I’m excited to share an exclusive excerpt of Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn’s new hockey romance Goalie Interference today! This is the second book in their Hat Trick series and features two goalies fighting for the starting spot on the team!
Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.
Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom are looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.
Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.
In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.
Ryu scraped and tore at the label on his tea bottle with his thumbnail, which finally made Tristan lift his head from the international business textbook he’d been bent over for the past hour.
Tristan looked at Ryu with his fair eyebrows arched. “What’s up? You’re fidgeting.”
And fidgeting was something Ryu almost never did.
He sighed. “Thinking about tomorrow.”
Tristan shut the textbook and tossed it onto the coffee table in front of the sectional they’d taken up residence on for the bulk of the afternoon. It was comfortable and stylish, much like the rest of the industrial loft Tristan had shared with his boyfriend Sebastian for the past couple of months. “Worried about Armstrong?”
Ryu’s mouth turned down at the name. “Not worried. He’s…an unknown quantity.”
“You haven’t googled him?”
Ryu had considered it, but it always made him feel vaguely stalkerish to nose around on people’s social media accounts—even if the updates were put out there for public consumption. He shook his head.
Tristan grabbed his MacBook and flipped it open. “Let’s look him up.”
Within seconds, he was typing “emmitt armstrong hockey” into the search box. Despite himself, Ryu scooted closer to see the screen.
The first link to pop up was a Wikipedia entry detailing a brief history of Armstrong’s playing career. The second was a link to a Yahoo Sports article calling him “The Shutout King” for breaking the AHL record for the most shutouts in one season.
“Nice,” Tristan said, his blue eyes moving as he scanned the text. “Check out his goals against average last season.”
Ryu leaned back. “Hmm.” Admittedly, it was an impressive number. Armstrong might’ve been playing in the league a level below the NHL, but he was clearly at the top of his game. If Ryu was going to have a backup—and by the rules, of course he had to—he couldn’t complain about having one with such a great save percentage.
“Looks like he has a temper on him.”
The amusement in Tristan’s voice drew Ryu’s attention back to the screen. He’d moved onto YouTube and was watching footage of Armstrong throwing his water bottle at a player from the opposing team before breaking his stick on the net frame after allowing a sloppy goal. It was the first of an entire playlist of videos showing similar incidents.
Ryu bit back a sigh. Every goalie got angry when they let in goals that should’ve been easy saves—frustration came with the territory—but the last thing the Venom needed was a hothead whose temper tantrums led to more players landing in the sin bin. Not even an awesome save percentage excused such bratty, entitled behavior.
Tristan moved on to Armstrong’s Instagram profile. A quick scroll showed the man in question with one beautiful woman after another, and judging by the abundance of bare-chested selfies, he had an allergy to shirts. There was also an absurd amount of pictures featuring low-slung basketball shorts. Enough to make Ryu wonder if Armstrong had an endorsement deal with the company or if he really just loved showcasing his sizeable bulge from every possible angle. Probably the latter.
No denying, the guy had a delectable body, and from the cocky tilt to his lush mouth in every photo, he lived for showing off all those tight muscles and nearly every inch of his smooth, rich brown skin.
Temperamental and arrogant, then. Perfect. Ryu scoffed under his breath. Armstrong had nothing on Tristan, who somehow managed to be gorgeous, humble, and nice all at once. The league needed more players like Tristan, not Armstrong—big dick and enviable pecs aside.
Ryu hated him already.
Avon Gale lives in a liberal Midwestern college town, where she spends her days getting heavily invested in everything from craft projects to video games. She likes road trips by car, rock concerts, thunderstorms, IPAs, Kentucky bourbon and tattoos. As a queer author, Avon is committed to providing happy endings for all and loves to tell stories that focus on found families, strong and open communication, and friendship. She loves writing about quirky people who might not be perfect, but always find a place where they belong.
Piper Vaughn is a Latinx author and longtime romance reader. Since writing their first love story at age eleven, they’ve known writing in some form was exactly what they wanted to do. A reader to the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book.
Piper grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Chicago and loves putting faces and characters of every ethnicity in their stories, making their fictional worlds as colorful as the real one. Above all, Piper believes there’s no one way to have an HEA, and every person deserves to see themselves reflected on the page.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Guest Post Tag: Part of a series Tag: PoC Tag: Rivals to Lovers Tag: Sports Avon Gale Goalie Interference Hat Trick series Piper Vaughn