Book Reviews

Ice Heart by Kay Ellis at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 28-June-2013

Book Blurb

Jack Holloway loves two things: Aaron Stone and hockey. Unfortunately, he refuses to acknowledge the first and lets his temper rule the second. He’s turned his life into a list of “can’ts.” He can’t talk with his parents, can’t hold down a job, can’t stay out of trouble, and can’t let go of his reputation as a tough guy on the ice—even if it might cost him his career. Most of all, he can’t admit he has fallen in love with another man. If Jack doesn’t knock that chip off his shoulder, he’s going to lose it all. If he can accept himself and Aaron and stop hiding, he might be able to finally win something bigger than a timeout in the penalty box.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Daily Dose package "Make a Play".

Book Review

Relationships are complicated at best, but when it involves one man who is straight and another who is gay, there's bound to be problems. Aaron and Jack, from 'Ice Heart' by Kay Ellis, can attest to that. Jack is embroiled in an inner turmoil which is ruining his life. His romantic feelings for Aaron feed that confusion even more. They are best friends, ice hockey team mates, and are constantly at odds with each other because of Jack's bad temper and conflicting signals.

In life, some people get off the tracks and just can't get back on. They keep going, cursing because things are so rough, but either don't want to, or can't get back on the tracks. Jack is one of these people. Even with this in mind, he's a hard person to like. He's ill-tempered, obnoxious, arrogant, and a poor sport. He's constantly getting into fights on and off the ice. He has a bad reputation for fighting and womanizing which he feels like he has to maintain. It's Jack's way of having some kind of impact even if it's negative. He's always been close to Aaron, easily admitting that he loves him, but when the feelings get deeper and cause him to doubt his sexual preference, he's terrified. This is unfamiliar territory and Jack doesn't like not knowing what is going to happen. He wants things to go on as they have, but they can't. Jack has opened a door between Aaron and himself; he can't step away from it. Even though doing so may bring better things into his life, he'd rather cling to the bad, but at least predictable past than take that chance. He's at a huge crossroads, a decision that can no longer be delayed.

Aaron is easier to like but he's not entirely blameless. His behavior is not always as mature as it should be, i.e., taking their problems on the ice. It's both dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention unfair to the rest of the team and the fans. When Jack punches Aaron in the face, (just because that's what Jack is expected to do), it's the final straw. He knows he loves Jack, for better or worse, but he's frustrated with the way Jack behaves, especially in relation to him. He tries to talk to Jack about his feelings, but Jack keeps insisting that he's not gay and seems determined to prove it. After spending some intimate quality time together, Jack still plays Mr. Macho straight man in public. It breaks Aaron's heart but he is not going back into the closet no matter how he feels about Jack. He's not going to beg either. Aaron is more frustrated than ever, but he decides that's it. He's had enough. Jack is not his responsibility any longer. He's not picking up the pieces again. If Jack fails, then he fails. The ball, or in this case, the puck, is in his court.

As in many short stories, I wish I could have learned more about the characters. I didn't feel like I knew enough about them to get attached to either one. They are both flawed ,which always makes a story more interesting for me, but if I had known more about their history, it would have helped me understand why they made the choices they did. I don't understand why Jack is so angry at everything and everyone. What happened to make him feel that way? Even with that, I still wanted things to work out for them so they could be together and happy. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting a quick, entertaining escape into the world of male/male love. Thank you, Kay.





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

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 40 pages/10125 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-June-2013
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link