Title: Crashing the Net
Series: Crashing: Book One
Author: Samantha Wayland
Length: 150 Pages
At a Glance: Crashing the Net is a nice friends-to-lovers novella that is well worth your time if you’re looking for a steamy, fairly short read that will undoubtedly have you falling for Mike and Alexei just like I did.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Mike comes to Moncton wanting nothing more than to play for the Ice Cats and finally live on his own terms. He’s broke, bruised, and covered from head to toe in cheap lube, but he isn’t going to let that stop him. All he needs is a place to live and some time to figure out how to reconcile who he really is with who everyone wants him to be.
Dumping three gallons of lube on the new kid is just another day at the office for Alexei. He knows exactly who he is: a goalie on the ice, a prankster in the locker room, and a man who knows better than to share his private life with anyone. He’s let people in before and it’s taught him that if he can’t have what he really wants, it’s better to be alone.
Despite their apparent differences, an unlikely friendship grows. Neither of them could ever have guessed how much they really have in common.
Review: In Samantha Wayland’s Crashing the Net, the Moncton Ice Cats have a new addition to the team, and the team’s goalie, Alexei Belov, can’t help but want to take him under his wing. Mike is a good player, who definitely knows how to handle himself on the ice, but off the ice is a different story. Alexei notices how vulnerable Mike seems, how lost, and when he finds out that Mike doesn’t have a place to live yet, or any furniture, he takes it upon himself to help get him settled. Over the course of a few months, they spend a lot of time together and grow very close. Initially no lines are crossed, even though they’re both secretly crushing on each other; but one night, as Alexei is comforting Mike after a nightmare, revelations about Mike’s sexuality, and then Alexei’s, lead to a night neither saw coming.
I adored Mike. When he first comes to Moncton, he’s very much under the thumb of his parents and has never received any real, positive support from them. Having been ashamed of who he is and what he wants for most of his life, it’s unbelievably freeing for him to be with Alexei, and a huge part of that freedom has to do with the fact that he can one hundred percent be himself with his friend and teammate. Nothing is off limits, including the very non-vanilla things he wants in bed. And, no one is more surprised than Alexei that Mike seems to want the same things he wants. Alexei wants a submissive in bed and thought that was what he wanted outside of the bedroom too. But he realizes how wrong he was about that once he starts falling for Mike. I loved that light-bulb moment he has when he realizes how ok he is with the fact that Mike will completely submit to him in bed, but then argue with him immediately afterward about what to have for dinner. In fact, he’s happy about it! I love, love, love Alexei. His heart is HUGE, and he treats Mike like gold. I loved this line:
Mike had never thought of himself as sexy. Or beautiful – god, Alexei had just called him beautiful – until now. He felt the sting of tears in his eyes and screwed them shut tighter.
These guys were so swoony together, and their chemistry was Off. The. Charts. Mike may be inexperienced, but his enthusiasm and eagerness to please Alexei (which in turn also gets him what he wants) more than make up for it. However, I do wish the story had been fleshed out more. I would have liked to actually see the growth of their friendship on the page more rather than mainly being told about how they hung out and became best friends. And, though it wasn’t really necessarily essential to the plot, I would have also loved a little more time on the ice, but maybe that’s just me. 😊
My massive love for Wayland’s standalone hockey romance, Home and Away, is what prompted me to want to read her other stuff. And, while this one didn’t quite capture the magic of Rupert and Callum’s story for me, I’m still absolutely glad I read it. Crashing the Net is a nice friends-to-lovers novella that is well worth your time if you’re looking for a steamy, fairly short read that will undoubtedly have you falling for Mike and Alexei just like I did.
You can buy Crashing the Net here:
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