An excellent addition to the Portland Storm series, Neutral Zone accurately portrays today’s climate of bigotry while also giving readers a beautifully told love story about two men living their lives by being true to themselves and allowing love in to their hearts. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures
Being stuck in the Neutral Zone is no way to live…
Portland Storm defenseman Cole Paxton never intended to be the poster boy for gay hockey players. Whether intended or not, that’s exactly what he’s become—ever since innocently attempting to deflect the attention away from another teammate during the playoffs. One little admission, and now his private life is making headlines.
Luke Weber would love the chance to bask in Cole’s limelight. After all, he’s never had the pro hockey career he envisioned. If he’d stayed in the closet, maybe that spotlight would have been his. He’ll never know the truth, now that the doors to his dream career have been slammed shut.
With everything out in the open, there’s no denying the attraction they feel for each other. Cole and Luke want to move forward—together. But to do so, they’ll each have to let go of the lives they’d imagined for themselves. Can two strong men relinquish the fantasies of their futures to make their real dreams come true?
Ever since In The Zone, I have wanted Cole (Colsey) Paxton’s story, in fact I’m pretty sure I emailed author Catherine Gayle and asked when she was writing it and she told me she didn’t have plans to but she never says never, well I for one am extremely happy she doesn’t say never because Neutral Zone is Colsey’s book and it is everything I could ask for (ok, so maybe I would have LOVED an epilogue, but I was completely happy with the story) and more.
Cole Paxton never intended to be the poster boy for gay professional hockey players, but while trying to take the heat off a friend, he outs himself and his life hasn’t quite been the same since. Disowned by his wealthy homophobic father and ignored by his mother, Cole is thankful for his teammates who have been there for him even the ones who are sometimes inappropriate and make him want to bash heads. Mainly he just wants to play hockey, finish out his career on a high note and then maybe find someone special to have in his life.
Hockey has been a part of Luke Weber’s life since birth. As the son of a star hockey player and now assistant coach of the Portland Storm, Luke could skate before he could walk. Coming out his senior year of college, Luke hope to pave the way for other athletes especially hockey players to be brave and come out. What he didn’t expect is to be left out in the cold by the NHL, with training camp around the corner Luke feels his opportunity to play hockey professionally slipping from his fingers even when he is encouraged by his brothers-in-law who both play for the Storm, and Cole Paxton the man he has been crushing on for years to practice and keep trying to impress the scouts hanging around.
I loved this book for a number of reasons mainly because it was realistic. Cole and Luke had known OF each other for years, but with an almost 10 year age difference neither one expected a relationship to blossom. Luke had a crush on Cole and even Cole admits to noticing Luke, but it was all pretty innocent until they begin to spend time together working out, playing hockey, and spending time with the guys on the team. Luke’s job dilemma showed that despite being a solid player and having a famous father, whether it was his sexuality or some other reason sometimes dreams don’t come true. Add is a big announcement from a much loved couple, and another player opening his mouth and inserting his foot on Twitter and you have one highly entertaining and emotional story.
My one complaint about Neutral Zone is I felt like this was just the beginning of Cole and Luke’s story in that as their relationship becomes more public there will be more obstacles and fallout. I wanted to see them interact as a couple with the team, with Luke’s family, and even with the Portland Storm fans. I wanted to see their relationship progress both emotionally and physically and I even wanted to see them disagree and work through it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but as often with Ms. Gayle’s work I just wanted more, more, more and I hope we get to see these two again in the future.
An excellent addition to the Portland Storm series, Neutral Zone accurately portrays today’s climate of bigotry while also giving readers a beautifully told love story about two men living their lives by being true to themselves and allowing love in to their hearts.