Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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4.5 stars/Best of 2020

O. M. G.
(There will be NO spoilers in this review. Just gushing.)

As much as I love LOVE love Heated Rivalry (definitely in my top five sports romances of all time), the Game Changers series has been a bit of a mixed bag. I wasn't crazy about Game Changer - and almost didn't read Heated Rivalry because of it, and Tough Guy was enjoyable but a bit too slow and talk-y. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Common Goal. Friends, it's terrific and almost as good as Heated Rivalry. I'm still #ShaneLovesIlyaforever...but Eric and Kyle are coming in HOT.

Eric Bennett is 41 years old and he never forgets it - not on the ice, not in the locker room with his much younger teammates, not at home, and not when he's admiring a much younger man he can't seem to resist staring at (lusting over). Eric knows retirement is just around the corner and just the thought of life after hockey makes him sad. He loves his sport and his teammates (the fictional NY Admirals), but he's lonely. Although his divorce a year ago was mostly painless, facing retirement with no one to share it with stings. He's ready to finally start dating again, and this time, he’s determined to date a man. Unfortunately, the one he has his eyes on has his eyes on someone else. Besides, he's much too young for Eric anyway. Ahem.

When Kyle Swift moved to NYC, his wealthy parents couldn't get him out of their small Vermont hometown fast enough. A scandalous affair with a much older man threatened to ruin their carefully cultivated reputation, and they jettisoned Kyle with barely a backwards glance. Fortunately, their largesse (guilt money) provided Kyle with a comfortable apartment, tuition, and the ability to live without worrying about making ends meet. When Common Goal begins, he's part way through a masters in Ancient History at Columbia University, and works alongside Kip Grady (Game Changer; Scott Hunter's fiance) - whom he not-so-secretly pines after. He knows there's no hope of a relationship with Kip, and he's determined to get over him. But bartending at Kip's engagement party with a room full of handsome, sexy, STRAIGHT hockey players probably isn't the best way to do it.

When Eric spots Kyle working the bar at Kip's engagement party, he can't help feeling a secret thrill. Kyle is hot, and he likes to flirt. Eric thinks there might be a mutual interest, but he isn’t sure how or what to do about it. Besides, Kyle seems to flirt with every man he meets. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to keep him off his mind, and learning that they have a shared interest in art and history only intensifies his attraction to the other man. But after finding ways increasingly creative ways to spend time with Kyle, it soon becomes clear that Kyle doesn’t feel the same about him.

Yeah, right. Kyle is interested in Eric. If Kyle had one weakness—and he didn’t; he had many—it was confident, attractive older men. Also, confident, attractive younger men. Also, men. But when he spots him wearing a wedding ring, he reminds himself to keep his distance. He has a history of chasing after the wrong kinds of men, and he doesn’t plan to add Eric to his list of mistakes.

Oh friends, Ms. Reid does such a lovely job setting up these two lonely, wonderful men. Kyle eventually discovers Eric isn’t married, and then Eric confesses he’s bisexual, and...well, I’m not going to tell you. Suffice it to say, Eric is desperately attracted to Kyle, and way out of his depth navigating gay dating. When Kyle offers to help him in the bedroom and out of it, their “friendship” becomes something bigger and better than either man expected.

Common Goal is fun, funny and totally sexy. Eric and Kyle make a lovely couple, and their physical attraction to each other is off the charts. I loved every moment we get to spend with them, and it’s such a treat to watch them fall in love. Ms. Reid imbues each of their interactions with small kindnesses, vulnerability, laughter, and just terrific chemistry. Both men are supremely well characterized. Eric, one of the best NHL goalies for eighteen years, struggles to reconcile the end of one life with the beginning of another. He’s up for the challenge, but the confidence and skills he brought to the ice can’t help him navigate what it feels like to fall passionately, wildly in love with someone he doesn’t think is “right” for him. He doesn’t like the loss of control or the age difference between him and Kyle, and he tries (in vain) to resist his feelings for him. Meanwhile, Kyle has been so far unlucky in love. He knows what he wants (a hot older man JUST LIKE ERIC), but doesn’t believe someone as mature, successful and amazing as Eric could want a person with his past. Their age difference only increases Kyle's desire for Eric, but the closer he grows to him, the more he knows he can’t teach Eric to be gay for someone else. Le sigh.

While I definitely think the best parts of this novel are the ones with Eric and Kyle falling in love with each other, the cameos from Scott, Kip, Ilya and Shane are equally awesome. Ilya is THE BEST character in the series, and when he shows up at Kingfisher’s (the bar where Kip and Kyle work) and orders a Scott Hunter for himself and a virgin Scott Hunter for Eric...well, it’s priceless. He has no filter, is totally on to Eric right from the get-go, and loves to give Scott shit. OMG. I love him. The secondary characters and old man jokes are the best.

This book is SO great.

Why not five stars then? It’s too short! Look, I love a great epilogue (I DO!), but this book needed at least one more chapter. Eric and Kyle finally get together...and then the book ends. I needed more dates, and more loved-up scenes. These two are brilliant together, and I just wish there was more. OF EVERYTHING.

Sexy, funny, romantic. One of the best romances of the year. Get it.
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Having read the three previous books in the Game Changers series, this book fits right in with those--it's more charming, sexy idiots fall in love in an utterly satisfying way. Although it's fun to see returning characters, including the romantic couple, from other books in the series, if someone jumped straight into this, I still think they would be able to enjoy it. I'm already excited to know that there are at least two more books to come in this series. I'll definitely be buying this for myself and my library.
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I love this series so much! Devoured like comfort food in winter. To be honest,  I wasn't too fond of Tough Guy, but Common Goal had me laughing out loud and feeling lots of feelings. Cameos by our favourites were also particularly fabulous!

Common goal was enjoyable and fun. This series can pretty much go on forever and I'll be alright with that! 

Great read! Looking forward to more of these, especially the future installment with Shane and Ilya at the helm.

I'd like to thank Carina Press and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I truly love this series and the next installment did not disappointment I would recommend if you're looking for 

-a hockey sports romance
-friends to lovers m/m romance
-age gap
-a slow burn that pays off with plenty of steam
-glimpses of the characters we love from the previous books
-fun mocktails
-some fake dating and flirting

Kyle and Eric both had to deal with their pasts in order to admit their feelings for each other.  A bit more of a slow burn than the other books in the series (I would read in order to get the most but they are interconnected standalones) but the steam is there in the second half.  Another fun, sexy hockey romance.  Can't wait for the next book!

Rating: 4 stars
Steam: 5 stars

Trigger warnings: homophobia
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I was approved for an ARC on Netgalley and finished the book hours later! I really enjoyed the book, and I loved checking in with characters from the previous books. Basically every time Eric and Ilya interacted, and I had to stop and take a moment. Eric and Kyle are also great together. There were obstacles towards their relationship, but it was overall low stakes in a way that was nice given the *gestures wildly* not low stakes nature of the rest of the world. It also introduced one of the characters from the next book, and I'm excited for his story!

This is a great book for fans of the first book in the series, Game Changer. The story is satisfying and manages to both stand on its own and support the greater world that's developed in this series. I highly recommend checking out Rachel Reid if you haven't already, especially if hockey romances are your thing!
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Nobody, absolutely nobody creates chemistry like Rachel Reid. Yet another perfect romance from Reid. PERFECT. I devoured this in one sitting. I cannot wait to see what she creates next.
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I loved this book. I had no idea it was part of a series. Luckily, I wasn’t lost in the previous relationships and characters. Kyle, the student/bartender, and Eric, the hockey player, were adorable together. You cannot help cheering them on. I loved how there wasn’t too much drama. My only somewhat complaint was the ending. I wanted more! I want to go back and read the previous books. Overall, I would recommend this book! 


I received the ARC from Netgalley for my honest opinion and review.
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I so love this series, and this newest entry is fun, entertaining, and heartfelt. Eric is a professional hockey goalie in his last season before retirement, who meets a young graduate student/bartender who has always been attracted to older men. But neither Eric or Kyle can trust that whatever is developing between them has a chance of actually lasting, How they finally overcome their differences is a journey worth taking. The added bonus is re-visiting characters from previous books in this great M/M sports romance series.
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Ein weiteres tolles Buch in der Reihe (m/m sports romance)

Die "Game Changers" - Reihe hat sich zusammen mit der "Stick Side" - Reihe von Amy Aislin zu einer meiner Lieblingsreihen mit Liebesromanen entwickelt. Das erste Buch in der Reihe fand ich gut, Bücher zwei bis vier allesamt sehr gut. In jedem Buch der Reihe setzt die Autorin verschiedene Schwerpunkte, wodurch absolut keine Langeweile aufkommt. Toll ist zudem, dass wenn Charaktere aus vorherigen Büchern der Reihe auftauchen, diese nicht wie schlechte Karikaturen wirken, sondern noch genau so, wie man sie kennengelernt hat. 

Die Autorin hat einen einnehmenden Schreibstil, der es einem sehr leicht macht, die Charaktere als echte Personen zu sehen. Dadurch fühle ich beim Leser ihrer Bücher intensive Emotionen und eine gewisse Verbundenheit zu den Charakteren, so war es auch bei "Common Goal".

Inhaltlich geht es um einen professionellen Eishockey-Spieler Anfang 40, der vor dem Ende seiner Karriere steht und sich zudem das erste Mal im Leben so richtig mit seiner Bisexualität auseinandersetzt. Auf der anderen Seite steht ein Mann in den Zwanzigern, der in der Vergangenheit einige unschöne Erfahrungen in seinen Beziehungen gesammelt hat und davor zurückschreckt, erneut eine Beziehung mit einem älteren Mann einzugehen (der Altersunterschied ist nicht zu extrem, keine Angst). 

Die Beziehung der beiden entwickelt sich langsam, was mir sehr gut gefallen hat. Ich habe es genossen beide Männer näher kennenzulernen und zu verstehen, warum sie ihr Leben so leben, wie sie es tun. Charaktere von den vorherigen Büchern tauchen auf, übernehmen aber nicht die Geschichte. Das fand ich sehr gut gelöst. 

Mir hat das Buch von Anfang bis Ende sehr gut gefallen. Wer intensive, unterhaltsame Liebesromane mag, kann bei "Common Goal" zugreifen. Allerdings macht das Buch definitiv mehr Spaß, wenn man die ersten drei Teile der Reihe kennt. 

Bücher fünf und sechs hat die Autorin auf ihrer Seite übrigens schon angekündigt und beide hören sich sehr gut an. Ich werde sie auf jeden Fall lesen.
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Just like the rest of this series, this was really good. I'd previously really liked Kyle and Eric as side characters, and I'm glad that they were just as compelling as main characters and a couple. I look forward to the next book in this series.
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I spent the night with this book and I have absolutely no regrets. 

I have been following this series for a while now, and Common Goal did not disappoing.
This book brings us back to some familiar faces we met during Game Changers - but don't worry if you haven't read that or any other books in the series, the beauty of it is you can absolutely start with this one (or whichever one strikes your fancy). Though I highly recommed you give this series a shot. Unless you hate fun. If you hate sexy, funny, charming, ridiculous boys you should absolutely avoid this series. You've been warned!

Eric "Benny" Bennett is a seasoned goalie, though his teammates would probaly choose a different word. The jerks. The Canadian sweetheart has played plenty of successful seasons for the New York Admirals, some all the way to the Stanley Cup for crying out loud. At 41, Eric is starring down the barrel that is retirement. Instead of being able to look forward to a calmer lifestyle with his wife, after years of drifting apart and finally calling it quits, Eric is now single & lonely. With no idea how to get back into the dating game, and even less so of how to explore the part of his sexuality that he's always ignored, Eric ends up stumbling into an arrangement that just might be more than he bargained for.

25 year old Vermont native Kyle Swift left behind a painful past for the proverbial New York City Fresh Start TM. Scarf & glasses wearing grad student by day, and bartender at a sorry-excuse-for-a gay bar at night - though he has to admit, ever since Scott Hunter, star of the New York Admirals and the first openly gay hockey player in the NHL made the Kingfisher his go to hang out, things have been looking up at work... What with it being frequented by hot professional athletes more often than not. Kyle is no stranger to falling for the wrong men, usually older men that want to use Kyle and his youth and be done with him. It's just his luck that for the first time in basically ever he has feelings for someone his age, it's Scott Hunter's freaking fiancé and Kyles coworker. So after his path crosses with one hot silver fox goalie way too many times, he's desperate for a distraction. Kyle thinks he can just show Eric and thing of two and help him with his confidence - seriously, the man doesn't know how hot he is! Though not even intellectual Kyle could predict just how deep they both would get.

I'm so smitted with this series. Every time I meet a new hockey player character I think to myself "ooooh, I hope the next book is about him!" I have no issues with it going on and on forever.
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This series is just so good! Eric, the goaltender for New York Admiral, is sad, divorced, and trying to break out of his humdrum life. He meets Kyle, from previous books, a young history grad student/bartender, and the two hit it off. What starts as a friendship becomes an exploration of Eric's sexuality as he finally realizes that despite having been in a heterosexual marriage for a long time, he's not as straight as he thought he was. But of course, they can't have a real relationship, despite being perfect for each other, because Eric is an old washed up veteran, and Kyle is too young for him. Right? Wrong!
I really liked this one, plus there were great cameos by my personal favorite, Ilya, and Shane Hollander. The impediment keeping Eric and Kyle apart is believable, and I enjoyed their journey to an HEA.
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I loved (almost) every minute of this m/m romance. The two main characters are genuinely good people and it is so easy to cheer them on. 
On the downside, the conflict did feel slightly forced towards the end with their HEA dangling right in front of them, but I read it coverts-cover within a couple days, so don't let that count against it. Heartily recommend this book.
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I continue to stand by my position that M/M Hockey Romances are the best of the sports romance genre - and Rachel Reid writes some of the very best of those.  This book is one of those.  I have loved the others in the series so much - and this continues the success of the series.  

Eric is the goalie for the New York Admirals.  He is at the end of an 18 year NHL career - which is pretty insane.  Especially for a goalie.  He is recently, amicably divorced - but is having trouble moving on with his life.  Facing the end of his career is harder than he thought it would be.  Eric is all about control and calm - but he has been becoming more and more attracted to Kyle over time.  Kyle is a student and bartender.  He is good friends with Kip - Eric's teammate Scott's fiance.  Kyle has had a serious thing for Kip for a long time - but usually goes for older men.  Kyle has a complicated and turbulent history with older men - and is trying very hard to make "better" choices about who he is with.  

Eric is so sweet and sensitive.  He is very aware of his age - and feels like he is too old for Kyle.  Both of them are a little bit lost - and not quite sure where to go next with their lives.  But the one thing that seems certain is they have an electric connection - both emotionally and physically.  

I loved this story - and especially Eric.  I also loved how open Kyle was and  how much he was able to teach Eric about himself and sex.  Loved it! I can't wait to see where the series goes next.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.
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