Book Reviews

Icebreaker (Portland Lumberjacks 1) by Blair Brady

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Age Gap / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 02-July-2024

Book Blurb


I’ve been around the hockey block more times than I care to count. Hockey is my life, my sanctuary, and the only thing that's kept me going through the years. Traded to the expansion Portland Lumberjacks, I'm now the grizzled, some would say grumpy, old-timer tasked with being the voice of experience for a team of wide-eyed rookies and journeymen. Dragged down by a scandalous past, I've long since given up on finding romance, but a certain blond, blue-eyed rookie is about to change everything.


Fresh out of college, I'm ready to storm the professional hockey world. With a sunshine smile and a quick wit, I'm determined to make my mark on the ice and in the hearts of my teammates. When I meet Axel Karlsson, the Lumberjacks' grumpy defenseman, in person, I’m speechless, and I can't look away. I’ve always been into older, more experienced men. I don’t want a daddy, but I want a lover who knows what he’s doing…in every part of his life. Armed with confidence and a persistent drive, I set out to melt the ice around Axel's guarded heart.

Icebreaker is an mm romance with grumpy/sunshine, age gap, and first time themes. It’s the first book in the Portland Lumberjacks hockey romance series.


Book Review

This is an entertaining sports story, even to those readers who may not be sports oriented. That milieu is merely a backdrop for an unexpected romance between two very different men – in age, worldly experience, personality. The action mixed with personal reactions seems to work for the reader who is a hockey tyro – easily captured by the game and the players.


Yet their becoming a couple is, surprisingly, chemically correct, and so enjoyable to follow.


Axel has had problems – particularly a public coming out scandal that adversely affected his popular image. Yes, there once was a time when masculine sportsmen were expected to be straight all-Americans! Axel Karlsson, Swedish born, fits the image, with a body like a brick wall. On a new team, he meets Quinn, a new player. Just a kid, but a damn cute one. There is at least ten years age difference. The author sums them up: a grizzled veteran (who has been traded ‘down’) and an upstart rookie. The contrasts are quite an ignition.


Axel and Quinn are fully developed for us, their actions and emotions are super logical. Quinn, a youngster, is somewhat sophomoric – somewhere between infantility and idolization. He is always trying to engage Axel in random conversations about… anything!


Their friendship is perfectly paced – attraction; a parting hug indicating more to come; a gathering of teammates at, oddly, a gay bar where Axel and Quinn turn out to be two of the rare attendees from their team. Eventually, their friendship allows Axel to recount his past outing as having been unfairly abusive. Being abandoned by someone he trusted was a low point in Axel’s career. As he observes: “Being gay in this sport world isn’t easy. You take risks every single day.


The relationship is finely limned. There is sexual tension, but as its physical depicting is sufficiently secondary to the development of plot, it is almost not missed until we are well into the story – but not to worry, they really show how to perform! Of greater import than putting part A in opening B. “It’s about sticking it out through bad times, too.”

Let’s sum up: the tale has very fine side episodes, revealing more of each hero’s character and their relationship. The sex is appropriately delicious to keep you reading. The supporting characters are also interesting and do their supporting function very well. It there is a shortfall worthy of comment, it may be author’s need to create a saga – that is to continue after producing a happy place to end, by going on, perhaps unnecessarily, to give a whiz bang summation of the next fifty years, blessedly avoiding any need for a sequel.


Enjoy what you’ve been given!




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 226 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-May-2024
Price $4.99 ebook
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