Thanks for inviting me to share this excerpt from Common Goal! This is the fourth book in my Game Changers m/m hockey romance series, and it focuses on Eric Bennett, an NHL goaltender who is playing his final season, and Kyle Swift, a bartender and grad student who is sixteen years Eric’s junior.
This scene is immediately following Eric’s forty-first birthday party, which Eric hosted at his own home. Kyle has stayed late to help him tidy up, and the two men get to talking.
A few minutes later, Kyle was wedged into the corner of a sectional sofa, and Eric was sitting a safe, platonic distance away. Kyle took a sip of his water and said, “So what do you want to know?”
There were a lot of careful, easy questions Eric could have asked. Ones that wouldn’t have been completely selfish. But what he asked was, “Is Kip not the type of man you’re normally attracted to?”
Kyle’s eyebrows raised over the frames of his glasses, and his lips quirked up. “No. Not usually. I mean, I don’t have a strict type, but…”
Eric shifted to the edge of his sofa cushion. “But?”
“I have a bit of a weakness for…older men.”
He swallowed. “How much older?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe forty. Or”—Kyle smiled mischievously at him—“forty-one.”
Eric’s dick arrived to the party at that moment. Late, but very keen to celebrate his birthday. He knew he should reply to Kyle, but his head had gone fuzzy.
Kyle waved a hand. “Don’t take me too seriously when I flirt. It’s basically a defense mechanism for me.”
“Defense,” Eric repeated thickly. “Right.” He shook away some of the haze of lust. “Of course. I know you’re not serious.”
“Good. But let me know if I ever make you uncomfortable, please. I really don’t want to do that.”
“I’ll tell you.” Uncomfortable was one way of putting it. Although, whether he was uncomfortable from being unsure of how to respond to Kyle’s suggestive remarks, or if it was from the sudden tightness of his jeans, it was hard to say. Did Kyle know that Eric was attracted to men? Was it as obvious to him as Eric’s inability to leave his basement a mess?
“You are gorgeous, though,” Kyle said easily. “If you didn’t know that.”
“Thank you.” Return the compliment, Eric! Or should he? Would that only make things more weird? It was probably safer if the flirting was only one sided. But he had to say something, so he said, “I like your glasses.”
Kyle laughed. “As in you want to buy a pair for yourself, or as in you want to see me wearing nothing but them?” Before Eric could respond, Kyle quickly said, “Sorry. That was too much.”
Eric crossed his legs as casually as possible as he fought to banish the mental image of Kyle wearing only his glasses. Maybe he would be stretched elegantly across Eric’s bed, his back arching as Eric trailed kisses up the inside of his thigh…
“I’m trying to be anyway,” Kyle said.
Trying to be? Trying to be what? Oh god, Eric had completely missed everything that Kyle had just said.
“Trying to be, um…pardon?” Eric said elegantly.
Kyle grinned. “Good. Or smart. Trying not to date creeps.”
“Creeps?” Anger flared inside of Eric at the thought of a man hurting Kyle. “How do you mean?”
“Oh, you know. Secretly married. Closeted and staying there. Manipulative and selfish. Any combination of those things. That’s my type, apparently.”
That didn’t sound like the sort of man Kyle should be with at all. Kyle should be with someone who cherished every one of his playful smiles and devilish winks. Who appreciated how smart Kyle was, and how easy he was to talk to. “Those guys sound like assholes.”
“Yeah, well.” Kyle pulled his knees up and rested his tilted head on them. “You wanna hear something funny? I thought you were going to be one of them.”
“One of them? What do you mean?”
“I thought you were married. Because of the ring. And I thought you were…well. It doesn’t matter.”
“Thought I was what?” Dammit. The ring. Carter was right. He should have taken it off ages ago.
“I probably project it on every handsome older man now, but I thought you were another closeted married man who was looking to have a little secret fun with the gay boy.”
Eric’s stomach clenched at the thought. “I would never—that’s—”
“I know. I was wrong. I get it. Like I said, I project. But you really do seem like a great guy, and I’d like to be friends.”
Friends. “I’d like that too.” It wasn’t a lie. Eric did like talking to Kyle, and he’d love to go to some galleries with him. Maybe share some meals. Maybe—
Kyle yawned then, and Eric was reminded of the late hour. And of the fact that Kyle lived all the way in Chelsea.
“You should stay here tonight,” Eric said. It was an obvious offer and he should have made it before now.
“Oh no. I can get a cab.”
“Stay. I have two guest rooms. I’ll even make coffee in the morning.”
Kyle lifted his head off his knees. “That is very tempting.”
“I’ve got extra toothbrushes and everything. I have nowhere to be in the morning. You can sleep as late as you like.”
Kyle yawned again, then laughed. “All right. You win.”
New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…
Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.
Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.
Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.
Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.
Rachel Reid is the pen name of Rachelle Goguen. She chose it because it is much easier to say, spell and remember than Rachelle Goguen!R
achel writes cute, romantic smut, mostly about hockey players.Rachelle
co-hosts a comic book podcast called Living Between Wednesdays.
Rachel/Rachelle lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has always lived there, and it’s looking like she probably always will. She has two boring degrees and two interesting kids.
Genre: Contemporary Genre: Romance Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Age-Gap Tag: Friends with Benefits / No Strings Tag: Guest Post Tag: Part of a series Tag: Pining Tag: Sports Common Goal Game Changer Rachel Reid