The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Offside: Post 23

Chapter 28: And suddenly—the novel ends
Please note that posts may be a bit slapdash and a bit irregular through the month of March. My sincere apologies!

Between the fact that e-pages (in this particular book) go by a lot faster than real pages, and the fact that the last 40 or so are a preview of the next book, we’re actually super close to the end of this novel. So hang on to your hats because things are going to wrap up—for a certain definition of wrap up—rather quickly. As in, this is the last chapter (although there is also an epilogue.)

Despite the need for speed, or the need for a satisfying ending, this chapter opens with Logan moping. It’s Thanksgiving Day (American Thanksgiving, by the way. In this chapter it’s finally revealed that New Waterford is in Michigan), and Logan is in his shop, trying to avoid his mother’s

text messages (telling him that he’d “better be lying in a ditch somewhere”) and not working on new designs. It’s been 3 or so days since the disastrous dinner.

There’s hockey going on, but we’re not privy to it because Logan isn’t playing. The Angry Pirates have been playing in the big, contact-ful tournament and won their first three games (on Tuesday and Wednesday) and now it’s the championship game that evening, and, dunh dunh duunnnhhhhhh, they’re playing against the team that Socipathic Seth joined. I suspect you can see where this going—or at least you can if you’ve read enough romances/seen enough rom-coms.

Shane shows up at the shop to interrupt Logan’s mope-fest and to tell him that they’d like him to play in that evening’s game. Logan ignores this. He points out that “Mama Forest” is going to kick Logan’s ass for not being at Thanksgiving dinner. Logan ignores this. Shane tells Logan that he’s talked to Bobbi, who is worried about Billie. Logan says he doesn’t care and Shane tells him he’s “full of shit” and more than that, that Logan ought to be playing because the team that the Angry Pirates are about to face “want Billie’s ass but good” (460). Shane also tells Logan that he (Logan) has broken Billie’s heart.

This finally gets a reaction from Logan, since he’s the one who was wronged. But this is all straightened out by Shane saying that if Billie hasn’t slept with Logan, he’d never have noticed her. All Logan needs after this is to hear Shane say that everyone deserves a second chance, just like he did after prison, and to sit and ponder for two hours. No, seriously—Shane goes off to play the hockey game and Logan loses two hours after Shane leaves.

This random time-skip is necessary, though, because it means Logan can rush to the rink and save the day. He dashes to the rink (in the city, not the New Waterford one), calling his mom while doing so.

He gets to the rink with five minutes left in the game. If you’ve ever tried to put on hockey gear, you know that it takes about five minutes (or more.) I’ve gotten to rinks running late and yeah, you can get the gear on pretty fast once you’re used to it, but it’s not instantaneous.

Logan’s parents apparently dropped everything (like, Thanksgiving dinner?) and magically transported themselves to the rink, arriving just before Logan gets out of the dressing room and to the bench.

The game was tied and there was ten seconds left (469).

I… just… what? Why the hell did Logan bother to dress for this game? It’s absurd. It’s not even a gesture—yes, showing up is, but not bothering to dress and stuff.

Logan’s not even on the ice when the inevitable Big Bad comes. Sociopathic Seth is on the ice with Billie for the last puck drop—apparently he hasn’t bothered her all game but thinks that the last 10 seconds of a tied game is the opportune moment?

Billie scores just before the buzzer, because of course she does, but Seth goes after her anyway. Logan jumps over the bench to … stop him? Mostly all he accomplishes is to scream Billie’s name.

The fury that rolled through Logan when he saw her crash into the boards was something he’d never felt before. In that moment he understood what it felt like to want to kill a man, because if he had his way, that’s exactly what he’d do (472)

But we’re at the end of the book and actual homicide is probably not a good idea for a typical romance ending. Instead…

…all he could do was stare down at the woman he loved (472).

See, this is why I really don’t understand why he bothered to dress for the game. Ten seconds of game time? He could have performed everything that he does here even if he weren’t in gear. He could have gone down to the players’ bench and flung himself on the ice after the buzzer when Billie’s been injured. Heck, by not dressing, he could have been watching the whole 5 minutes that he was at the rink, in case this injury happened sooner. I get that he wanted to protect Billie, but with 5 minutes left by the time he gets to the rink, there’s just no way he could. My point is that it doesn’t make sense for the character or for the text.

Anyway, his big romantic comment to the half-conscious woman on the ice?

“Billie, don’t you dare flake out on me now” (472).

I think it’s supposed to be non-sappy? But it’s not like there’s been a history of flaking between these two throughout the novel, so it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me. Regardless, it seems to work for Billie as her eyelids flutter open, as heroine’s damsel’s are wont to do.

She’s pretty much fine (huzzah!) and immediately starts threatening Sociopathic Seth. This is evidently unacceptable to Logan who wants to “shut her up the only way he knew how” (473) which is to say he kisses her. (She’s still crumpled on the ice, in the corner, with the referees and teammates all around them and the rink filled with spectators because apparently most of “the city” had nothing better to do on this Thanksgiving Day than watch Beer League ice hockey.)

Once she’s allowed to speak, presumably still sitting on the ice, Billie protests that she knows “how to take a hit” but not how to ask Logan for forgiveness. And that seems fair because … yeah. Logan’s response is to tell her to shut up so that they can leave the rink and work things out.

I like the work things out part. I’m disinclined to find the consistent repetition of Logan telling Billie to shut up to be romantic or cute.

The narrative, and Billie, disagree with me, and the couple goes home to Logan’s house for lots of sex, which is apparently how they decide to work things out.


One more post for Offsides as there is an epilogue. Join me next time.


  1. I don't believe that kissing is the correct concussion protocol. However if it was—NHL games could be a lot more interesting/creepy.

    Also, I have no clue what the next book is. My hockey romance expertise is on the decline because there are so many, many books these days.

    1. ... I don't want any NHL player to get a concussion. (Well.... no. No, I don't. Really. OKay, maybe one or two.) But I would be delighted if even just for one day kissing-- on ice!!!-- was the new protocol. Oh yes.

      The next book is probably not well known, and it has nothing to do with hockey in the title. I'm so pleased I found it, though. I've only read the first two chapters so far but it already includes wacky hijinks!!

  2. Hockey already has helmet-licking and awkward high-speed hugging, so sure, new concussion protocol for the NHL. Why not?

    Hockey and romance novel tropes are such a bizarre & often forced combination, and yet I can't look away. ...thank you for reading these books for us ;)

    1. The game I was at on Monday included a player plowing himself into a player on the opposing team, looking for all the world like what he wanted most was to sniff the opposing player's chest. So... kissing-for-concussions would kind of fit in!

      (Also? One of the refs got WAY too fresh with Martin Erat. Like, downright handsy.)

      As for thanking me for reading them oh no, thank YOU for reading my blog!!!!!

      Offside finishes tomorrow, then new book on Monday. Bwahahaha.