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Winter Ball Audiobook

Winter Ball

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Tams (TTC Books and more) 03-14-17 Member Since 2012

    Avid reader, reviewer, blogger and budding author.

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    What made the experience of listening to Winter Ball the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Nick J. Russo’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, I have, love his work. This book is as good as any other performances of his I've listened to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, there weren't really any laugh out loud or tear jerker moments. It was a fantastic story though and I quite liked it.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Morgan A Skye 03-12-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Fun, sweet, light - fantastic narration!"

    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)!



    Audio

    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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Butterfield 03-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderfully Sweet low angst love 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. This has become one of my favorite go to comfort listens, it's such a wonderfully Sweet story <3

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeffrey 05-16-17
    jeffrey 05-16-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Amy Lane at her finest!"
    Any additional comments?

    Winter Ball, in my opinion, is Amy Lane at her finest.<br/> <br/>She expertly blends humor, friendship and the beginnings of a romance into a truly lovely story in this, the first book in her Winter Ball series. Ms. Lane has a way with words that completely enraptures me and I literally lose time because her books are so hard to put down.<br/> <br/>This is Skipper and Richie’s story. Friends for about six years they also went to tech school together and play on a rec soccer team.<br/> <br/>One night while talking after practice the two men surprisingly find themselves kissing and touching. Although they’ve each only dated women in the past, they soon find themselves “living for the weekends” when they get to hang out, play soccer and just be together.<br/> <br/>Skip and Richie are two wonderful characters. Skip has had a tough childhood with a mother who didn’t care enough. He’s such a caretaker and needs to feel like he’s part of a family. Holidays are really important to him and I found it so sweet that he went all out when decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving, since his mother was always more concerned with getting her next drink and holidays always took a backseat in their family.<br/> <br/>Richie’s family cares a little too much barely letting him breathe. His father and step-mother take advantage of Richie constantly and he feels like he’s suffocating under their scrutiny.<br/><br/>It’s not just the two men who move this story along, the author really does an amazing job with all of the secondary characters.<br/> <br/>Skip and Richie’s teammates are all kinds of awesome and Skip’s co-worker, Carpenter, is the best. There are some moments in the story that get a little heavy but it’s not gut busting, trust me, and Ms.Lane incorporates all kinds of humor throughout the tale making it impossible not to laugh along.<br/> <br/>Nick J Russo does a tremendous job with the narration. He literally becomes the characters and it’s just an amazing listen.<br/> <br/>Each voice is distinctive, each character’s emotions are well done, yet I must admit Richie is the character I fell in love with the most. I read Winter Ball when it was first released and I remember how it was Skipper I fell in love with, but this second time around it was all Richie and I have the narrator to thank for that. Russo became Richie! I could hear it in his voice. I could hear the nervousness, the hesitation in his narration, making me adore every moment of his interpretation of Richie.<br/> <br/>I love stories when the two MC’s are best friends. And when that friendship turns to romance it’s better than sliced bread. These two men move seamlessly from friends to lovers, although not without a few hiccups along the way. They are not shy about exploring each other and trying new things and believe me it is all kinds of sexy. Nick J Russo perfectly emphasizes this with his narration. He starts off strong and when he gets to those breathy exclamations I was truly fanning myself. Having been a fangirl for a while now I am always amazed by his talent.<br/><br/>Amy Lane and Nick J Russo made me laugh, made me hot, made me tear up and made me believe in love through Winter Ball.<br/> <br/>Lane knows how to write the sexy, tender scenes and Russo’s narration only magnifies that. They make the men’s emotions ring true for long-time friends and I wondered why they hadn’t gotten together before. I was caught up in their romance as much as they were. I love how Skip and Richie realize how much it is the two of them that belong together. They were what they were missing. That "spark" was between them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Belen 05-09-17
    Belen 05-09-17 Member Since 2015

    I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.

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    "Friends to Lovers"
    Any additional comments?

    Cute, not a lot of angst, friends to lovers romance told completely from Skipper's POV. <br/><br/>I actually read/listened to this after I listened to Summer Lessons, and I was surprised this didn't have the same amount of humor. It's more of a gentle romance, which was still nice, don't get me wrong, but I suppose I probably should have listened to this first, then book two.<br/><br/>Regardless, I enjoyed both Nick J. Russo's narration and the story a lot.<br/><br/>I am loving the series and look forward to reading more.<br/><br/>Recommended. (But definitely listen to this one first!)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jernika aunu 04-05-17 Member Since 2016
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    "amazing 😻😻😻😻 book it was worth the time"

    this book made me laugh it made me cry it had everything in it that you're looking for

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lily G Blunt 04-03-17

    Lily reads, writes, and reviews m/m romance.

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    "Great friends to lovers story"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S Florida 04-01-17
    S Florida 04-01-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Wholly Fuc* Sticks on Crackers :)"

    The Story
    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.


    The Narration
    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-17-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Good story about love, friendship family"
    Any additional comments?

    My first audio book by this author.<br/><br/>Skipper and Richie are two guys that have known each other for a while, have grown very fond of each other but until one night when feelings and conversation got the better of them never realized they were on the same page 100 percent.<br/><br/>Problem is Richie is family bound. He has family obligations, works for his father’s business, lives above the garage at the family home. And that kind of loyalty, misplaced it may be is still there. Skipper is trying to understand, but because he never really had it. Doesn’t understand. Under the base of that story we are surrounded by what really brought them together, Soccer. And the rec team they started and play on. And the group of guys they play with.<br/><br/>These guys, but mainly Richie, Skipper and Carpenter, are the focus of the story and really so us what love, friendship and loyalty can do.<br/><br/>My one big issue was the amount of sex, I got it, they are middle twenty yrs old guys, just discovered each other, but really, it seemed like every chapter, BJ, hand job, or full penetration. Or all of them. After a while I started tuning out the sex scenes and tuning back in when the story started up again.<br/><br/>Nice HFN ending, hope to see another one? Maybe for Mason? Maybe Carpenter?<br/><br/>Narrator did a wonderful job keeping up going during the story. Not too many different accents, but did a great job letting us know who was who.<br/><br/>

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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