Guest Review: Love of The Game by Phetra H. Novak

Johannes is starting his new life as a rookie in the best hockey league in the world, the NHL. His new home for the next four years is Montreal, Canada, and he's excited to get to his destination when a storm arrives, stranding him in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.

In the Airport VIP lounge, he tries to amuse himself the best he can. He's nursing a lukewarm beer, and about to head back to join his parents at their table, when the most gorgeous man he's ever seen, with piercing green eyes, buys him a drink. He swears he has never been so instantly turned on as he is in that moment. The man flirts openly with him, making no secret of what he wants from Johannes as he invites him to meet in private. Not being out only makes Johannes hesitate for a moment before accepting the beautiful stranger's come-on.

Charlie, a cocky and opinionated, ex-submissive and reporter is leaving Paris after being on vacation when the studly jock just happens to appear out of nowhere - served on a silver platter. Charlie sees no reason to deny himself a last rendezvous before he gets on his plane back to Canada.

What he doesn't expect is this stranger to see the real him. Charlie's normal plan of attack is to take charge. But when it backfires, and the studly stranger not only takes control but makes him want more, Charlie does the only thing he feel comfortable doing. He runs!

Reviewer - Lost in a Book

“Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by underage readers…”
Is it wrong that I got really excited when I saw that as part of the warning before reading the book? On top of that, the synopsis discusses hockey AND being a submissive?

I thought I died and went to bookgasm heaven. Sports Romance? Absolutely! BDSM? Little cherry for the Master on top! Except…not so much. If you’re choosing this book because you are hoping both themes will be prevalent, you’ll surely be disappointed. There is only one hockey game discussed throughout this entire book (and not in a look at that hot hockey player way) *sigh* The main BDSM elements that are discussed throughout the book are in relation to them being friends with someone in the “lifestyle” and their mannerisms and relationship. *double disappointed sigh* There is one BDSM “lite” scene with one of Johannes’ teammates. *gasp* Don’t worry, it’s just a spanking lesson. Literally. A. Spanking. Lesson.

So what do we have here? Johannes is a hockey player that is heading to Canada to become a player for the NHL. He has watched some BDSM videos on the internet and tried some of the lighter stuff on his ex with whom he is still friends. While heading to Canada, he had a layover in Paris and meets Charlie. Charlie is all Mr. In Control during the meet with “Hannes” aka Mr. Studly and they take advantage of the layover in the airport bathroom. During this *ahem* layover, Charlie found his inner peacock…

"This is not how this goes. I don’t bottom, ever. In any way. My Show. My Way."

Fast forward 8 weeks and Charlie is asked to report on the Hockey team and more specifically, a profile on Johannes. This is the start of a beautiful nice crazy journey where Charlie runs away from everyone including his true thoughts and feelings while Johannes pursues and tries to get him to see reason. Charlie has a list of issues. He was left confused, depressed, and doesn’t trust himself or others thanks to the abuse from his previous “Master” who was serving jail time.

"So, all in all, maybe he wanted more, but with a malfunctioning relationship GPS, he had no way of finding it.”

“He’d permanently broken a part of him that he, as a young man, had cherished, when serving a Master had been something that made him feel good about himself. After Jacques, that part of him was gone, the trust broken forever. He feared he could no longer see the good or bad in people. He didn’t trust his instincts anymore.”

All of this paved the way for Charlie’s journey of self-discovery and learning to trust himself and others. It’s a lonnnnng ass journey! Charlie annoyed me Ya’ll!! Sometimes while reading I thought I accidentally chose a het book because the female is usually so freakin’ whiney and doubts everything and changes her mind constantly. But… it wasn’t a girl… It was Mr. Whiney McWhinerson. It wasn’t until 70% that Charlie finally decided that he wasn’t going to let the past define him. RIGHT after that, he said he didn’t want a relationship.

Even his best friend agrees with me…

"He can nag a subject to the point there are mere crumbs left and still go on and on."



Anywhoo, Charlie’s ex is a recurring theme throughout to where you just know that whole situation will come to a head. And boy oh boy did it come to a head. Or…

There were some sexy times. Twice in the beginning (not mutual gratification each time) and then it was like a desert until around 75%. The sex had some heat to it which helped break up the drama. The MCs had decent chemistry. I gotta say that the scene Johannes had with his teammate during the spanking lesson was Hawwwwttt.

This book was just alright. There were a few editing issues but nothing too serious. There needs to be a trigger warning for a graphic attempted rape scene. The conversations weren’t natural which make me believe that English is a second or third language for the author. This book is super dialogue heavy. It’s a long read that reads lonnnnng. You feel every page and I’m not talking emotionally. At times, it became exhausting. There were little moments throughout that redeemed the monotony. IMHO half of Charlie’s POV could have been cut without the story being compromised; much of it is repetitive.

Love of The Game was definitely a journey where each MC learned a lot.

"two consenting adults loving each other and giving each other what they needed. It wasn’t about taking anything away but about giving someone everything, ultimately your trust.”

At 90%…“You know what this means, right?” 
“No, what?” 
“We’re in a relationship now, and you’re my boyfriend.”

A review copy was provided.

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