The highly anticipated fifth novel in Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series sees a grumpy professional hockey player meet his match in an out-and-proud social media manager…
The hits just keep coming for Troy Barrett. Traded to the worst team in the league would be bad enough, but coming on the heels of a messy breakup and a recent scandal… Troy just wants to play hockey and be left alone. He doesn’t want to be in the news anymore, and he definitely doesn’t want to “work on his online presence” with the team’s peppy social media manager.
Harris Drover can tell standoffish Troy isn’t happy about the trade—anyone could tell, frankly, as he doesn’t exactly hide it well—but Harris doesn’t give up on people easily. Even when he’s developing a crush he’s sure is one-sided. And when he sees Troy’s smile finally crack through his grumpy exterior, well… That’s a man Harris couldn’t turn his back on if he wanted to.
Suddenly, Troy’s move to the new team feels like an opportunity—for Troy to embrace his true self, and for both men to surrender to their growing attraction. But indulging in each other behind closed doors is one thing, and for Troy, being in a public relationship with Harris will mean facing off with his fears, once and for all.
Troy arrives in Ottawa in a bad place, but fortunately for him, series favorite Ilya Rozanov is there to take him under his wing. His friendship with social media manager Harris starts off on an awkward note; Troy wants to tell the proudly-out Harris that he’s also gay, but it takes him awhile to summon the courage.
I want to take a minute to talk about how adorable Harris is. He’s super smart, a bit geeky, and he smells like apples because his family owns an orchard. He’s so kind and patient with Troy and never pushes his boundaries. This book is full of tender feelings, and after a complicated year, I am here for all the feelings.
I do have a complaint: Ilya Rozanov steals the show at every possible opportunity, and quite frankly, it’s a bit rude when he’s already had his own book, and he’s getting a second book as well. AND yes, I’m talking about him like he’s a real person because we all know that he is.
Scratch that, Ilya Rozanov is an omniscient trickster god who tells people all the things they’re afraid to acknowledge.
But seriously, Troy is trying to sort out his complicated feelings and then BOOM, there’s Ilya with an actual puppy! How is light angst supposed to compete with that?
All kidding aside, Role Model is a solid entry in the Game Changers series, and I would highly recommend it. This book functions well as a standalone, so you don’t need to read the other books before this one. That being said, I would suggest reading Heated Rivalry—Ilya’s book—before jumping into this one. I loved the themes of self-acceptance, as well as the acknowledgement of some of the toxicity in hockey culture. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series because the world needs more Ilya Rozanov.
I received a digital ARC of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley.