Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work - and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a post-practice convo in Richie's car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected - nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games - and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper's life.
Skipper can't dream of a better family than Richie - but Richie's got real family entanglements he can't shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!
©2015 Amy Lane (P)2017 Dreamspinner Press
Avid reader, reviewer, blogger and budding author.
Nick Russo's narration, of course. Having not read the book, I can't compare the two, but I was completely engaged with this story from the first minute to the last.
It was a different approach for these two supposedly straight guys to become intimate and not question that intimacy. Rather, one questions the validity, if it's just because or if it's something more permanent. And one worries about backlash from his family.
Yes, I have, love his work. This book is as good as any other performances of his I've listened to.
No, there weren't really any laugh out loud or tear jerker moments. It was a fantastic story though and I quite liked it.
I do love friends to lovers and gay for you type stories, and this book qualifies under both of those sub-genres. But then it has the equal balance of angst and emotion I've come to expect from Amy Lane. I will say, this story is somewhat tame compared to the usual intense stories Lane likes to churn out.
Amy Lane LITE! I love it when Amy writes about two guys “just figurin’ stuff out!”. Yes, Amy is the queen of Angst. Yes, I love those books too. But – wow – I just love her “lite” stories because I can read them and laugh and love and not need to “recover”!
Skipper and Richie are buds. They’ve been playing soccer together for years and neither has thought of each other as anything more than friends before that… well… not officially. They’re both straight and have absolutely no experience with guys other than as friends so the idea of being sexually attracted to each other is new on a lot of levels.
One day, when the two are in a car and trying to get a pesky uniform shirt off… things change. Suddenly these guys are now kissing and groping and touching and…. No holds barred. From zero to sixty. They both feel the pull and neither fights it.
Both Skipper and Richie are worried what the rest of the team will say about them as a couple. Neither has a great support structure and the soccer team has really morphed into their extended family. What if they guys reject them?
Richie also has trouble at home. His dad, step-mom and step-brothers aren’t exactly warm and welcoming. What will they do if Richie turns out to be queer?
When push comes to shove and Skipper ends up really sick, Richie has to choose which family he wants to support – the one he was given or the one he chose.
I have to say this book has the most heat I think I’ve ever seen in an Amy Lane book. And it’s HOT. These boys are on fire! Not to say that it’s gratuitous. It isn’t. I think the way they explore their relationship is a very physical thing and so the physical stuff naturally follows.
The secondary characters are amazing – gotta love the rest of the team and Skipper’s work buddies- Carpenter and Mason. I hope we get to see them in future books!
There was nothing about this that wasn’t just FUN! I loved watching these boys discover love and each other and the meaning of true friends and family. It was just like a great big hug from start to finish (with some way HOT heat in between)!
Woot! I was so happy to see this! Nick J Russo is on a short list of my favorite narrators and he was PERFECT for this! I think his Richie was spot on and I loved how he portrayed Skipper as well. Nick is good with all the smexy times and the emotion but he’s also really good with the humor, too. I had one tiny issue and that was how he pronounced the dog version of skipper’s name – a schipperke is pronounced skipper key – like Skipper Keith – and he kinda flubbed that a lot. I wasn’t super in love with the voice he gave Mason, but I’m hoping when Mason’s story comes along I’ll warm up to it ☺ This was wonderful and just what I’d hoped for this fantastic story! I’ve already listened to this twice!
6 of 5 stars for both audio and story
Absolutely just what I needed. Amy Lane is brilliant at writing these friends to lovers romance stories. This one is no exception. The narration was AMAZING as well. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Lily reads, writes, and reviews m/m romance.
I’ve been a fan of both Amy Lane and Nick J Russo ever since I first listened to Beneath the Stain. Nothing surpasses this book in my opinion, although all of Amy’s other works are outstanding and superbly written.
Winter Ball is a great friends to lovers story with two very likeable main characters and some endearing secondary characters too. Although it’s a sport-themed book, not too much attention is paid to the games themselves—a big plus for me.
I just loved the connection between Skipper and Richie and how they both move from secretive/closeted to openly out and proud. I also liked when Richie’s possessiveness made itself known. The romance is sweet and the making out is ‘Amy Lane’ sizzling hot. Their relationship, the everyday events, the humour, and the dialogue came across as real.
The angst triggered by Richie’s family and how they treated him was there for conflict and, at times, I thought that storyline felt a little forced. I couldn’t understand why a twenty-five year old wouldn’t stand up for himself. But there again, that happens a lot in real life.
Nick’s narration is spot-on as always. He delivers great character representation, emotion, and his voice is just a joy to listen to. Terrific!
If I could describe this book in four words it would have to be, 'Down to Earth' and 'Blunt :)'. From the start, I fell in love with both Skipper and Richie. Actually anyone who doesn’t fall for these two and their story is just wrong, wrong I tell you! It's not just them as a couple, but on they are both wonderful people. Amazing men that have turned out damn near perfect despite their upbringing. Each striving to do better and be better than what they came from.
Skipper, who has lost everyone and is so desperately lonely. He feels that he needs to come to work, not because he particularly loves or even likes it. More so, he feels without it no one would notice if anything happened to him. Seriously, how sad is that? Then there is Richie, whose family just needs to die in a fiery explosion. For a father just to give up like that and to care more for the stepfamily than his own flesh and blood is just heart breaking.
These boys just melted my heart, and made me laugh along the way on their journey towards happiness. I loved the newness of everything and how the author developed these characters to be realistic and relatable to the reader. To be able to make the journey with Skipper and Richie from the moment they “connected”, their easy acceptance with one another, their sexual discoveries and their new-found friendships was endearing, priceless and lets not forget HOT!
In the end, both Skipper and Richie get their well deserved HEA. A home to share and a loving family that consists of Carpenter, Mason and a few others from their league.
Nick J. Russo did an amazing job with the voices for not only Skipper and Richie, but for all the characters. I felt they were distinct and fit each character very well. I enjoyed the enthusiasm he put into the narration. Really, it's hot!
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