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Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to...well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now. Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an ado Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to...well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now. Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…


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Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to...well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now. Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an ado Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to...well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now. Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…

30 review for Role Model

  1. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    *4.25 stars* For SURE my favorite in the series after Heated Rivalry (nothing holds a candle to that banger of a story), Role Model was a stand-out addition to the amazing Game Changers series. I'm so incredibly addicted to this series, it isn't even funny. Rachel Reid continues to impress with interesting pairings and storylines, and though allll the readers are starry-eyed over Ilya and Shane (I MEAN, I MEAN), Troy and Harris were an adorable pairing. Readers, I know you love a sunshine and gru *4.25 stars* For SURE my favorite in the series after Heated Rivalry (nothing holds a candle to that banger of a story), Role Model was a stand-out addition to the amazing Game Changers series. I'm so incredibly addicted to this series, it isn't even funny. Rachel Reid continues to impress with interesting pairings and storylines, and though allll the readers are starry-eyed over Ilya and Shane (I MEAN, I MEAN), Troy and Harris were an adorable pairing. Readers, I know you love a sunshine and grump pairing (*raises hand*), and we really get that here. Troy has a past and has made some epically bad decisions in his career, but I liked how the eternal optimist, Harris, made him come out of his shell. They were just so good together, and I liked their opposites-attract chemistry. Of course, Rachel Reid gave the readers what they wanted and we get a lot of Ilya (a more mature Ilya, I might add) and a ton of previous cast members, which kept me smiling from ear-to-ear. I didn't want to put this book down, and I shamelessly ignored my family all day to read. It was incredibly readable and well-paced. The story could have used a few loose ends tied up, IMO. I wanted more closure on the ex-boyfriend situation, and I think the relationship moved a little quickly once it started rolling, but, overall, this book was like a warm hug. Or like a warm glass of hot cider (wink, wink). I couldn't get enough, and I didn't want it to end. Rachel Reid, please never stop writing these adorable, sexy hockey players. I'd read this series *forever*. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|tiktok

  2. 5 out of 5

    Snjez

    This story is unbelievably sweet and romantic. Not what I expected at all. I loved Troy and Harris so much, they are such great characters. I think I need a Harris in my life. Troy calls him 'a walking ray of sunshine', and that couldn't be more true. The way their relationship developed and the pacing were just perfect. The side characters are pretty amazing, too. I loved that we got to see Ilya a lot in this one, as well as some other characters from previous books. But I also have to mention This story is unbelievably sweet and romantic. Not what I expected at all. I loved Troy and Harris so much, they are such great characters. I think I need a Harris in my life. Troy calls him 'a walking ray of sunshine', and that couldn't be more true. The way their relationship developed and the pacing were just perfect. The side characters are pretty amazing, too. I loved that we got to see Ilya a lot in this one, as well as some other characters from previous books. But I also have to mention Troy's new teammates, their coach, Harris's family and Troy's mum, because all of them were just as great. This was a true comfort read that made me smile the whole way through. I kept going back and re-reading parts of dialogues, which is something I did while reading Heated Rivalry, too. ********* Re-read 8/2021

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Reid

    My fifth book! A grumpy/sunshine romance with a redemption arc, a coming out story, a bit of found family, and a team puppy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol [Goodreads Addict]

    Role Model is book five in the Game Changers series by Rachel Reid. This is only the second book I’ve read in this series. I read book two and now this one. I intend to read the other books because I loved both the ones I read so much but haven’t had time yet. Reading series out of order seems to be a thing for me, even though it’s unintentional. Troy Barrett grew up with a toxic father. After going into professional hockey, he seemed to gravitate towards the same type of men. All while keeping Role Model is book five in the Game Changers series by Rachel Reid. This is only the second book I’ve read in this series. I read book two and now this one. I intend to read the other books because I loved both the ones I read so much but haven’t had time yet. Reading series out of order seems to be a thing for me, even though it’s unintentional. Troy Barrett grew up with a toxic father. After going into professional hockey, he seemed to gravitate towards the same type of men. All while keeping a huge secret about his sexuality. When he publicly accused his friend and teammate of the worst kind of behavior, he was immediately traded to the worst team in the NHL, the Ottawa Centaurs. Troy started his time with the Centaurs in much the same way, angry and distant. He didn’t plan on staying long. But little by little, with the help of his team mates and one very cute social media director, Troy found himself actually smiling, playing better, and re-evaluating everything. Harris Drover grew up on the family apple farm just outside of Ottawa. His family still runs the farm which also produces a very popular hard apple cider. Harris loves his job with the Centaurs taking care of their social media. He’s been a huge fan since he was a child. The day Troy came to join the team, Harris saw the hard shell on the outside but could also see the pain and conflict on the inside. It was obvious to him that there was so much more than Troy wanted anyone to know about lurking behind his eyes. Harris was attracted to him immediately. How could he not be?! But he was also determined to do whatever it took to try to ease his pain, to make him smile the beautiful smile he got a glimpse of. Harris and Troy become friends. Troy finds himself seeking Harris out more and more. And he begins to dream of a life like Harris’s, where he could live and love freely, out in the open. No more hiding. And he starts to think about Harris as much more than just a friend. As these two navigate the changes in their relationship, Troy is forced to struggle with his beliefs on whether to continue to take a stand against his former friend, or keep quiet as the upper powers want him to. All the while, he starts to feel like he might actually belong in Ottawa with the Centaurs. They are truly becoming a team, they support each other. And of course, there is Harris, right by his side the entire time. I loved this book. First, we get plenty of Ilya Rozanov from book two since he is the team captain of the Centaurs. I love that guy. Troy and Harris were so adorable together. I absolutely adored watching Troy’s transformation from a closed off, angry loner of a man, to this smiling, happy team player who was willing to stand up for what he believed was right. This book was sweet, sexy as heck, and absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to go back and read the books I missed. I also am beside myself with excitement for book six, The Long Game, which is going to be a continuation of Ilya and Shane’s story. I’m swooning already and Rachel hasn’t even finished writing the book yet. For more about this book and so many others, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carol...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shile

    Audiobook - 5 stars Gaahh! Thank book gods narrator changed. 3.5 stars I ended up liking it a lot but wasn't so much gaga over it. It was too sweet like book 1. I love me some sugar but this was too much. Harris was a sweetheart, too much sunshine and Troy was also a sweetheart even with his grumpiness. I kept seeing SpongeBob and Squidward in my head. 🤭🙈 Their relationship was okay and it happened gradually. I liked the way it developed. They got chemistry it kept me going. I was smiling every ti Audiobook - 5 stars Gaahh! Thank book gods narrator changed. 3.5 stars I ended up liking it a lot but wasn't so much gaga over it. It was too sweet like book 1. I love me some sugar but this was too much. Harris was a sweetheart, too much sunshine and Troy was also a sweetheart even with his grumpiness. I kept seeing SpongeBob and Squidward in my head. 🤭🙈 Their relationship was okay and it happened gradually. I liked the way it developed. They got chemistry it kept me going. I was smiling every time we got Harris on page. What a ray of sunshine. His positivity radiated off page and he pulled me in. I loved his family too. I liked the background story about sexual assault and I loved that it wasn't all rainbows, because what happens is that victims are rarely believed, the management and everyone else will always question the victim, it happens and I am glad it wasn't sugarcoated and all rosy. It is sad reality. Now Ilya, I love this Russian so much, buuuut! yes there is a but.. I feel like Rachel was doing fan service, bringing in a fan favorite to somehow carry the book. Let's face it, he was present in almost all the chapter to a point I was like is this Ilya's book? One biggest pet peeve is characters guiding the other characters towards their love. Why the fuck was Ilya guiding Troy towards Harris. Geez how did you know? I still love Ilya but his omnipresence got to me. Though a little bit rushed, their relationship was believable. I ended up enjoying their grumpy and sunshine moments. Overall, I liked it and it was another solid addition to the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nark

    me giving this 5 stars?😳 no one is more surprised than me. i really loved this! Harris and Troy were just wonderful characters. their grumpy/sunshine relationship was SO sweet. the ending was truly beautiful & made me tear up multiple times from happiness. i absolutely adored Troy. i loved how he stood up for what was right. his redemption arc was so well done! (also Ilya made this book even better)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Optimist ♰King's Wench♰

    I'm not EVEN going to perpetrate. I'm a smitten kitten when it comes to this series, so I may not be the most objective when it comes to it. I find even the ones that aren't as strong still fall in the comfort read category due to this Game Changer world that keeps hearts consistently in my eyes. Honestly, I barely read let alone review anymore mostly because almost everything I pick up I'm bored by or a I feel like I've read before but Role Model made me want to read again. For the first time i I'm not EVEN going to perpetrate. I'm a smitten kitten when it comes to this series, so I may not be the most objective when it comes to it. I find even the ones that aren't as strong still fall in the comfort read category due to this Game Changer world that keeps hearts consistently in my eyes. Honestly, I barely read let alone review anymore mostly because almost everything I pick up I'm bored by or a I feel like I've read before but Role Model made me want to read again. For the first time in a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg time I wanted to be with Troy and Harris more than I wanted to binge watch whatever, so thank you Rachel Reid and Carina Press. The reason I enjoyed this read so much was these characters. I'm a character person and we have two strong characters in Troy and Harris plus the ringer-Chiron. HAHA! I bet you thought I was going to say Ilya. To be fair, Ilya and Chiron do have some adorable moments together. Plus, Reid always does a great job sprinkling in the team dynamics that never fail to bring the levity and are what I crave from sports romance. But that last game scene will stick with my squishy marshmallow heart for some time to come. ❤️🏳️‍🌈🏒 I love stories of redemption and Troy Barrett needs to be redeemed like nobody's business. Because J.E.R.K. Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with his trying to mask his sexuality behind an aggressive, intimidating, bullying mask but just being sorry about his behaviors doesn't absolve him of the hurt he caused. The great thing about this story is Troy realizes this but not fully until he begins spending time with a literal chirpy, out and proud, ray of sunshine in Harris. This, of course, checks off another thing I love in my romances: protagonists being good for each other. Harris is happiest when everyone is happy. He would rather see the good in people than the bad. He enjoys or tries his damndest to enjoy every minute of his life. He makes lemonade out of ALL the citrus fruits and that sort of extroverted optimism is infectious and even a little tractor beamish for some. Troy finds himself in Harris' company sometimes not even knowing how he got there until he decides he likes being there and begins finding reasons to do so. He just has to decide he's comfortable there which is a bigger ask. There are some communication issues but they made sense to me when paired with Troy's perspective and past, plus the payoff is so worth it because once Troy comes into his own he's SPLENDID! He has that dry sense of humor that makes me bark with laughter. As a matter of fact, I have a feeling if he put his mind to it he could give Ilya a run for his money in the one-liner department. As you might have guessed, Role Model is more of a slow burn which worked for me given the closetedness and Troy's general self-image but there is one tongue-slap-your-brains-out sex scene coupled with nuclear levels of UST and a heaping dose of relationship development making for a winning recipe for me. So if you enjoy opposites attract romances that are hockey forward with an adorable puppy Role Model is another winner in the Game Changer series that you could conceivably read as a standalone but why would you want to do that? An ARC was provided by Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    MarianR

    4.4 ⭐ Ilya and Shane WHO? all Ilya and Shane fans: I'M KIDDING! Ilya and shane forever number 1. No one compares to my babies but damn this was good. I had fun, I laughed, I melted. I couldn't stop smiling at how adorable these guys are. Troy: I’m a wreck right now. Harris: Wanna drive around and look at Christmas lights? Harris is a sunny person. Troy is grumpy. Harris is expressive, friendly. Troy just wants to play hockey. When they start spending time together, Troy can't resist Harris's scanda 4.4 ⭐ Ilya and Shane WHO? all Ilya and Shane fans: I'M KIDDING! Ilya and shane forever number 1. No one compares to my babies but damn this was good. I had fun, I laughed, I melted. I couldn't stop smiling at how adorable these guys are. Troy: I’m a wreck right now. Harris: Wanna drive around and look at Christmas lights? Harris is a sunny person. Troy is grumpy. Harris is expressive, friendly. Troy just wants to play hockey. When they start spending time together, Troy can't resist Harris's scandalous laugh. And he starts wanting to spend time with him. The friendship between them is adorable. The steamy scenes are great. They were falling and I was with them. Harris's family is adorable. The team! The best team Troy could have been on. That Ilya is there is a plus. Speaking of my baby, his appearance in the book is GREAT and I loved every second of it. Ilya is amazing. 🤩🤩 Also i really liked seeing more about Troy's teammates and their lives. I liked how Rachel told us about fans and team members who would rather ignore horrible actions than believe the truth. But I am not surprised that it is true. The prestige and reputation of the teams makes them want to bury the truth at all costs. And the victims go unnoticed. Ahg. Troy's development from the beginning, being serious, to the end, joking and smiling is incredible. 💛 But even though I enjoyed it, I have a few niggles. It may include a little spoiler but not too much. The plane thing. I didn't really see it coming, but after it happened the guys carry on that fear and anxiety of flying again and well, why not go to therapy? what happened was horrible and I feel that if you are going to put this, the consequences and solutions must be in accordance with what happened. but I liked that Harris helped the team 💛 Troy leaving and returning with Harris bothered me a bit, it is understandable because what he lives is not easy for him but sometimes I wanted to shake him, I am not going to lie😂 And I'm greedy, but I would have liked to see a little more of Harris's dimensions. I love that he's happy, but I must be a masochist too because I wanted to see a more vulnerable side or him being upset, idk. *ignore me* Anyway, I loved it, I enjoyed it a lot, I'm sure you will love it if you read it (I hope so). Definitely a good book to have a GREAT time. ❤️ I highly recommend it! 🤩❤️🙈

  9. 4 out of 5

    Llakshmi

    4.65✨ …I LOVED THIS. SO MUCH. SOOOO MUCH. I can definitely see why everyone thinks this is the next best to heated rivalry. It’s so much fun and funny and wholesome. For starters, we have Troy who has recently been traded to Ottawa where he has to get adjusted to his new team mates, who thinks he is a dick by association to his previous team. And then we meet Harris the teams social media manager and just the most adorable person on the fucking planet. “There was a loud crash behind them, which 4.65✨ …I LOVED THIS. SO MUCH. SOOOO MUCH. I can definitely see why everyone thinks this is the next best to heated rivalry. It’s so much fun and funny and wholesome. For starters, we have Troy who has recently been traded to Ottawa where he has to get adjusted to his new team mates, who thinks he is a dick by association to his previous team. And then we meet Harris the teams social media manager and just the most adorable person on the fucking planet. “There was a loud crash behind them, which broke them apart. “What the hell?” Troy asked. “Uncle Elroy,” Harris said, dipping his head for another kiss. Troy sat up, nearly knocking Harris to the floor. “Fuck off. It’s not a fucking ghost. What was it really?” Harris glanced behind his shoulder and spotted the culprit on top of his dresser. “Ursula.” “Who’s Ursula? The ghost of your great-grandmother?” Troy was just everything😭 I haven’t read the previous books - or I don’t remember if I’ve read it since I can’t ever keep up with my reviews - so I don’t exactly know Troy from an “asshole” POV. But, from many moments in this book we come to know that Troy was more of a homophobic, bully in the previous books and his transformation here was phenomenal. We see him struggling to fit in and come to terms with being in a team that’s accepting and supportive and basically not toxic. He changes from the awkward and shy man to an awkward and shy man who smiles and speaks. Harris was just a ball of sunshine and rainbows. He reminded me so much of a hyper puppy and it’s the cutest thing. I loved seeing how supportive he was and how he helped Troy adjust to his new life. He knew exactly what Troy needed and he remained patient the entire time and I loved it so much. “You worked hard on it, though. You were up all night.” “Not all night.” “I woke up a million times last night, and every time you weren’t in bed.” Their relationship was so perfect. Like I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed reading about their development and banter. Troy coming out to the team was a moment that even I was proud of. I felt like such a proud mom🥲. He was very calm about his sexuality and I’m so happy to see that he made a big deal out of it in a more positive sense. “Just one thing,” Troy said. His voice was surprisingly steady. “I’m dating Harris. We’re together. I’m gay.” Next up. ILYA. My man was fucking spectacular in this book. I adored his relation with Troy and how he was completely chill and effortlessly brought him into the circle like he belonged. Their friendship was so meaningful in this book and it was something I had to mention. ✨“Welcome to Ottawa. I hope you like boring museums.” ✨“Was that your first gay bar?” “Yeah, it was.” Ilya burst out laughing. “Incredible.” Troy shook his head, but the absurdity of the whole night hit him all at once, and he started laughing too. “What did you think?” Ilya asked. “It had more NHL players than I was expecting.” Ilya’s laugh was a high, delirious-sounding giggle that only made Troy laugh harder.” Overall: read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Starla

    I loved this book so much. It's like the perfect comfort read. The beginning is heartbreaking and gloomy, then it gradually gets lighter, and by the end it's just so comforting and indulgent that I couldn't let go. I believe the general consensus is that Heated Rivalry is in a league of its own, but this one comes very very very close. Troy and Harris have a lovely journey from the opposite of a meet-cute to being very passionate and romantic together, with some fun banter and awkwardly cute I loved this book so much. It's like the perfect comfort read. The beginning is heartbreaking and gloomy, then it gradually gets lighter, and by the end it's just so comforting and indulgent that I couldn't let go. I believe the general consensus is that Heated Rivalry is in a league of its own, but this one comes very very very close. Troy and Harris have a lovely journey from the opposite of a meet-cute to being very passionate and romantic together, with some fun banter and awkwardly cute coffee deliveries along the way. Troy is pretty broey and grumpy, but unexpectedly instrospective and sensitive. At the beginning of the book he's hurting so deeply with no one to lean on, and that was just painful to see. A lot of his behaviour is a defense mechanism, and some of it comes from surrounding himself with the wrong people and then going along with what they do. I loved his snarky attitude, but also how much he learns about himself, how much he matures, and how he stays accountable for his actions. Harris is kind of a regular guy who manages to stand his ground, and even stand out, around all these hockey players. He has a lot of personality, a good sense of who he is, and a great sense of humour. He makes almost everyone feel at ease, which proves to be very useful with Troy. I liked how out and proud he is, how goofy he can be, and I really really wanted him to get the hot pouting hockey player. Troy is very aware of Harris from the first time they meet, but he's closeted, and confused, and convinced he's not good enough for him. Harris has kind of had a tiny crush on Troy for a while, and he believes Troy is way too hot, and perfect, and well...too straight for him. I can't describe how much I loved these two together. Troy is just completely lost having nice and supportive people (like Harris) around him and he has some trouble adapting to it. At the beginning it's one step forward, two steps backward, but it never gets frustrating. It's kind of a slow burn, filled with cute moments, but then a very intense situation gives them the push they needed, and it gets very steamy. They have a lot of chemistry, they both like it a little rough, and they're both very eager, which leads to extreme hotness. Like, some of the hottest in the series. It's pretty low angst, at least in terms of the relationship, and the ending is just delightful and very swoony. I have to mention the writing, which is one of the reasons I love this series. The prose is crisp, amusing, and very effective. The story has a very nice flow. The characters and the relationships are very well-written and nuanced, the most shining example being how Troy's feelings about his ex were handled, and how much insight he gains about the relationship as he moves on. The on-page hockey was great, and it added a lot to characterisation. The book definitely speaks a lot about the effects of toxic masculinity, but it's organic and it's never preachy. I enjoyed Troy's relationship with his mom, the cameos from the other protagonists, and the easter eggs about Ilya and Shane, which were great, but not overwhelming. Oh, and cute puppy alert! Chiron is kind of a star in his own right and I might be easily bought, but I loved any scene with him. To sum up - Role Model is a wonderful book, Troy and Harris are one of my favourite couples, and now I don't know what to do with myself until the next one. *I have received an ARC from Netgalley and Carina Press, and I am leaving an honest and unbiased review*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    The tears caught me by surprise. Dammit Rachel. The Game Changer series by Rachel Reid has long solidified itself as one of my favorites. Ab-rific covers aside, these books pack so much substance, and Role Model was no exception. We've caught a glimpse of Troy before in previous books, and his reputation wasn't the best but one could quickly tell there was more to him than met the eye. We officially meet Troy during a major low moment for him. He's been dumped by his secret boyfriend for another man The tears caught me by surprise. Dammit Rachel. The Game Changer series by Rachel Reid has long solidified itself as one of my favorites. Ab-rific covers aside, these books pack so much substance, and Role Model was no exception. We've caught a glimpse of Troy before in previous books, and his reputation wasn't the best but one could quickly tell there was more to him than met the eye. We officially meet Troy during a major low moment for him. He's been dumped by his secret boyfriend for another man, one who is Out, and got into a fight with his best friend Dallas Kent, which not only resulted in the end of the friendship but in Troy losing his position of a great team and being traded to a scrappy one. To make it worse, his reputation has been strongly linked to his ex-friend Dallas, an all around terrible human, and his chances of making connections with his new teammates are extremely low. Enter Harris. As Grumpy meets Sunshine, we get to watch Troy break out of his shell, overcome some of his self-imposed mental blocks, in truly excellent slow burn fashion. I love how Reid d0esn't shy away from heavier real world issues, and it's so refreshing to see it, especially in Hockey romances. I'm so excited to see where this series go next, and if you need me I'll be counting down the days until "The Long Game."

  12. 5 out of 5

    ~~ preeti~~

    5" I just met the best non-player MC of this series "💫  This was not the most awaited book of the year for me. Not even the most awaited book of the second half of the year, maybe because I was disappointed with the last few releases of this series. So, it shockingly surprised me that I got hooked to this book as soon as I started reading it. I just couldn't stop myself. I love.. love this Grumpy/sunshine romance with a great redemption arc and an awesome coming out story.  Summary- If you have rea 5" I just met the best non-player MC of this series "💫  This was not the most awaited book of the year for me. Not even the most awaited book of the second half of the year, maybe because I was disappointed with the last few releases of this series. So, it shockingly surprised me that I got hooked to this book as soon as I started reading it. I just couldn't stop myself. I love.. love this Grumpy/sunshine romance with a great redemption arc and an awesome coming out story.  Summary- If you have read 'Tough guy', you remember Troy Barrett. He was one of the shit-talking, homophobic who was shitty by association as he was Kent Dallas's best friend, in Ryan's Toronto team.  Surprise! Surprise! In reality, he is a closeted gay player who comes from a troubled family and hides his anxiety and sexuality, behind this homophobic, nasty facade. After a terrible encounter with his teammate/best friend, Kent Dallas gets him swapped to the Ottawa team.  This encounter added fuel to his already terrible reputation and made him pretty unpopular among other team members, media, and fans. Then he meets the new team's social media manager, Harris who wants to redo this image. Characterisation- We all agree that Miss Reid writes some of the most wonderful sports MCs in MM romance. But this book resolved my only complaint with her two previous books, a delightful, well-written, non-player love interest. Troy is a grump, horrible in social situations, and is made more cranky by his exchange to the Ottawa team and his recent break-up. Troy hates ice cream 🙀🙀or anything which is not Hockey. On the contrary, Harris loves everything and even small things fascinate him. He is funny, open, and a true sweetheart. Moreover, we get more detailed side characters this time. Lots of players and an excellent found family.  And, not to forget the team captain, Ilya Rozanov.  Romance- This book is a classic case of opposite attracts. Troy hated people and anything to do with them. He gets uncomfortable in most social situations. He is also struggling with self-loathing due to his past behaviour. And, he had a pretty bad family life. Whereas Harris loves everything, likes to have fun, and comes from a big happy family. They were both curious about each other from the start, but the relationship development is perfectly paced and loaded with mutual pining and hottttttt. But, their journey together was not easy because Troy was closeted plus he was trying hard to redeem himself and be a better person(that's never easy!!). Things I absolutely loved about this book- 👉The grumpy/sunshine trope was perfectly done. 👉Both the MCs are well developed, I loved the character development and redemption arc of Troy. 👉And, the goofy, always smiling, sunshine Harris. He is caring and a true sweetheart. Oh!!! I love him, he is the best non-player MC in this series. 👉 Besides, we get so much of new and much-improved version of Ilya(yes, I know, we didn't know there was even room for improvement.)🙊🙊Ilya with a 🐶, just imagine. Also, I feel some incidents in this book should/will coincide with Long game. 👉Plus for the first time, Rachel Reid attempted to bring an ugly side of Hockey bull fans. And, how the NHL/ super leagues handle the sensitive issues in the case of players. 👉 We get a lot of sports time. And, we get to see how a struggling team gains confidence under a great leader. 😸😸 👉  Harris's family was pretty awesome plus I love all the members of Centaurs Ottawa team. I also liked Coach Wiebe, I feel we are going to get more of him in the future. Niggle- This book is perfect and if I was not a  die-hard fan of 'Heated Rivalry', this must have been my favourite book in this series. My only issue is with the audiobook by Cooper North. He was not always good at switching voices for MCs. But otherwise, this is the best sports romance book I have read in a while. This book can be read as a standalone but we have lots of appearances from MCs of the other books(hey!! It's NHL and Troy needed all the support he could get to come out ), so, you may enjoy it more if you have read the other books of the series.  Recommended to every MM romance reader,  I feel this book has a broad appeal.❤

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rosabel

    This book was the cutest of them all!! And it had Ilya featuring my pants on fire and Shane. 🔥🥵❤ I wasn't expecting what Rachel gave us in this installment, the other books have been full of angst and I feel this one did too, but Harris was such a marshmallow that it minimized the effect at the end. I loved him, how he treated life after a bad disease, how he took every moment and how he loved people and life, he was inspiring, sometimes too perfect, and as the book says: compact. WE NEEDED A COM This book was the cutest of them all!! And it had Ilya featuring my pants on fire and Shane. 🔥🥵❤ I wasn't expecting what Rachel gave us in this installment, the other books have been full of angst and I feel this one did too, but Harris was such a marshmallow that it minimized the effect at the end. I loved him, how he treated life after a bad disease, how he took every moment and how he loved people and life, he was inspiring, sometimes too perfect, and as the book says: compact. WE NEEDED A COMPACT CHARACTER IN DA HOUSE!! 👐🏻👐🏻 Troy, high school musical is that you? Was also a surprisingly good character, what I loved from him is that as I reader I got to see him grow and that was beautifully done. And he was really brave at the end, I loved how his coming out got described, it was realistic to me, steps by steps and with each step he got braver. Loved to see it! 🥰🥰 My issues with this one were two: - The plane thing, as my friend Marian says it did came out of nowhere, but my problem is that we got not content warning. Being afraid to fly is a thing and it can trigger someone, specially when you are describing a bad experience like an almost crash. It needed to be warned. - There was a line in the story that felt unnecessary, spoilers ahead, Troy slept with Harris and the next day they talked and decided to be friends (wich wasn't clear to me at the time but it was mentioned later), then he wins a game and fucks him again and now they are boyfriends. This all happened over a week? That back and forth felt weird to me, but it was a small thing. 🤭🤭 It was a really lovely book, second best without a doubt. Besides... "There was something very unsettling about an anxious Ilya Rozanov". Yep, there is. Can't wait for that one though. 🤭🤭❤

  14. 4 out of 5

    moonlight ☾ [semi-hiatus]

    4.5 stars ☆ i adored Troy and Harris sm, as individuals and as a couple. 🥺 my heart hurt for Troy bc of what he had to deal with for doing the right thing about calling out his ex-best friend for being a rapist but he’s the one who gets hated on?? unfortunately, i know it’s pretty common irl for lots of fans to side with their idol, even when they had done or said fucked up things, but i’m glad Troy wasn’t caught up with the fame to be ignorant about it. seeing Troy’s growth was one of my favorit 4.5 stars ☆ i adored Troy and Harris sm, as individuals and as a couple. 🥺 my heart hurt for Troy bc of what he had to deal with for doing the right thing about calling out his ex-best friend for being a rapist but he’s the one who gets hated on?? unfortunately, i know it’s pretty common irl for lots of fans to side with their idol, even when they had done or said fucked up things, but i’m glad Troy wasn’t caught up with the fame to be ignorant about it. seeing Troy’s growth was one of my favorite parts of this story and i loved how Harris brought him out of his shell. THESE TWO WERE ADORABLE, i was smiling throughout the book but also crying bc god when 😭 ILYA MY BB, i loved seeing him in this and, even tho Shane only had one cameo, my heart was literally like 💗💘💞💓 when they both appeared together. i’m so fucking excited for their second book, y’all have no idea. 😩 ALSO PLS, the way the whole team was literally whipped by the puppy? so cute!! honestly, my only complaint was (view spoiler)[the way Troy kept thinking about Adrian in certain moments. i know he was in love so you can’t really shut that off easily and i wouldn’t have minded it in the beginning but when it was 64% in, him and Harris were having sex and he thought about how the ldr he had with Adrian was why he never had that much sex while they were still in a relationship just puts me off 😭 i still loved Troy and Harris’ romance tho and the way it developed, it’s just that one thing i was meh about. (hide spoiler)] just a few Troy x Harris moments that had me crying with laughter: ↠ “I’ve been a Yoshi man since I was, like, six years old.” “He’s my second choice,” Troy conceded. “We’re basically the same person!” “Twins,” Troy agreed flatly. ↠ “You know what would cool your mouth down?” Harris asked, making the snowman ball dance around in the air. “A peppermint cake pop.” “No it wouldn’t. And stop making it be, like, alive.” Harris turned the snowman so he was looking it straight in the eyes. “I’m naming him Gordon.” “Fuck off. Just eat it.” ↠ “Oh yeah. I’ll introduce you to Theo sometime. He’s great.” “Theo?” “The guy in the suit.” Harris narrowed his eyes playfully. “You do know there’s someone in that suit, right?” “Shut up.” ↠ Harris laughed. “Mr. Neck-Neck was with me through thick and thin. He’s true blue.” “I’m sorry he had to witness what we did last night. Um. On top of him.” Troy propped himself up on an elbow and grinned. “Was that a threesome, technically?” brb while im off to reread HR bc i miss Shane and Ilya so much 🥰

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cadiva

    More stars needed! Full review to come. Sooooo, if bad boy redemption arcs with a side-order of needing to find self-forgiveness are your thing, this book is gonna hit that perfectly. Troy Barrett hasn't been a good boy, in fact, he's been an absolute wanker at times (he's a secondary, small part character in Ryan's book Common Goal and as we meet him, he's been transferred to Ottawa after a major bust up with his former best friend the sleazy as f*ck Dallas Kent. But, as is often the case with guy More stars needed! Full review to come. Sooooo, if bad boy redemption arcs with a side-order of needing to find self-forgiveness are your thing, this book is gonna hit that perfectly. Troy Barrett hasn't been a good boy, in fact, he's been an absolute wanker at times (he's a secondary, small part character in Ryan's book Common Goal and as we meet him, he's been transferred to Ottawa after a major bust up with his former best friend the sleazy as f*ck Dallas Kent. But, as is often the case with guys like this, his outward homophobia and running with the crowd hides not only a secret about his sexual identity, but also a powerful need to feel like he belongs. His mum is awesome, his dad is everything wrong about alpha male parenting, a wannabe ice hockey player who never made it big, a bigot and a bully, Troy's grown up under his overbearing presence for most of his life. This is a really simple plot in essence, but Rachel spins it into a deeply expansive and complex narrative which takes in more than just Troy's need to better himself. It throws in interference at the top level when Troy continues with his campaign to support the anonymous but not silent victims of his former best friend Kent and it's wrapped inside a plot of self-discovery, of healing, of finding out that your team having your back and being genuinely supportive is priceless. And it's about love. Not only Troy learning to love who he is and where his career has taken him, but also his love for Harris, who is just an awesomely crafted character. Add in the absolute sarcastic and ever brilliant Ilya Rozanov (view spoiler)[(and I CANNOT wait for book six and finally see the world discover him and Shane Hollander's near decade long relationship!) (hide spoiler)] and a ridiculously cute dog called Chiron and this book is just everything I want in a sports romance. #ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

  16. 4 out of 5

    Layla

    Quite easily my second favorite of the series because Shane and Ilya will forever hold the #1 spot. I loved EVERYTHING about this book. 1. The characters: Grumpy assholish Troy who qas just afraid of coming out, heartbroken over his boyfriend breaking up with him and in need of a good hard cuddle. #CanYouSeeMe Sweet sweet Harris who is just a ball of sunshine and rainbows. He talks too much, laughs too loud and is just a ray of hope and happiness. And a great cuddler... #HugItOut 2. The Plot: Oppo Quite easily my second favorite of the series because Shane and Ilya will forever hold the #1 spot. I loved EVERYTHING about this book. 1. The characters: Grumpy assholish Troy who qas just afraid of coming out, heartbroken over his boyfriend breaking up with him and in need of a good hard cuddle. #CanYouSeeMe Sweet sweet Harris who is just a ball of sunshine and rainbows. He talks too much, laughs too loud and is just a ray of hope and happiness. And a great cuddler... #HugItOut 2. The Plot: Opposites attract, Grumpy/sunshine, Coming out, Found Family, discovering the real person behind the persona... all of these were here and they were a delight to read about. #YouComplementMe 3. The Romance: Slowish burn, infatuation, friendship and attrraction. These guys warmed my heart with how their relationship progressed. #PerfectCombo 4. Steam-o-meter: Steamy! #HawtAF 5. Angst-o-meter: no relationship angst, mild angst from the outside. #FeelGood 6. The Ending: HFN and I suspect we will see glimpses of them in the coming books!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Papie

    4.5 stars! I loved Troy and Harris! Especially Harris. Harris is happy country boy, out and proud, loves everyone and everyone loves him. He loves dogs, and cider, and his job with the Ottawa hockey team. Troy is a reformed asshole, who hid his sexuality for years behind a horrible persona, and was best friends with the worst guy in the league. He gets traded to Ottawa and his life is turned upside down. I loved them together, a perfect grumpy-sunshine pair. I loved the characters on the hockey 4.5 stars! I loved Troy and Harris! Especially Harris. Harris is happy country boy, out and proud, loves everyone and everyone loves him. He loves dogs, and cider, and his job with the Ottawa hockey team. Troy is a reformed asshole, who hid his sexuality for years behind a horrible persona, and was best friends with the worst guy in the league. He gets traded to Ottawa and his life is turned upside down. I loved them together, a perfect grumpy-sunshine pair. I loved the characters on the hockey team, as usual amazingly real, all the way to the most secondary ones. Special kudos to Reid for not trying to make the Quebecois players super cliché and not try to make them speak weird horrible French. Nothing felt off, and that’s a rare thing in hockey romances. This is definitely one of my favourite MM series. I’m a huge hockey fan and I love sports romances in general. All those sweaty muscles. One tiny niggle: I adore Ilya. He is my favourite book boyfriend. But while I enjoyed every scene he was in, there was A LOT of Ilya, and it just reminded me constantly that I’d rather be reading his book, and it took me a out of the Troy-Harris romance every time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    cal ♡

    DNF @ 75% harris is too good for my taste. i don't like it. also, the fact that i didn't swoon is the biggest downside for me. i loved troy as he struggled to be his better self but harris being this good and wholesome through and through is just not for my cup of tea. i found him adorable at first but wasn't gripped by his character as a whole. i want some growth, layers, and nuances when it comes to my characters. lastly, i feel like a lot happened but at the same time nothing really much happe DNF @ 75% harris is too good for my taste. i don't like it. also, the fact that i didn't swoon is the biggest downside for me. i loved troy as he struggled to be his better self but harris being this good and wholesome through and through is just not for my cup of tea. i found him adorable at first but wasn't gripped by his character as a whole. i want some growth, layers, and nuances when it comes to my characters. lastly, i feel like a lot happened but at the same time nothing really much happened. if i swooned, i'm definitely sing a different tune. be it known that this rant is based only up to 75% of the book. maybe something after that? maybe. but i wish i cared. thank you next! happy others loved this though!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    3.5 stars I love a good sunshine and grump pairing and felt that Troy and Harris were adorable together, and just the right amount of opposite to make their attraction plausible and sweet. I don't think it's fair to compare or even measure every book in this series with my all time favorite Heated Rivalry, But unconsciously I do compare them, and nothing can measure up, it's just not possible. BUT books like Role Model stand on their own feet, as solid additions, easy reads, and wonderful MM roman 3.5 stars I love a good sunshine and grump pairing and felt that Troy and Harris were adorable together, and just the right amount of opposite to make their attraction plausible and sweet. I don't think it's fair to compare or even measure every book in this series with my all time favorite Heated Rivalry, But unconsciously I do compare them, and nothing can measure up, it's just not possible. BUT books like Role Model stand on their own feet, as solid additions, easy reads, and wonderful MM romances that should be on anyone's tbr. It had everything I enjoy about this genre, a solid romance, with a couple that had real chemistry, Great supporting characters, with witty and smart dialogues. And the sport was actually part of the story. I'm always so disappointed when sports romances have nothing to do with sport. And I actually loved what the author did with Troy's story, especially considering where he came from. Also I genuinely liked him from the very first page, and I loved it even more that he didn't 'slip up' once the entire book. Bonus points went to the many scenes with Ilya, since he was the captain of Troy's new team, and my anticipation for the next book went even higher. ___________________________________ I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author. You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wendys Wycked Words

    Absolutely loved it... Almost as good as Ilya and Shane's book... Almost .. Absolutely loved it... Almost as good as Ilya and Shane's book... Almost ..

  21. 4 out of 5

    ellie

    this story felt very personal to me. immediately this book hooked me bcos of how i was once in a situation just like Troy was. i haven’t read much from this series in a long while, so a lot of details were pretty fuzzy, but the character of Dallas Kent was definitely someone i remembered. a rapist that everyone defended— bcos he’s a good guy, bcos he’d never do such a thing, bcos women are liars. but Troy, despite the man being his best friend, believed the victims and shunned his best friend... this story felt very personal to me. immediately this book hooked me bcos of how i was once in a situation just like Troy was. i haven’t read much from this series in a long while, so a lot of details were pretty fuzzy, but the character of Dallas Kent was definitely someone i remembered. a rapist that everyone defended— bcos he’s a good guy, bcos he’d never do such a thing, bcos women are liars. but Troy, despite the man being his best friend, believed the victims and shunned his best friend... and got shunned himself in the process. it was truly maddening and bizarre how similar this situation was to one of my own that happened to me about three years ago. i’ll keep it short and simple: a boy i had grown up with, who was one of my best friends, who i thought i knew like the back of my hand and trusted with my life, sexually assaulted one of our friends at a party. and when it came to light about what he did... nothing changed. i mean for like three days the following week at college there was gossip and whispering, excitement that something *shocking* had happened. then nothing. it was like he hadn’t done anything at all. the rest of our friend group still laughed and joked with him, sat with him at lunches, walked to class with him, studied in the library with him. and i was... idk how to even describe it. it was like i was in a goddam alternate universe. everyone just went on like he hadn’t done something so abhorrent. like he wasn’t a disgusting human being. in the end, me and my other best friend were the only two people who actively disassociated ourselves with him bcos i could not bring myself to pretend like he hadn’t sexually assaulted someone. something fierce in my chest couldn’t allow me to act like everything was okay even if that would have made my life socially easier. and the two of us were treated like the outsiders. like we had done something wrong. we were being dramatic. we were blowing things out of proportion. we were attention-seeking. according to all of our other ‘friends.’ and it was at that moment, the first moment in my life, where i realised the people i thought i knew so well, people id grown up with and shared every memory with, weren’t the people who i thought they were. being treated like the pariah for standing up for what you believe in isn’t wrong. i don’t regret a thing bcos i know, three years later, that i made the right choice, even if it was really hard to grapple with the reality of not having as many friends and eliminating people from my life who had been a constant presence since i was a young child. so, when reading this, immediately, my heart hurt for Troy. it’s a unique situation to be in, so you can imagine how shocked i was to be able to understand literally everything he was going through. his loneliness and uncertainty, even tho he made the right choice while the people who were supposed to love and support him were trying to convince him he made the wrong one. and not only that, but Troy lost a friend too, someone he thought he knew and cared for... only to find out that person who was such a huge part of his life was a monster. so i knew i was gonna be in for a bumpy but beautiful ride. like damn, Troy made my eyes damp the whole time i was reading😭 he was just having the shittest time for standing up against an abuser. it just made me so angry and so sad, god. but Harris brought so much light and sunshine to the story, he really was the perfect balance to Troy. i have always had a thing for MCs who love making the other smile or crave their smiles, so i was a sucker for every smile Troy graced Harris with who in turn just melted at the sight. watching Troy come out of his shell was so heartwarming. i was just smiling so much. he was honestly my favourite character (and low-key is rivalling Ilya for my top spot😌). i think bcos i was once in a similar situation as him, that i immediately just connected to him— his vulnerability was something i truly admired about him. he just deserved the world, he deserved happiness and he finally got it. with a team who appreciated him. fans who adored him and Harris who loved all of him. and Harris🥰 Harris was just so sweet. this big ray of sunshine, wanting to drive around to look at Christmas lights and eat cake pops. who brought light, warmth and comfort to a person who deserved to be loved the way Harris loved him. they truly were like two missing pieces of a puzzle, they fit together so effortlessly. the way their romance blossomed was truly perfect. like the pacing was spot on. it was just the right amount of slowburn, of soft pining moments then intense, palpable ones. their adorable friendship bloomed into a beautiful romance and i swooooned. i was actually annoyed when i realised i had finished this😭 i was kinda sulking and just kept rereading the final few pages bcos i didn’t want to let either of them go. and this was surprisingly funny omg. i giggled a lot (and it wasn’t just Ilya who made me laugh😉) the whole cake pop scene made me laugh so hard, i wasn’t expecting to find this book amusing. oh and the scene with Mr. Neck-Neck? idk why i cackled so loud. it was the perfect balance of humour— nothing OTT or obnoxious. i think i could gush about this book all day. so i need to stop. the cameos didn’t disappoint either— Ilya in particular. i forgot how much i love that motherfucker. his deadpan humour. his snark. his protectiveness. his calm nature. his love for Shane Hollander🥺 i low-key wanna go back and reread their book bcos i love them sm. their little scuffle on the ice filled with their weird sexual tension was ✨everything✨ and i loved the cameo of my lil baby Ryan. eurgh i love that man🥰 if i remember rightly, we’re getting another Shane and Ilya book eventually? bcos i need more of them in my life. even if it’s like 400 pages of them doing domestic shit, i want it💅🏻 “I love you,” Troy said. It was terrible timing; he had red eyes, a snotty nose, a hoarse voice, and they were both at work, but he couldn’t help it. He loved Harris, and he needed him to know.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Representation: gay main character, m/m romance, side queer characters Content warnings: sexual content, alcohol consumption, refrenced sexual assault, homophobia arc provided by publisher through netgalley /// It’s that time of year again: a new Gamme Changers book is released and I try to convince everyone to read the whole series. At its core, the trope of Role Model is grumpy/sunshine. Or to be more specific, Troy has been traded to the Ottawa team after calling out his team mate/best friend Dal Representation: gay main character, m/m romance, side queer characters Content warnings: sexual content, alcohol consumption, refrenced sexual assault, homophobia arc provided by publisher through netgalley /// It’s that time of year again: a new Gamme Changers book is released and I try to convince everyone to read the whole series. At its core, the trope of Role Model is grumpy/sunshine. Or to be more specific, Troy has been traded to the Ottawa team after calling out his team mate/best friend Dallas Kent who has had recent accusations of sexual assault. During his time on the team he put up a front where he was as disrespectful as Kent, as well as a homophobic front to hide his own sexuality and fit in with his homophobic team mates. When he gets traded to Ottawa, he meets the social media manager Harris, an apple farmer who makes no effort to hide his sexuality from the Ottawa team. There were so many things I loved about this book. First, I think the pacing was spectacular. It wasn’t technically a slow burn thoug hit does take time for Harris and Troy to become a couple. They naturally fell for each other in a way the reader easily believed. It was great to see Troy open up and become an overall better person. I liked how good spirited the Ottawa team was, a big change for Troy from the Toronto team. You could see the c hange in Troy when he was given a much healthier enviromewnt, even his coach on the Ottawa team was a big change for him. Ilya, from Heated Rivalry, was also a big part of the book as he is the captain of the team, and I really enjoyed their interactions. I hope that almost friendship appears in The Long Game. Harris was also a wonderful character. I like how his sunshine to Troy’s grumpy also had him being very open about being gay as a juxtopostion to Troy being deeply in the closet for years. It was a good way to show the transition between the two teams: Toronto where a homophobic culture was poluting the team vs Ottawa that, while not having an out player. was much more welcoming and was proven by Harris’s ease in being out that a grew of NHL players, enough to knock Troy to his feet. As I said, I enjoyed their romance a lot. It was an overall really sweet romance, probably the sweetest of the current releases of the series. I’d probably place it third in my overall ranking. As usual, I adore this series and look forward to the next, and hopefully any more that follow it as well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    3.5 stars**

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gustaf

    This is by far my favorite book in the series and by far I mean by far. Like miles ahead of the other books. As many of you might know by now, my journey with this series has been bumpy and I've had some controversial opinions (Heated Rivalry being my least favorite book), but I'm so happy that I pushed through so I got to read this amazing book. I loved Troy's redemption. It's beyond well done and I was there for every second of it. And I fell in love with Harris. I love a nice guy getting the This is by far my favorite book in the series and by far I mean by far. Like miles ahead of the other books. As many of you might know by now, my journey with this series has been bumpy and I've had some controversial opinions (Heated Rivalry being my least favorite book), but I'm so happy that I pushed through so I got to read this amazing book. I loved Troy's redemption. It's beyond well done and I was there for every second of it. And I fell in love with Harris. I love a nice guy getting the happy he deserves and Harris, he's a really nice guy. Together, Troy and Harris was amazing. The only thing that bothered me was Ilya getting too much page time, it was like he was a third MC at times and well, honestly I couldn't help feeling like the author did this because of him being the most liked character in the series. I have a hard time seeing any of the other characters getting that much page time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mariam reading Romance

    “Thank you,” Troy said, his voice low and battered. “Thank me?” Harris said with a tired laugh. “I was just trying to keep up.” A wide, unguarded smile stretched across Troy’s face, and it sent a jolt through Harris that felt more powerful than his orgasm. Because he did that—he made Troy Barrett smile like that. Somehow, Harris had earned that, and he realized, in that moment, how fiercely he would protect that smile. How fiercely he would protect Troy. I think it's safe to say I have quite a jo “Thank you,” Troy said, his voice low and battered. “Thank me?” Harris said with a tired laugh. “I was just trying to keep up.” A wide, unguarded smile stretched across Troy’s face, and it sent a jolt through Harris that felt more powerful than his orgasm. Because he did that—he made Troy Barrett smile like that. Somehow, Harris had earned that, and he realized, in that moment, how fiercely he would protect that smile. How fiercely he would protect Troy. I think it's safe to say I have quite a journey with this book. Game Changer series ✨ 1: Game Changer - Have not yet Read 2: Heated Rivalry - 4/5 ⭐ 3: Tough Guy - Dropped 4: Common Goal - Dropped 5: Role Model - 3/5 ⭐ I had my bloody toes crossed for this book because I would've been real pissed and really mad at myself if I dared dnf this book, considering SHANE AND ILYA'S BOOK ARE NEXT HOLY FUCK IM NOT OKAY. Yes I'm trash for those two, FIGHT ME. And surprisingly, this was a lot better than I expected at least. Anything would be better than to drop this book. First thing to note is: This was a lot less spicy than I expected and wanted and I'm still not sure how I feel about that. And also because literally nothing happened, I mean feelings deepened but Nothing Physical happened at least 50% in this book. You can picture me in your mind just reading this book and snapping my fingers at it and just muttering Just Get To It People! And Honestly, yes, I like this couple and my respect for Troy is unwavered. But nothing, and I mean NOBODY can outshine Ilya Rozanov and the TINIEST, itty bittiest moments we got of Ilya and Shane's Glory. Just the mention of those two had me WEAK. “So, you’re not straight?” Troy asked carefully. “I am bisexual. It is not anyone’s business, but, yes.” “I heard the rumor that Shane Hollander is gay. I don’t know if it’s true, but...that’s what I heard.” “Did you.” Something clicked in Troy’s head. “You guys are close, huh?” Ilya started walking faster. “That is enough sharing for tonight, Barrett.” I admit, I thought he was a bit cold in the beginning, although very reasonable and had his own point, I was still taken off guard by his entry to this book. But of course, Rachel doesn't dissapoint when it comes to Ilya and he, ever so beautifully, grew warm and and it was magnificent to see Ilya and Troy's friendship and trust grow stronger and deeper. Everyone deserves a friend like Ilya in their lives. And you know what else other people deserve? This hockey support team. Not going to lie, my heart broke for Troy at the beginning. He was absolutely shattered, a shell of a being and puddled into stray pieces. He was at a point in this book were he was so low and so sad and so goddamn lonely, and seeing other people shrug him off, call him names, ignore him, everyone was basically indifferent or rude to him and it made me sick to my stomach reading that. You see, I have so much respect for Troy. Yes he made mistake, he made fun of people and called them names and degraded them and did a lot of fucked up shit. It wasn't okay and there's no excuse for that. But you know what? He owned up to those mistakes. He apologized for them, sincerely, he looked at his mistakes and looked for ways to do better, to be better and did those things. He took everyday and as painful as if was, where at times it felt like it was him against the world, he worked on himself everyday knowing that what he used to do wasn't okay. He made himself a better man, he constantly improved and looked for ways to improve himself, to improve to be a better person, a reliable friend, and a strong ally. A trust worthy teammate and a person you know you would be there for you no matter what. And that right there? Is so much more than what the rest of this world can say or contribute to. That takes balls, that takes courage and bravery and most of all? That takes honesty. It's a simple concept but you don't realize how hard being honest is, and even harder to be honest yourself. And it unmanned me to see him and all I can say is, I am so proud of Troy. He is a character that will not be forgotten. Troy had been hiding behind homophobic jokes for so long that they’d become effortless to make. Effortless to laugh at. But Troy had had an actual gay teammate and he hadn’t even tried to get to know him. To reach out. To help him feel accepted and welcome. What a wasted fucking opportunity. Therefore moving onto my point of Ottawa's Teammates, it was rough and hard and really frustrating in the beginning to see Troy thrust into their direction and can just feel everyone's disdain and skepticism about him. But you know what? It astonishes me even after reading this book how they made an effort for Troy. Even at times they were uncomfortable or didn't trust him, they invited him into special places with special of their lives and opened up about their life and experiences with him. And it was beautiful to see how that layer of trust and sportsmanship and friendship thicken into something beautiful. But I personally have to say, Gen can go fuck her self and rot in hell because her personality? Her presence? Fucking disgusting. Ilya sighed and tilted his head back against the wall behind him. “I am tired of losing, Barrett.” “Well, you came to the wrong fucking team.” Troy, like pretty much the entire NHL, had no idea why Ilya Rozanov had chosen to sign with Ottawa when he’d become a free agent. He could have gone almost anywhere. Instead he chose one of the worst teams in the league, in a quiet city that got about a billion tons of snow every winter. For a guy who loved sports cars, nightclubs and women, it seemed like a weird choice. We only for snippets for Ilya and Shane. More of Ilya and literally just a sentence appearance of Shane and I kid you not, I HAD TO RESTART MY HEART and slap my face multiple times just to get myself calmed down and not smile so hard It literally ate my face. And this right here people??? Shane Hollander shoved Ilya hard against the glass, and Troy almost laughed at the way Ilya was grinning about it. Ilya shoved Hollander back, which made Hollander’s linemate, Hayden Pike, step in Oh fuck, im SOOOOOOO gonna have to restart my heart after that sequel. A weird sputter of laughter burst out of Troy. Dammit, now his eyes were damp. “This is for you, too, you know. Even if they don’t know it.” “Yes. And maybe they will know, soon.” “Oh yeah?” “I hope so.” Ilya removed his arm It's gonna rip me a new heart and I cannot wait for next year!!! Troy looked at him seriously. “I honestly don’t know how I would have dealt with anything this season without you.” Oh. Harris managed a shaky smile. “Happy to help.” “I know. It’s one of the things I love about you.” His eyes went wide. “I mean—thanks.” He jogged away before Harris could reply. “Oh man,” Harris muttered to his patched-up heart. “I think this guy might destroy us.” I know I didn't talk much about Troy and Harris and there isn't really that much to say about them. They were cute and sweet and adorable. But..... Ilya and Shane's supremacy is Unmatched ✨ “Ilya’s in a good mood,” Troy observed. Ilya was sort of half dancing to the loud hip-hop music that was playing in the dressing room, randomly clapping his hands and cheerfully congratulating everyone. “Oh yeah,” Wyatt agreed. “He’s always in a good mood when we beat Montreal. I guess being Shane Hollander’s friend doesn’t stop him from loving to destroy him on the ice.” “Guess not.” Ilya pulled his phone out, glanced at it, and smiled. “I have to go.” And I wrote this ↓ because this book greatly reminded my the importance of it. Immediate Reactions Spread love ❤️ Spread love every single day folks 🌈

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jam

    2.5 stars So uh... did no one tell Rachel Reid that she already wrote a book for Ilya? Is she not aware that book 5 is not a backdoor pilot for a couple that already exists and already has a book out? Because reading Role Model, I felt very much like "ok cute whatever bla bla bla Harris and Troy let's get back to Ilya. Oh look more Ilya content yay I love the Ilya show! Which is so strange because the plot of this book should have been captivating. MC finds himself accidentally being a anti-ra 2.5 stars So uh... did no one tell Rachel Reid that she already wrote a book for Ilya? Is she not aware that book 5 is not a backdoor pilot for a couple that already exists and already has a book out? Because reading Role Model, I felt very much like "ok cute whatever bla bla bla Harris and Troy let's get back to Ilya. Oh look more Ilya content yay I love the Ilya show! Which is so strange because the plot of this book should have been captivating. MC finds himself accidentally being a anti-rapist hero in the NHL, was best friends with that rapist and they were the typical tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb of their team running around being gross and homophobic to everyone when in reality the MC is gay? Very gay? So gay that he's just recently had his heart shattered by his (assumed) cheating loser boyfriend of 2 years? This is good content people! So why was this so goddamn boring lmao. There was no charisma, no personality, no fire. It makes no sense seeing as Ilya is running all over the book rubbing his charisma on everything and pulling focus. Reid know how to write good, engaging characters, but apparently that just didn't land here. Sorry bout it. Guess I better go re-read Heated Rivalry!

  27. 4 out of 5

    suzette ~Always Reading~

    5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I have loved every book in this series and I know many read this series to get their Ilya Rozanov fix. I am happy to say that you get so much of Ilya in this book since he’s the captain of the team Troy plays for. I love Ilya and Shane as much as everyone else (I’ve read Heated Rivalry and also listened to it on audio twice so far) but I have really loved the other books and characters too in the series. This book introduces us to the sweetest, kindest man: Harris. Him and Troy 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I have loved every book in this series and I know many read this series to get their Ilya Rozanov fix. I am happy to say that you get so much of Ilya in this book since he’s the captain of the team Troy plays for. I love Ilya and Shane as much as everyone else (I’ve read Heated Rivalry and also listened to it on audio twice so far) but I have really loved the other books and characters too in the series. This book introduces us to the sweetest, kindest man: Harris. Him and Troy Barrett are the main characters of Role Model and I fell in love with these two! This is a redemption story for Troy who has previously seemed to be a bully. His best friend on the Toronto team, Dallas Kent, is the biggest jerk whenever he’s been in the series and by association Troy was also a jerk. But when Dallas is accused by many women of sexual assault Troy knows it’s the truth and he accuses Dallas to his face. Unfortunately for Troy that incident gets him traded to the struggling Ottawa Centaurs and badmouthed by many. He is simultaneously dumped by his long term (and secret) boyfriend so he comes to Ottawa in a bad headspace. Enter Harris, Ottawa’s social media manager. Harris is everything Troy is not. He’s out and proud, he’s loud, always laughing and he gets along with everyone. Troy is intimidated at first but also baffled. Coming from a team where homophobia ran rampant Troy cannot wrap his head around his new team not seeming to care that Harris is gay. I also loved the fact that Harris was a regular guy. He wasn’t built or tall but he was authentic and so real in a way that was refreshing. We get a lot of character growth in Troy throughout this book but I also loved being in his head after only seeing him in the peripheral. We get to know him and his thoughts which is great because from the outside looking in he seems to be judgmental. He has a constant scowl on his face and is not very sociable but that is because he is hiding a secret. No one knows he’s gay except for his ex-boyfriend and he has always been heavily influenced by overbearing bullies. His father is a huge bully and being friends with Dallas Kent made Troy protect his secrets even more. On Ottawa he finally is surrounded by good people and seeing him finally relax and accept friendships was an enjoyable experience. Even though all the books in this series can be read on their own I highly recommend you read them in order. Characters show up from previous (and future) books and I think it works best to start from the beginning. There’s even a cameo from one of my most favorite characters of this series, Ryan Price! I would be remiss to mention once again how much of Ilya we see in this book. Ilya with a puppy or in a Santa hat makes waiting for his and Shane’s next book a little less difficult. I want to read Heated Rivalry again though after finishing this because I miss Ilya & Shane and I love seeing Ilya’s character grow. So if you read this series just to get your Ilya fix, you should not be disappointed in this book. I do think you’ll fall in love with Troy and Harris though as an added reward. **ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time

    Harris really stole the show in this one! Troy took me a bit to warm up to but by the end of the book I liked him too. I don’t remember him or Dallas Kent from any of the other books. Not sure how that’s possible? 🥴 Will Dallas eventually get a book? 🤔 Nice addition to a favorite series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    ~✿ Maria ✿~

    Ohhhh this was cute! Troys redemption was so well done, his guilt doesn’t make up for the hurt he caused in the past but his efforts to continuously be better was so lovely to read. His development from closed off asshole to supportive ally was great. I really admire the stance Rachel Reid took in terms of SA and believing victims and having a main character openly speak out about it. Although I enjoyed reading Harris and Troy’s story, Ilyas was the STAR of this show. He stole the attention in ev Ohhhh this was cute! Troys redemption was so well done, his guilt doesn’t make up for the hurt he caused in the past but his efforts to continuously be better was so lovely to read. His development from closed off asshole to supportive ally was great. I really admire the stance Rachel Reid took in terms of SA and believing victims and having a main character openly speak out about it. Although I enjoyed reading Harris and Troy’s story, Ilyas was the STAR of this show. He stole the attention in every page he was featured, like other characters who?! In other circumstances that would have driven me a bit crazy since I prefer the focus of books being on the MCs but Ilyas is just so funny and charismatic I LOVED IT. Give me all the Ilyas and all the small references to Shane?! I die. 2022 can’t come soon enough!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    RTC because it’s been a WEEK and I’m tired!!!

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