Title : Picks & Pucks Word Count : 82,539
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb : Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.
Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.
If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.
My Review : Meeting Justin for the first time is like meeting a spoiled little princess who thinks the world is out to get her. He seems to have major issues with all the important people in his life. Soon it becomes apparent that the people in his life, memories and past mistakes are haunting his upper most thoughts. There are a lot of bonds in his life that needs repairing and he will have to let go of old hurts in order to mend his relationships.
Justin’s father who he thinks has never forgiven him for giving up hockey for figure skating, is now taking an interest in his son’s life. He is trying to show Justin that he is proud of him, but Justin is a little hesitant to accept this out of fear of dissappointment. Justin’s sister Janae is the only one he has a comfortable relationship with, but even that is clouded by a few memories of her jealousy when he usurped her place in the figure skating world. Justin seems to be torn about his love for skating when he thinks of all the damage it has wreaked on his family life. He has minimal contact with his brother who he believes despises him for giving up hockey for figure skating and for being gay. Justin also believes that it’s partly his fault for his mom’s death. She apparently had an accident and died on her way to pick him up from figure skating practice.
Justin has a lot of weight on his shoulders and to top it all off, Danny the hockey player he had a torrid secret affair with is his temporary roommate in his sister’s house. Unwanted memories turn into reality when Danny comes home shit – faced drunk and begs Justin for one more night of passion. A night filled with unbridled passion opens the door in Justin’s heart and all those old memories of stolen moments with Danny come rushing back in. That one night turns into more than a week of sneaking around and tender caresses. Justin’s heart is left shattered when Danny moves out, when student housing becomes available for him. The only comfort for Justin is knowing that Danny is definitely not unaffected. However, in Danny’s world there is no room to be a gay hockey player.
A new player is dropped into the mix when CJ ,a new sexy as hell hockey player is added to the team. Justin decides to ignore him even though the sparks of attraction are there. CJ ends up being Justin’s new roomate. CJ and Justin are uneasy around each other and it makes things awkward for them. Justin tries to ward off his attraction and CJ seems to have some secrets of his own that he is hiding.
As Justin’s romantic life becomes more complicated, his family life smoothes out with a little bit of talking. Justin and Janae gets closer when she confesses her jealousy of how easy and adept he was at figure skating. They mend the tiny rift between them and talks with his dad become easier when he sees further proof of his father’s pride. He becomes closer to his best friend Eli, when Eli explains how Justin’s family stepped up when his own family disown him. Eli reveals his bi-curiosity and Justin helps his friend to snag his big crush Taylor.
It’s obvious to see the chemistry between CJ and Justin. CJ shows him what true intimacy is and they have quite a few nights where they just hold each other sleeping to quell their demons that they both live with. They take their relationship at a slow, sexy pace with lots of hot and heavy lovemaking interspersed. Even though they are not ready to admit it , they are head over heels in love with each other. They support each other in their respective careers and try to make time for their blooming love.
While Justin is repairing his familial bonds even the ones with his brother Jack, secrets unfold in CJ’s life that can possibly hurt Justin. The secrets take a toll on their relationship and shatters the idyllic bliss that they have only just begun to enjoy. The secrets of CJ’s past where he was bullied for being a gay hockey player on his last team comes back to haunt him. The same bullies come oretty close to hurting Justin. CJ pushes Justin away out of fear of Justin getting hurt. He is embarrassed that Justin knows the humiliation that he faced from his previous team.
After a rocky slide, they both realize that all this angst is inconsequential in the face of their love for each other. CJ and Justin enjoy hot makeup sessions. Throughout all of this , Justin was able to reclaim the strength of his familial bonds. All of the members of his family really pulled together and tried piecing back their life to the cohesion that they had before Justin’s mom died. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.