Ice Devils (Bethesda Barracudas Hockey, Book 5)
By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood
Narrated by Nick J. Russo
Version: Unabridged Audio – Length: 6 hours 31 minutes
Whispersync – Voice Enabled
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex – Pairing: Male/Male
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Gay Romance, Sports Romance
Tropes: Hockey, Jock/Jock, Enemies-to-Lovers, Closeted MC, Teammates, Low-angst, Out-for-You,
I have enjoyed each of the books in the Bethesda Barracuda’s Hockey series and Ice Devils is no exception. An enemies to lovers story, except these guys, Mark Sakamoto and Blake Conti aren’t truly enemies, though they do at first appear to hate each other. But as they say, there is a fine line between love and hate, there’s also a fine line between scared and brave, and Mark is scared of how Blake makes him feel and not brave enough to do something about it, hence the animosity between them.
The snark between Mark and Blake is full-on to start with, but when one of them comes across the other playing a prank things start to change. OMG these two and their pranks had me in stitches, I couldn’t stop laughing, at times barely able to breathe just imagining the chaos ensuing. Yes, they were childish, but they were so funny, and gained them the name Ice Devils, though no one is entirely sure who is behind everything to start with. One prank involving sticky tape just about had me dying from laughing so much.
I really loved that these two tried to take their time to get to know each other properly before jumping straight into bed, but when they did the chemistry was hot. I liked that for the most part they communicated well and both listened to what the other had to say, the one time conclusions were drawn and things nearly fell apart was resolved fairly quickly which was good, because I’m a low angst reader and hate misunderstandings being dragged out when talking and listening would fix the problem.
I enjoyed catching up with the rest of the guys from the Barracudas and their partners, I enjoy seeing the side characters and how they are getting along down the track.
Mark and Blake made a great couple, their relationship involved some risks, but then, anything good is worth taking a chance on and these two didn’t disappoint.
Skating the line between love and hate.
When winger Blake Conti signs with the national champion Bethesda Barracudas, he isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Still bruised from an old relationship, his focus is on playing hockey. But when one of his new teammates turns out to be the hottest man he’s ever met, Blake wonders if he should reconsider his aversion to romance.
Mark Sakamoto—Sako—one of the Barracudas’ rising young stars, is immediately smitten with Blake. Deeply closeted because he fears revealing his sexuality to his family, Sako resists his attraction by using scorn and insults to push Blake away. Hurt by Sako’s behaviour, Blake reacts in kind, and the two men are soon at war.
Just as their fighting threatens to disrupt the team, the unexpected happens, and Sako and Blake bond over a silly prank. Their newfound camaraderie soon develops into a relationship, and the men become inseparable. With “ice in public, heat in private” as their motto, they keep things secret, but as they fall for each other, Sako knows he has to tell his family the truth. He dreads their reaction, but it’s the only way he and Blake can live happily ever after.
Ice Devils is a low-angst, enemies-to-lovers romance featuring scorching athletes, light-hearted comedy, riveting hockey, sweet-steamy romance, and a beautiful HEA.
We won the game 5– 3, a triumph because we hadn’t beaten Seattle for more than a year. Our victory playlist was already blasting through the speakers when we reached the locker room, and we took time to savour the win. The guys made a big deal about my goal, which put a huge grin on my face. I’d signed with the Barracudas the previous summer as a free agent, and tonight’s was certainly my most impressive goal of the season.
A reporter asked for an interview, and when we finished, I turned to go to my stall. Sako stood in my way with his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face. “Good goal,” he mumbled. Sounds of celebration filled the background while an awkward moment ticked by. “Score a few more like that, and you might convince me you know how to play hockey.”
“Get real. I hope you were watching. You might up your game to a professional level.”
He dropped his arms and stepped forward, too close for comfort, causing me to move back. I’ll be damned if he didn’t inch nearer until we were nose-to-nose. A shudder ran up my spine as his musk surrounded me.
“Oh yeah?” He curled his lips into the half-grin, half-sneer that had taunted me all year. “Conti, I played better than you when I was in juniors.”
While I tried in vain to come up with a smart retort, he called Nick’s name and walked away.
Bitterness washed over me as I wondered again why he hated me so much. I’d never had trouble getting along with people, but arrogant Sakoshit had taken an instant dislike to me the minute we met. Somehow, he knew exactly how to push my buttons. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to push his too, and our interactions quickly disintegrated into a series of snarky comments, glowers, and petty arguments. We both gave as good as we got, and I came to enjoy pissing him off. If he was going to be an asshole, it seemed like I was determined to be a bigger one.
ICE DEVILS. Copyright © 2022 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.
(Runs 5/31 – 6/13)
About the Authors:
Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. Ryan also enjoys swimming, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. They began writing to celebrate the romance they were so lucky to find with each other, and the sharing soon developed into a passion for telling stories about love between out and proud men.
You can contact Ryan and Josh through their website
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