Eric has been the goalie for the New York Admirals for his entire professional hockey career. Now that he’s turning 41, he knows that this is his last season, but he’s not ready to tell his teammates. He’s also finally acknowledging his bisexuality, and now that he’s been divorced for a year, he’s ready to explore this new facet of himself.

Enter Kyle, a grad student who he knows through mutual friends. Kyle offers to help Eric learn how to date guys, which includes low-pressure introduction to the physical aspect of dating.

Yes, that’s right, fucking lessons. It’s supposed to be a casual no-strings-attached friendly offer, but of course, they both catch feelings almost immediately. But there’s an age gap to consider, and Kyle doesn’t do relationships, so that’s a bit of a problem.

The first thing readers should know is that although this is the fourth book in a series, it does function well enough as a standalone. However, and I cannot stress this enough, readers ought to read the first three books before reading this one. To begin with, the New York Admirals are also featured in Game Changer, the first book in the series, and both Eric and Kyle play secondary roles in that book.

But wait, there’s more! Heated Rivalry, the second book features Ilya Rozanov, who appears in every book in the series like a trickster god, imparting wisdom along with a hearty dose of snark and derision. Ilya always manages to steal the show in every book, even when it’s not even his book. He’s doing it right now because here I am, in Eric and Kyle’s book, talking about ILYA instead of the actual stars.

Anyway, I digress. The TLDR of all that is that readers will gain a more thorough appreciation of the characters if they have the additional background info. But like I said, this book functions perfectly well as a standalone. Eric and Kyle have this intense chemistry from the very beginning, and their edging scene is one of the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read.

Good sex is good, but it can’t sustain a relationship—or rather, a NSA casual situation—but Eric and Kyle have amazing banter, and this book had me laughing the entire time. I also loved the way that Kyle made creative mocktails for Eric, who doesn’t drink. I mean, I loved everything about this book, but I’m trying to summarize the highlights in less than 600 words.

Oh, yeah, there are some great hockey scenes as well. Silly me, how could I have forgotten to talk about hockey in the queer hockey romance? Eric might be a goalie, so the action scenes are more about focusing and getting the save rather than thrilling breakaways, but they’re just as exciting to read… and it’s extra cute to see Kyle, who has never cared about hockey, becoming a rabid fan almost immediately.

I would absolutely recommend Common Goal. Rachel Reid is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, judging by the way I inhaled this book over the course of a weekend. All of her books have earned their place in my re-read pile. As of right now, there are two more books planned for this series, so I’ll be over here, eagerly waiting for them, and maybe one day, I’ll get around to writing my review of Heated Rivalry.  

I received a copy of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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