by Tamsen Parker
Series: Snow & Ice Games #2
Also in this series: Love on the Tracks, On the Edge of Scandal, Fire on the Ice
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Reading Challenges: 2018 Romance Roundabout Challenge
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Welcome to the Snow and Ice Games where competition is not the only thing that is heating up! The second book in bestselling Tamsen Parker's romance series continues with two competitive teammates.
Miles Palmer has dominated the downhill slalom in every Snow and Ice Games he’s competed in. Double gold, double gold, double gold, and he’s confident he can round out his career and his trophy case with two more medals in his last appearance at the games. The only thing that could stop him? Crash Delaney.
Crash is a young upstart who came out of nowhere and shocked the downhill world with his swagger and untraditional style. As a kid, Crash didn’t have the resources to learn how to race properly, but he begged, borrowed, and stole equipment, and went to any competition he could thumb a ride to. Now the only thing between him and his dreams coming true is his childhood hero, the man whose posters have graced his walls since before he’d ridden in his first chairlift.
Miles and Crash are technically teammates, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they fight. The veteran and the nobody have both got big things riding on this race, and neither can afford any distractions. Especially not each other.
There’s something just so fun about opposites attract romances. These characters are polar (hehe) opposites in many ways, and the alternating POVs really help understand where each character is coming from. Crash is a “goofy little bastard,” while Miles is a “cantankerous prig.” But the thing that forces them together is their love for skiing – either man would do anything to keep skiing. In a parallel to the first book in the series, where Rowan had been a fan of Zane’s pop band, Crash has looked up to Miles since he was a little boy. Also, while this is the second in a series, it’s completely standalone.
“Unfortunately, there’s something about Crash Delaney that has crawled under my skin and won’t let go. Everything about him—except the way he makes his way through a course—makes me absolutely fucking crazy.”
Crash could be the poster boy for stoner snowboarder – except he’s a skier. Crash is used to doing things on his own, and his own way, so it’s safe to say that he butts heads with the extremely by-the-book and straight-laced Miles right off the bat. This isn’t Miles’ first rodeo (he has 6 gold medals from previous games, and is the frontrunner for another 2 at these games), and if it wasn’t for Crash’s insane talent, he’d throw him out of the games for being too much trouble. When the team coach makes the rookie Miles’ responsibility, it’s up to him to figure out what the issue is with Crash and help him solve it.
“This guy has got a ski pole wedged so far up his ass I’m surprised I can’t see it when he opens his mouth.”
Crash has admired Miles since he was seven – to the point of saving the front of a Wheaties box with his picture on it. While Crash has managed to get to the games by himself without any formal training or equipment (he used a spray painted football helmet and soccer guards, at one point), part of him is still convinced that he’s a failure and doesn’t belong. His anxiety is especially bad around press conferences, where the media is sure to bring up his rags-to-riches story. When Crash finally opens up about the cause of his issues, Miles realizes that maybe, just maybe, Crash isn’t just a slacker and a screw-up. Together, they’re able to find the one thing to mellow Crash out (*cough* it’s sex *cough*).
“Hurtle down a mountain with a 350-meter vertical drop while executing barely-permitted-by-physics turns on sticks? Sure. Have feelings? Aw, hell, no.”
I liked how Crash, on the surface, appears to be the one with more problems, when, in fact, it’s Miles who is, in some ways, the most broken. While Crash has made it on his own since he was 16 (and, arguably, even before then), Miles has been supported by his parents since he first realized he was good at skiing, and it truly seems like the only thing in his life – besides his family – is skiing. Considering he’s facing probably his last runs at this SIG, Miles is finally having to face some squishy feelings about life after the games, as well as a possible relationship. Miles has run his life to this point on pride and sportsmanship – to the point of giving Crash some skiing tips that could win Crash the gold medal over Miles – and it was heart wrenching to see Miles contemplate what to do next.
And this is where the cons come in. The ending was wrapped up too quickly and neatly for my taste, especially given the stress of being competitors. While I understood Crash’s choices, I didn’t feel like Miles had the time to process them, and it felt like his actions at the end were more grand gestures than signs of true love. While I definitely felt their love and affection for each other, I wasn’t completely sold that they would make it. Also, while I enjoyed most of the humor, Crash, especially has some pretty cheesy lines (and, also, endless euphemisms for vomiting).
“I’ve done the right thing in the best way I know how and while Miles wouldn’t have done the same thing, I think that’s partly why we fit so well. We’ll make each other whole. We can make each other better whether that’s through pushing or reining in, we’ll do it together.”
Overall, this is a quick, sexy, and addictive read. Highly recommended!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: