Book Reviews

Road Rules (Rules of the Game 1) by Brigham Vaughn at Two Peninsulas Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 15-May-2023

Book Blurb

Rule #1: Hockey Comes First

As NHL team captain, Zane Murphy’s goal for the upcoming season is simple: take the Evanston River Otters all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Rule #2: Only On the Road

But an unexpectedly hot night with his best friend and teammate Ryan Hartinger throws Zane’s carefully laid plans and his sexuality into disarray.

Rule #3: Don’t Fall in Love with Your Best Friend

When feelings begin to creep in, Zane will have to decide if he’s willing to throw out the rules and risk his career and his friendship for a chance at winning it all.



TRIGGER WARNINGS: Homophobic and gendered slurs. Mentions of cheating (not between MCs).

First edition independently published on Prolific Works as a 45K word novella. This edition has been expanded to an 87K word novel.


Book Review

In an act of generosity (but not, surely, smugness), author Vaughn generously provides a glossary of idiosyncratic terms employed in hockey. The reader can look at them carefully in the prologue (to which, absent an eidetic memory, you can then make further reference or even take notes!). Or do as I, and daringly (or blithely?) ignore them all – as one might with inserted words and phrases in an obscure foreign language. I assure you that is will result in no problem!


The heroes are Zane Murphy and Ryan Hartinger. Zane and Ryan are hockey players, friends forever, and roommates throughout college. Eventually they are both drafted to the Otter, a pro hockey team. Even a cheating (therefore – ex!) girlfriend doesn’t upset their commitment to hockey – which exceeds most young men’s active participation in casual heterosexual proclivities. It’s no surprise, hockey can be a useful therapy.


At the Otters, Zane is team captain, and Ryan is Zane’s self-appointed caretaker. Zane, at thirty-one, is starting to feel the wear of the game.


A friend, on another team, publicly announces his own bisexuality – and we are now forewarned (though surely not surprised) about this story’s direction. To Ryan, it generates thoughts to ponder – though previously only having been attracted to women, “he was looking at his best friend in a totally different way.” And, as if still teenagers, the main characters speculate: Anyone else on the team going that way? Or flexible enough not to care who sucked their dick? This dialog is so mindful of adolescence. Zane considers that, for him, sex requires a connection. And Ryan is his closest friend. What-ifs grow like mold in a damp closet, becoming Why-nots. And their playful late-night issue comes to a head (pun fully intended!).


As an aside, how many of us have memories of our young, unfulfilled crushes – which only gain lustful fantasies against unfulfilled reality. Zane and Ryan are now too old for such reminiscent lust, but blessedly are old enough to consider activating such a wish.


The story flows, as the heroes subscribe to some practical rules: where, when, exclusivity but without any serious commitments. “Sex is simple. You start putting feeling into it and it gets complicated.”


The story is sweet, simple, and very direct. The pair’s sexual relationship develops so nicely. The happy ending is never in doubt, but then, who ever really believed the wolf would fatally consume Red Riding Hood? All this makes the reading a comfortable assurance that love conquers all! It is especially pleasurable for those of us who have learned that coming out is more prosaic or challenging than not. Hopefully, the rosy world of ‘Road Rules’ is on the way.




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 and print
Length Novel, 407 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-March-2023
Price $4.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback
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