Shot on Gold
In Shot on Gold, the fourteenth installment of Jaci Burton’s sport romance series, Play by Play, we meet Will Madigan and Amber Sloane. Both are Olympians, both make their money on ice, and that is where the similarities end. Will is a hockey player who earned his nickname ‘Mad Dog’ on and off the ice, while Amber is a figure skater with limited social and zero sexual, experience. Will the insta-lust that fuels their connection during the Games get them past it?
If you are someone familiar with my reviews, you may be really shocked by the grade I’ve given this book. I adore sports romances, particularly when they feature hockey, and I’m a sucker for Olympic stories, so I thought this would be a highlight of my current reading. I was so sad to find out that, instead, this thing draaaaaaaaged. Nothing really happens, except a lot of sex and some low level angst, and I was pretty relieved when it ended.
Plus, it contains my BIGGEST PET PEEVE about virgin romances, but let me tell you the plot (such as it is) first.
Will and Amber meet early in the Olympic Games and hit it off immediately, first, as friends, and then as lovers. Will is gregarious, outgoing, and a well-known hockey player, whereas Amber is a reserved, introverted figure skater who has been so focused on Olympic gold that relationships have been a low priority. Now that she’s twenty-four, she’s decided to make the most of the games – which means winning gold, making friends, and losing her virginity. Will, of course, is all too happy to help with steps two and three of her plan.
Aaaaand, that’s it. That’s the plot. Throw in some seriously controlling parents that fell straight out of a trope catalogue (Amber’s) and some dialogue that just… no… and I just could not be doing with this book. And that’s even before I get to the fact I alluded to earlier: pet peeve extraordinaire.
Amber, the virgin, has a massive and magical orgasm every time she and Will have sex. Additionally, we’re told very clearly that she’s not comfortable at all with this piece of the human experience, but within pages of having sex for the first time, she’s talking dirty with the best of them. It’s like character whiplash – not that people can’t talk dirty and not that women don’t deserve massive and magical orgasms constantly but… none of it fits together. Everything happens, but none of it’s developed. And please don’t try to convince me that a twenty-four-year-old who hasn’t been raised in a cult or something would be sheltered enough to not know what a blow job is and then, once she learns, is willing to swallow on her first time with no gag reflex!
The Play by Play series was a gem for the first five or so books and I keep reading in the hopes that the spark will ignite again. It may, but certainly did not in Shot on Gold. If you’ve liked the last few in this series, you may like this. But if you’re looking for a good Olympic athlete read, honestly, I’d head elsewhere.