's self-loathing over his age.
The team camaraderie was most excellent, especially how Eric's teammates tried so hard to include him in everything. I experienced a ton of feels during those moments. The warm and fuzzy and the humorous, especially from Ilya. The fact that after all this time, I immediately read Ilya with an accent added to the humorous bent. Ilya, now he's a fan favorite, every cameo turning into a scene-stealer.
The intellectual and art outside interests connected Eric and Kyle, bridging the gap in their ages until it wasn't a big deal for this reader, as well as when they were in each other's orbit. I understood why Kyle was seen younger than he was. Almost 26, the fact that he was still in college made him appear more 17-21 than half a decade older. Then there was Eric, who behaved and hated himself as if he were on death's door, when he was still in his prime. These issues made the age-gap wider than it truly was.
The romance was overshadowed by the angst dealing with the age-gap, especially since it was obvious how Kyle emotionally distanced himself from Eric the entire time due to his past trauma with an older man. This took the warmness out of the romance, detaching their connection for the sake of angst, removing the feels for me.
Bi-discovery, that was insanely hot and silly and awkward and endearing. Kyle acted older in this regard, while Eric was sexually stunted after twenty years of marriage to a woman he wasn't feeling a spark toward. Thankfully, the ex wasn't shown as a villain or in a bad light. But it was most definitely authentically and realistically written.
I will say, it was a struggle for me, because the role reversal was at odds with their personalities. I am a sucker for power-exchange, and I understand all the facets of it, but there were a few personality traits missing from their everyday lives to extend into the bedroom for the believably factor. This isn't in regards to Eric.
Kyle acted mature only in the bedroom or during art discussions with Eric, yet silly and childish for large portions of the novel, where Kyle and Kip took on distinctly teenager-ish, effeminate personalities, yet acted like grown men at other times. The flip-flop of personalities traits was a struggle for me, a struggle to grasp who these men truly were and what was an act. I understand that they are young, but it came across as more high school than college graduates on the cusp of the paths they'd take for the rest of their lives.
All in all, the series as a whole has been beyond entertaining, the gamut of emotions. I most certainly recommend Common Goal, the Game Changers series, and Rachel Reid to fans of the MM romance genre, particularly the sports subgenre.
Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the fourth book in the series – it also ties in with book one, where Kyle worked with Kip in the bar, and Eric was a friend and teammate of Scott. That said, you could read it as a standalone and still enjoy it for sure.
Eric is nearing the end of his hockey career. He is thinking about the future and how his life will be. He loves art and has been collecting it and filling his large house with it for years. When he finds that Kyle also loves art, he has to accept that there is more to the 'young' man than he had given him credit. Whilst Eric is worrying about being too old and too new at realising his interest in Kyle, he really would like to examine his attraction and learn about how to pursue a man. Kyle is unexpectedly reluctant, as there is clearly a connection between them. We learn why eventually – these two guys really need to speak more and rely on their internal voice less!
I enjoyed catching up with other characters from previous books and chuckling at the fun they bring to this story. I found the pace and the relationship did work in the context of these two guys – and look forward to seeing them in future installments.
Veronica – ☆☆☆☆
Eric is 41-years-old and playing what will be his last year of professional hockey. Recently divorced, he is a pretty reserved kind of a guy, he doesn’t drink, is into clean eating and taking care of his body, and he loves art. So his best mate steers him in the direction of 25-year-old Kyle, a bartender who is studying art history, thinking they could be friends.
Eric and Kyle are attracted to each other but in the beginning, different assumptions, including Kyle’s assumption that Eric is married and straight. When Eric confirms he is bisexual, Kyle offers to help Eric get out in the dating scene, but it is clear that the only person Eric is interested in is Kyle.
These two are off-the-charts hot in bed and Kyle takes the lead, broadening Eric’s horizons. Their age difference isn’t even a consideration when they are burning up the sheets. The problems arise when they leave the bedroom and their brains get in the way. The thing is, when they stop thinking so much out of the bedroom, they have a great time together. And I had a great time right along with them but I could understand, at least initially, Eric’s concerns.
I’m not a fan of romances with large age-gaps but I have to say, I was won over by this story. Their age-gap is a big deal for Eric and it stands in the way of him finding happiness with a guy that is clearly perfect for him. That is when I realised the age-gap just doesn’t matter, their happiness is more important.
I adored reading Common Goal and I feel like this story has opened me up to reading a whole new sub-genre of romance novels I would usually avoid. Just thinking about this story now is making me smile. Common Goal gets four happy stars from me.
I will be forever grateful a friend recommended this author’s stories to me. They are quite simply perfect!! No unnecessary drama. Just heartfelt explorations of love & sexuality.
Eric & Kyle are beautifully written characters who made me laugh, cry and squirm. Their banter, their connection & their chemistry were very genuine. Fantastic supporting characters made this a really rich read. I would describe this authors work as a hug in a book. I always finish with a big smile on my face. Definitely recommend this story.
Kyle and Eric are such perfect romance characters. Dealing with an unrequited crush, a new chapter in an athlete's life and a recognition of ones true self. I loved checking in with old characters and all the side characters that make these stories so very real with a multitude of fleshed out people that a reader can feel like they know. I hope there are more books in the Game Changer series. I don’t think there could ever be enough.
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Common Goal by Rachel Reid is the fourth book in her hockey series Game Changers. It is a MM romance and can be read as a stand-alone, characters from the other books in the series appear, but there is no sense of having missed something. Goalie Eric Bennett is 41 years old and feeling that this will be his last season. His marriage ended a couple of years ago, and he’s re-thinking his sexuality because of his attraction to graduate student/ bartender Kyle Swift who’s close friends with the fiancé of a team member. He’s concerned that Kyle, at age 26, is much too young for him, but there is no one else who attracts him the way Kyle does. Kyle thinks Eric is everything he wants in a lover, but he’s been burned before and the mixed signals he’s getting from Eric have him on edge. This is a slow burn friends to lovers story, so slow burn that at one point I wanted to shout kiss him already but managed to contain myself. I enjoyed the story and do recommend reading it. Steam Level: Medium. Publishing Date: September 21, 2020. #CommonGoal #RachelReid #CarinaPress #HarlequinRomance #NetGalley #MMRomance #HockeyRomance #ContemporaryRomance #Bookstagram #Bookstagrammer
Common goal by Rachel Reid. This is a standalone book in the series. M/M romance. Older man/Younger guy. Very slow start. Very slow burn. Not the best for me compared to the other books. But it's always good to see the other characters pop in. There are a lot of Heat as expected. That at least made it a bit better.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley. The opinions here are all mine.
I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
Common Goal follows Eric Bennett, a veteran goaltender for the New York Admirals, as he develops a friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger, graduate student Kyle. As time goes on, their relashionship starts getting more and more complicated as they develop real feelings for each other.
Heated Rivalry was a M/M romance that I read and loved back in January of this year and so, I've been reading the other books in this series. And while none of the ones I've read where as good as the second one, they are really enjoyable reads. And this one was exactly that.
I didn't love the characters, but I did enjoy their relashionship. The smut was great. It was a really quick read. And while I probably won't re-read it, I did apreciate my time reading this.
Recommend; For readers that enjoy MM sport romances and age gaps.
Blurb: Eric Bennett has always put hockey first. But after his divorce he's wondering if maybe it's time to explore his hidden desires. The best person to do that with is the much younger man, Kyle. He's a friend of a friend and he's out-and-proud; he can definitely ease Eric into his self-discovery. But when these two men get closer both will have to decide if this is just a friends with benefits or arrangment or this is the real deal.
Opinion: This is a slow burn romance as these characters get comfortable with each other. Honestly I am a big fan of Rachel Reid but I felt that this one didn't grab my attention as much as her other novels. It seemed to drag on in certain aspects and I was ready to get on with the romance! You cannot argue that these two men have a connection but there was a lot of tension over the age gap between them. I really didn't like how they handled their issues. I just wish people would communicate more then letting things fester.
Overall it was a so-so romance!
I received an advanced copy from netgalley for an honesty review.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of Common Goal!
I am SO excited about this book!
It was romantic, it was really really sexy and it was so funny!
I had the banter I love, I had pining... Honestly, Rachel Reid gave me all I needed in this one.
Absolute fantastic fourth installment in the series and I am BEYOND happy that Kyle finally found someone. Also Eric of course. Both incredibly precious.
If you are wondering whether or not you should read this book: The answer is yes. Read it. Read 1-3 beforehand. Swoon. Squirm. Salivate. YOU DESERVE IT.
Really well written and honest book. I loved how the sex scenes actively pushed the plot forward in a way that so many don't. The emotion and the way both main characters had revelations and discoveries that they had to interrogate later was wonderful and masterful. Overall an excellent book, I appreciated the references to previous books and loved the interplay between sport and student.
As much as me and my scattered brain can say "I couldn't put this book down," I couldn't put this book down. I was just so in love with Eric and Kyle's story and so invested in their happiness right from the beginning.
This is the fourth book in a series and while I haven't read any of the prior books, I didn't feel lost in this story at all. So, I can definitely say it can be read as a standalone. Though, of course I wanna go back and read all the books cause I need to know more about the other couples. Of course!
Eric is older and on the verge of retiring from hockey. Kyle is young and still in school and so vibrant. Eric has always been bi, but since he spent most of his time on the NHL married, he never felt the need to explore this or to announce it. Now, fresh from a divorce and at a turning point in his life, he's ready to make a change. He's ready to see what's out there. But, also, he's kinda scared cause it's a whole different world for him. This is where Kyle comes in. He's young and playful and basically volunteers to teach Eric anything he might need to know about being with a man.
I loved watching Eric's tentativeness, and Kyle's assertiveness as they explored this relationship. I loved watching them form a bond by their shared interests beyond the bedroom. I just loved them together so freaking much!! There is a bit of missed communication because neither thinks there's any way they could be what the other would want but, I'm so happy that even if they took a bit of time to get there, they did make to their HEA.
Now, I'm ready to jump back into all the prior books in this series!!
Thank you NetGalley for the Arc!
Yes yes yes!!! one of my favorite romance authors of all time. I am not a hockey fan in real life but whenever I read a book by Rachel Reid I am hockey's number one fan.
The romance amazing just like I expected it would be I was not let down and I have no regrets.
I was hooked almost from page one as I love Ms. Reid's hockey romances and her latest in the series was amazing! This is book 4 and even though it can be read as a stand-alone, I urge you to read the whole series as the players do pop in and out of the books. Common Goal has been my favorite hands down.
My only pet peeve was making Eric, the veteran goalie sound like a geriatric at the ripe old age of 40! I know that is old by the sports standard but based on his description he is fit and gorgeous. Maybe calling him the old man made me feel ancient, LOL. Eric is divorced and deciding it's time to fully explore his true sexuality as he is deeply attracted to a cute bartender in his twenties. Kyle finds older men his catnip and Eric not only pushes all the right buttons but has a profound interest in art which makes him irresistible to Kyle. They share a passion for paintings and try to navigate around the intense feelings they can't deny.
Eric is just so darn likable, even with all of his idiosyncrasies. He is a sweet man that has never let his guard down which is probably why he is such an outstanding goalie. Eric has not lived life to the fullest and has never been driven in a pursuit of a satisfying personal life. Becoming friends with Kyle has him in a glorious tailspin.
Klye just exudes life and at 25 is full of vigor and wonder. Eric is simply captivated by him. Klye has a secret he shares with Eric that has haunted him since he was 18. He feels his shameful past will always be a weight to bare. Kyle is so much more than the mistake he made but it continues to undermine his self confidence. Eric truly cares for Kyle, but can he see past the 15 year age gap and realize what they have can never be replicated? This is a love story filled with miscommunications, self-doubt and ultimately discovery of what really matters. I absolutely urge you to read this romantic book filled with passion and promises. Happy Reading! Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this copy for my reading pleasure.
I thought this story was very cute. While age gap stories aren't usually my favorite, I didn't mind this one. I would have liked it better if I wasn't constantly reminded that there WAS an age gap. With all of Rachel Reid's books, the steam and romance was great, she does a great job writing scenes that are intimate. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Scott and Kip, and the few scenes with Ilya made me smile. Overall, I found this one to be really cute.