ARC Review: Trade Deadline by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Daniel “Bellzie” Bellamy should be on top of the world—a Stanley Cup is the perfect topper to his fourteen-year NHL career. But despite the post-win high, something’s missing. When the chance to play for his hometown team, the Miami Thunder, comes along, he’s open to it. And when he runs into an old friend from his past soon after he makes the move, he wonders if it might be kismet.

Micah Kelly never thought he’d see his childhood crush—and first kiss—again. Danny Bellamy moved on to bigger and better things when they were teenagers, and the idea that Micah’s relationship with the professional hockey player could be anything more than one-sided Instagram thirst seems too good to be true.

Maybe too good to be true is the new reality, though. As the season goes on, Micah teaches Daniel to surf, and Daniel introduces Micah to his lovable pack of rescue dogs and the world of being a hockey boyfriend. Life is good. But when things on the ice don’t go as planned, they’ll have to decide if their rediscovered romance is built to last.

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, hockey romances are my comfort zone and I just loved getting to read one during these times when my mood has been increasingly bad. And I’m glad it cheered me up.

While I still maintain that I loved Avon Gale’s Scoring Chances series more, this series has also been fun, especially with the authors making the Venom team and it’s camaraderie something to root for. So it felt a bit jarring to see the proceedings move to a different team, that too not a very good one. This also meant that the time spent with the team itself was considerably less when compared to the previous books, but I somehow didn’t miss that element. The story was also a much more quieter one, with hardly any conflict and kinda sweet. 

I really liked both Daniel and Micah as characters. I found Daniel’s uncertainty about his hockey future, his conflict between his competitive nature and wanting to play for his childhood favorite team, and just his love for his old teammates , all felt very realistic and I liked how chill he was despite his worries. Micah on the other hand was a delight. I don’t think I’ve read a romance before with a marine biologist love interest, so that was cool. And I absolutely adored his interactions with his favorite dolphin, as well as his passion for conservation and restoration of sea creatures to their natural habitats. 

Even though both of them reconnect after two decades, their comfort level with each other was instantaneous and even though this wasn’t the sort of fiery chemistry I’m used to in romance novels these days, it was such a easy and charming relationship. Just like they felt at ease with each other, I enjoyed reading about their bonding with Danny’s kids and even the junior hockey players. It was a charming love story without much drama and I liked that a lot. 

As always, I love when previous characters show up for cameos and I enjoyed the Venom’s appearances. Tristan is a sweetheart and I love it whenever he shows up, and Morley was as always funny with his dudebro jokes even though he seemed grumpy sometimes. And I couldn’t stop laughing during all his talk about fanfics, rivals to lovers tropes and coffee shop AUs – it’s not the kind of nerdy talk you expect from jocks and I thought it was adorable. I’m hoping the next book is about him and we’ll get so much more of this. 

To conclude, this was the charming, drama free hockey romance with lovable characters that I didn’t know I needed. I had a sweet time while reading and it left me feeling good. And I’m already excited for the spinoff which was mentioned, though I can’t find the synopsis anywhere and hope it’s about the players I’m expecting. 

PS: Thank you to Carina Press and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

8 thoughts on “ARC Review: Trade Deadline by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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  1. A marine biologist! GOD I love romances in the genre “people with jobs,” even when the jobs DON’T involve dolphins. People with jobs plus romance plus sports plus dolphins feels like an embarrassment of riches. Adding this one to my list!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am just getting into romance, so I am going to have to try out some hockey romance soon! I’ll need to check out the Scoring Chances series since you liked it better. I used to work at an NHL hockey arena and let’s just say that there was a lot of me “stumbling” around trying to spot hockey players😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha that sounds awesome… I had never actually seen a hockey game before I started reading the romances, so these books pretty much led me to the game. You can also checkout Sarina Bowen’s books because she has both college hockey and NHL romance series and they are a lot of fun..

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve always meant to get into hockey but NEVER known where to start. and… I’m not saying this is it (because I figure that requires actually… you know… watching it) but this book does seem really cute. i’m usually not into romances but this book seems so calm based off what you said! marine biology is also SO FUN so i have to say i love that.

    (if you have any tips about where to start with hockey… 👀)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohh god hockey romance recs huh… if you like NA/college age stuff, you can go for the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy or The Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen.
      Or for adult, you can also start with HIM written by both these authors together. These were what brought me to the genre 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

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