I have two wildly different book to talk about again in my latest arc roundup, and they’re both great for such different reasons! Keep reading to find out what I think of Common Goal by Rachel Reid, the latest m/m hockey romance in her Game Changers series, as well as Courtney Milan’s newest historical romance, The Duke Who Didn’t.
Common Goal by Rachel Reid (September 21)
Common Goal is a friends-with-benefits, age gap hockey romance, and the latest in the Game Changers series. Eric is in his last season as the goalie for the New York Admirals and is hoping to explore his bisexuality for the first time in his life after separating from his wife. Meanwhile, bartender Kyle is fighting an attraction to older men after being hurt in the past, but he can’t stay away from Eric. So he agrees to act as Eric’s mentor and teach him what he knows about dating men. But what starts as something simple with no strings attached quickly turns into something more.
As I mentioned, this is the fourth book in a series, and while I don’t think you need to have read previous books in order to enjoy Eric and Kyle’s story, I would recommend it just because some of the characters from previous books play such a large role in Common Goal.
I was looking forward to this book so much! I really loved the first three books in this series (especially Heated Rivalry), and I immediately started reading it when it was downloaded to my kindle. I’m really pleased to say that this book did not at all let me down! It was so sweet watching Eric and Kyle dance around each other and finally letting go and being together. They were so perfect for each other, and I loved watching them slowly realize that.
My only complaint is that I wish there’d been a few more intimate moments between the two of them. Like, it would have been perfect if there’d been more time at the end of the book with the two of them together and talking about their relationship, because I don’t think they ever fully addressed what kept them from committing to a relationship in the first place. But it was still a lovely book, and I enjoyed Eric and Kyle’s story so much. Not to mention the glimpses we get of Shane and Ilya! It was a great addition to the series, and now I can’t wait for the next one!
Oh, I also wish Kyle had figured out his life a bit more. He expressed interest in running a bar, but I didn’t like that he didn’t take any steps to make that a reality, and that Eric kind of wound up buying the Kingfisher for him? And I really wish he and Eric had talked more about what happened to Kyle when he was younger so they could reinforce that it wasn’t Kyle’s fault and that it didn’t negatively impact their relationship other than to make Eric somewhat more cautious with Kyle. Seriously, though, I really enjoyed this book and read it basically in one sitting!
Rep: White bisexual hero, white gay hero. White author.
I received an arc of Common Goal from the publisher via Netgalley.
The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan (September 22)
In The Duke Who Didn’t, Jeremy has been in love with Chloe since they were children, visiting her village for two weeks every year to participate in the local festival. But the last several years, he’s stayed away after Chloe told him to be serious about her. Now he’s back and determined to make Chloe his wife, but first he has to convince her that he’s serious about her. And then there’s the small fact that he’s a duke who owns her village—and she doesn’t know.
I loved this book soooooo much! It is pretty much my favorite type of romance, where the two main characters just sweetly fall in love and there’s very little conflict. And I’m such a sucker for a hero who loves teasing an uptight heroine and getting her to smile, which is 100 percent what Jeremy and Chloe’s vibe was! And they were just so cute together!! Teenage Jeremy naming his horse after Chloe because he’s so in love with her was just too adorable. I also really liked how this book leaned into a lot of my expectations as a romance reader, and then just subverted them! I think it’s too spoilery to discuss exactly how Milan does this, but come back to me after you’ve read this book and we can talk about it further. I also really loved Chloe’s discussions about family with her father, and how Jeremy got her to see that she was just as bad at refusing help as her father was and that her goals were a success because she accepted help. And the town itself is just so fun! I’m so glad this is going to be part of a series, because I really want more of this village. Seriously, I loved everything about this book and I can’t wait to add a physical copy to my shelves!
Rep: Half white/half Chinese hero, Chinese heroine, hapa author.
I received an arc of The Duke Who Didn’t from the author.
As I said, two incredibly different, but excellent reads included in this arc roundup! And if you’re looking for some prompts to fill out your #FallIntoRomBingo board, Common Goal is perfect for the hockey square, while I personally used The Duke Who Didn’t for the makes you hungry square — I really wanted bao buns while reading this book! I think both of these could count for pining as well!