Daniel Bellamy, who plays for the Atlanta Venom (the NHL team featured in the first two Hat Trick books) has been given the opportunity to play for the Miami Thunder. They aren’t the best team in the league (they’re closer to the bottom in terms of stats), but the Thunder is his hometown team.

As much as moving back to Miami is a dream come true, Daniel never thought he would reconnect with Micah Kelly, his childhood best friend AND his first kiss. Micah is all grown up and he works at the aquarium, and Daniel is still totally attracted to him.  

This book is super cute. First of all, it was low-angst. The biggest stressor in the narrative is Daniel’s adjustment to playing for a new team. It’s clearly not what he was expecting, but he’s determined to make the most of it.

But as far as Daniel and Micah’s relationship, there was no obstacle to overcome and no misunderstanding that blew up into some big fight. Yes, there was a vague possibility that Daniel might not stay in Miami for hockey, and that would be a problem because it wouldn’t be easy for Micah to transfer to another aquarium. But I never had to suspend my disbelief that things wouldn’t work out for them; they never had to work for their HEA—they just stumbled into it.

And do you know what?

An easy book like this is exactly what I needed amidst all the real-life stress in the world. Watching those two dorks reconnect, and for Daniel to acknowledge his bisexuality was simply lovely. Daniel is divorced, and he and his ex-wife Tabby have such a healthy and productive co-parenting relationship. Conversely, Micah’s parents don’t speak to him because of his sexuality, but this is not a main plot point, and Micah does have support from his queer found family/friend group.

I would recommend Trade Deadline to fans of queer hockey books. This is the third book in a series, but it functions well enough as a standalone because Daniel is breaking away from the Venom to start a new life in Miami. However, fans of the series will appreciate Daniel’s old teammates popping up a couple of times throughout the book. Confession time: I haven’t actually read the first book in the series, but my interest has definitely been piqued and I’ll be adding it to my TBR.        

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