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Changing the Rules

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Rule #1: Don’t fall in love with the coach.Gabriel Theriault’s been skating on thin ice for the past two seasons with Toronto but his arrest following an off-ice fight is the final straw.His only shot at redemption is to start over in Evanston and prove that he still has what it takes to be a pro player.No more fights. No more drinking. No more random hookups. Rule #2: The Rule #1: Don’t fall in love with the coach.Gabriel Theriault’s been skating on thin ice for the past two seasons


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Rule #1: Don’t fall in love with the coach.Gabriel Theriault’s been skating on thin ice for the past two seasons with Toronto but his arrest following an off-ice fight is the final straw.His only shot at redemption is to start over in Evanston and prove that he still has what it takes to be a pro player.No more fights. No more drinking. No more random hookups. Rule #2: The Rule #1: Don’t fall in love with the coach.Gabriel Theriault’s been skating on thin ice for the past two seasons with Toronto but his arrest following an off-ice fight is the final straw.His only shot at redemption is to start over in Evanston and prove that he still has what it takes to be a pro player.No more fights. No more drinking. No more random hookups. Rule #2: The team always comes first.Years ago, Lance Tate’s on-ice injury ended his career and marriage.His long road to recovery led to a job he loves as assistant coach with the Evanston Otters, and he wouldn’t dream of giving that up. Until he meets Gabriel. The French-Canadian is fifteen years younger, burdened by too much responsibility, and the most intriguing man Lance has ever met. He’s also the absolute last man Lance should get involved with. The draw between them is impossible to resist—even if it could cost them the game they love. Their only chance at winning it all is to change the rules.

18 review for Changing the Rules

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edga

    I enjoyed every word of this. I fell in love with both Gabriel and Lance. Things were both raw and emotional between them, but together they're actually quite cute. It is however, a poignant read in places, both guys are not with out their problems. I especially felt for Gabriel, his lack of self confidence, and the need to do what he considered the right thing were heartbreaking. When the two were together, I loved how Lance showed how much he cared for Gabriel. It's a great addition to the ser I enjoyed every word of this. I fell in love with both Gabriel and Lance. Things were both raw and emotional between them, but together they're actually quite cute. It is however, a poignant read in places, both guys are not with out their problems. I especially felt for Gabriel, his lack of self confidence, and the need to do what he considered the right thing were heartbreaking. When the two were together, I loved how Lance showed how much he cared for Gabriel. It's a great addition to the series, and I certainly hope for more. If you love romance (definitely not always straightforward), this is for you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Toni K

    Not my thing at all, boring, big age difference, Gabriel behaving like the fairy godmother of gay sex....I want Lindy's story. Not my thing at all, boring, big age difference, Gabriel behaving like the fairy godmother of gay sex....I want Lindy's story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    Gabriel is a top hockey player, but his life and his play have been affected the last couple of years by a problem he's promised to keep a secret. He's been angry, fighting on the ice, taking bad penalties, and sleeping with random people. Changing teams is his time for redemption, for rededicating himself to his game and keeping his nose clean. But the problem he's dealing with and hiding hasn't gone away with the move. And then he finds himself falling for the team's offensive coach - Lance is Gabriel is a top hockey player, but his life and his play have been affected the last couple of years by a problem he's promised to keep a secret. He's been angry, fighting on the ice, taking bad penalties, and sleeping with random people. Changing teams is his time for redemption, for rededicating himself to his game and keeping his nose clean. But the problem he's dealing with and hiding hasn't gone away with the move. And then he finds himself falling for the team's offensive coach - Lance is much older, stable, kind, and definitely off-limits for a player on the same team, even a defenseman like Gabriel.Lance is fifteen years older than his players, divorced with adult kids, and settled with his team. He's bisexual, but hasn't really done much with men, but now that he's single, that interest is nagging at him. And he's never seen someone who appealed more than Gabriel. One of the team's players is obviously off-limits, but when he discovers what Gabriel is coping with in his life, and tries to help, what grows is not just sexual attraction, but something much more.This was plausibly slow-burn, and I liked that the emotional connection mainly came before the physical. The topic of family responsibilities, of what we owe to people who both helped and damaged us, was well done and made the story unique. There's enough hockey action to ground the story in the sport, without overwhelming it. I enjoyed the story a lot. There were some secondary characters who were probably from other books by this author, but I didn't feel that I missed much by not knowing who they were. The ending was warm and satisfying although I'm not sure it was 100% realistic. (view spoiler)[I'm not convinced a team would be okay with a coach and player in a relationship, even though the author went a long way to give reasons for the team management to empathize. In reality, I expect one or the other would have had to go, probably Lance since he could coach at a lower level locally while Gabriel would have to leave town. Which would raise resentment among teammates for losing a good coach, and add a whole different level to the story. I can see why the author went for the simple HEA, but I didn't quite buy it. Another coach-player book I enjoyed had the player forced to retire - a much more plausible scenario IMO. (hide spoiler)] But I definitely liked the story and have the next one on my TBRs.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leelah🍁♋️ Orion

    hockey timeThis was a wonderful journey. I love the way this had some angst to it but not a lot of angst. I love the diversity in the characters and the struggles that some of the characters had because of the diversity and that they actually talked about it but didn’t linger on it. That’s what I’m looking for in a diverse world I want you to have characters who are diverse and understand that in that world they’re going to have struggles because of it but I don’t want it to be a story that only hockey timeThis was a wonderful journey. I love the way this had some angst to it but not a lot of angst. I love the diversity in the characters and the struggles that some of the characters had because of the diversity and that they actually talked about it but didn’t linger on it. That’s what I’m looking for in a diverse world I want you to have characters who are diverse and understand that in that world they’re going to have struggles because of it but I don’t want it to be a story that only concentrates on those struggles. This author did a really good job at bringing these up, and I hope that this author will even have a few of the diverse characters as the main characters. I love the hurt comfort love that was found here and I love that there’s more to this team. I’m assuming that some of the characters that showed up or were mentioned in this book were previous characters from a different series but you do not have to read those outside how much series to understand this book

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was sweet. Not in like a mushy way, but in the way two grown adults who are looking for more than a hookup fall for one another. It was genuine and they really cared about each other. There were definitely some steamy scenes, and the age gap thing wasn't so much an issue. The bigger issues were Lance wasn't really out yet and they had to keep their relationship a secret because of their careers.Some of my favorite moments were the tender ones, like when Lance makes Gabriel soup, or when Lan This was sweet. Not in like a mushy way, but in the way two grown adults who are looking for more than a hookup fall for one another. It was genuine and they really cared about each other. There were definitely some steamy scenes, and the age gap thing wasn't so much an issue. The bigger issues were Lance wasn't really out yet and they had to keep their relationship a secret because of their careers.Some of my favorite moments were the tender ones, like when Lance makes Gabriel soup, or when Lance had a heart to heart with his son. I'm looking forward to more books in the series, because I loved this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janet Hunt

    Ohh Gabriel and Lance!! I sincerely fell in love with Gabriel and Lance!! I loved every word of this story. Their story felt raw and realistic. I especially liked how they weren’t looking for more than a hookup and found so much more. They were sweet together and perfect for one another. I do recommend reading the series on order. Strong world building and character development. Overall, the story was fantastic, kept me glued to the pages! The story was well written with awesome pacing. Highly r Ohh Gabriel and Lance!! I sincerely fell in love with Gabriel and Lance!! I loved every word of this story. Their story felt raw and realistic. I especially liked how they weren’t looking for more than a hookup and found so much more. They were sweet together and perfect for one another. I do recommend reading the series on order. Strong world building and character development. Overall, the story was fantastic, kept me glued to the pages! The story was well written with awesome pacing. Highly recommend! I’m voluntarily reviewing from an advanced copy that I received. My reviews are solely based on my thoughts and opinions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Smut Librarian

    I love it when you get a book that doesn't shy away from delving deep into connecting the characters on multiple levels - not just between the sheets. This story has many layers and each one is gripping and heartfelt. A brilliant read all round and should be shared far and wide! I love it when you get a book that doesn't shy away from delving deep into connecting the characters on multiple levels - not just between the sheets. This story has many layers and each one is gripping and heartfelt. A brilliant read all round and should be shared far and wide!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I loved this book! Hockey, hurt/comfort, age gap, super sweet relationship, no unnecessary angst - it checked off all my boxes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Underhill

    Changing the Rules by Brigham Vaughn is Book 1 in her Rules of the Game series. It is a pro hockey story of finding love between a player on the Evanston River Otters team and one of the coaches. Gabriel Theriault is playing for Toronto but his life is a mess. He has a lot of stress in caring for his father and playing for the team hoping to win the cup and the only way he seems to relieve it is through fighting or hook-ups. He almost ends his career over a fight with another player during an im Changing the Rules by Brigham Vaughn is Book 1 in her Rules of the Game series. It is a pro hockey story of finding love between a player on the Evanston River Otters team and one of the coaches. Gabriel Theriault is playing for Toronto but his life is a mess. He has a lot of stress in caring for his father and playing for the team hoping to win the cup and the only way he seems to relieve it is through fighting or hook-ups. He almost ends his career over a fight with another player during an important game. Luckily his friend gets him traded to the Evanston team where he has to prove himself or he’ll lose his job and probably his chances of ever playing hockey again. He cleans himself up, hopes to get his father settled with him, and is doing what he needs to do to be the best defensive player he can. Unfortunately, because of all his problems he is somewhat closed off and doesn’t do much to get to know his teammates. Lance Tate is the offensive assistant coach for the team. He was a hockey player who almost lost his life to a head injury. This caused him to become a coach but it also led to problems as his marriage ended and his 2 children almost lost touch with him because of his anger from the injury. He is also very kind and caring. They meet during practice and they feel a spark but being together cannot happen because of the repercussions it could cause with their jobs and also, even though they are both bi, LGBTQ recognition in hockey has just begun so it is still an uphill battle. Their feelings begin to develop when Gabriel asks Lance for some help one night and the comfort they find in each other leads to more. They eventually commit, even knowing what it could do to their jobs, and try to keep their relationship a secret. But as secrets go, it does come out and they have to find a way to keep working for the team and still have each other to find their HEA. Although I am not a hockey fan I have really been enjoying Ms. Vaughn’s stories about it. She has a way to give information about playing the sport professionally while writing a great love story. There was a lot of hurt/comfort for them both Gabriel and Lance as angst with family problems, surly teammates, and keeping their secret as long as possible. There were also some wonderful side characters with teammates, once Gabriel opens up, and family members who believed in them and helped them. I was looking forward to reading this book and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend it and can’t wait for the next one to come out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    4-4.5 starsAlthough this is technically the first in a series, it does sort of follow on from Bending the Rules, and the free story Road Rules (which I loved and you can find here. ) You can read it just fine as a standalone though. We do meet Gabriel in Bending the Rules first, and find out a little about him. All that is covered here though so you won't miss out if you haven't read it.This is Gabriel and Lance's story though, and I was really looking forward to it after meeting Gabriel in Noah 4-4.5 starsAlthough this is technically the first in a series, it does sort of follow on from Bending the Rules, and the free story Road Rules (which I loved and you can find here. ) You can read it just fine as a standalone though. We do meet Gabriel in Bending the Rules first, and find out a little about him. All that is covered here though so you won't miss out if you haven't read it.This is Gabriel and Lance's story though, and I was really looking forward to it after meeting Gabriel in Noah's book. This is a story of second chances, and possibly last chances in Gabriel's case, at least for his career. I loved Gabriel, and hated seeing him so lost in Bending the Rules, I knew there was more to him and I'm so happy I got to see it. It's truly his redemption story, and especially after finding out more about him and his early life I was so happy to see him get his HEA. I liked both Lance and Gabriel, actually and there was a nice lack of angst between them, it was refreshing.I liked the dynamic between them right away, how Gabriel opened up and trusted Lance, especially with his dad. It was hot, absolutely but the right amount of heat and fluff and I just adored these two. It's a great story too, neatly bookended with Gabriel's nemesis on the ice, and it was perfectly done. Jack Malone is an ass though, I won't be sorry if he gets his comeuppance at some point.Even though I know eff all about hockey, I loved this book. I like this series, the two running concurrently and I'm here for more in this world. Compelling characters and stories, what's not to like?I received an ARC and this is my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Juniper

    Both Gabriel and Lance are deeply sympathetic characters: Gabriel is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and while he’s self-aware enough to realize that his usual coping mechanisms (fighting, no-strings hookups) have become incredibly self-destructive, the burdens he carries and the promises he’s made make him feel like there’s no way out. That is, of course, until he gets a new start: a new team and a new romance. Having a partner to confide in and care for lets pieces of Gabrie Both Gabriel and Lance are deeply sympathetic characters: Gabriel is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and while he’s self-aware enough to realize that his usual coping mechanisms (fighting, no-strings hookups) have become incredibly self-destructive, the burdens he carries and the promises he’s made make him feel like there’s no way out. That is, of course, until he gets a new start: a new team and a new romance. Having a partner to confide in and care for lets pieces of Gabriel that truly deserve to shine: things like his sincerity, his humor, his gifts as a teacher and mentor for younger teammates, grow and develop. Lance is good at his job and a good person, but he’s buttoned down his own needs for a partner and a life beyond work. Together, their chemistry is explosive, but even better, their genuine feeling for and investment in each other gives both men room to be their best selves. While Lance is great at little acts of care and being a supportive shoulder, Gabriel is exactly the kind of attentive, sensitive person that Lance needs as he explores what it means to him to be in a relationship with a man for the first time. The dynamics of the hockey team are interesting and easy to be drawn into– there are lots of great personalities but it’s not a perfect world by any means– not all Gabriel’s teammates are awesome, not all team management politics seem fair or make sense. This makes for an environment that feels more realistic than idealized, and I appreciated that, just as I appreciated that the power dynamics and potential fallout from the fact that Gabriel is a player and Lance is an assistant coach were acknowledged and taken seriously. As an added bonus for readers, fans of the author’s previous works will see some familiar faces among the supporting characters. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison Daniels

    The first book of this series was so good, I thought there was no way this series could get any better but it did! Gabriel and Lance are one of the sweetest couples ever and I loved getting to see them both find their way to their HEA. One of my favorite things about this story is that both characters are a little bit older in age but also are very responsible, committed people who have other things going on in their life that are important; they don't just have their relationship to worry about The first book of this series was so good, I thought there was no way this series could get any better but it did! Gabriel and Lance are one of the sweetest couples ever and I loved getting to see them both find their way to their HEA. One of my favorite things about this story is that both characters are a little bit older in age but also are very responsible, committed people who have other things going on in their life that are important; they don't just have their relationship to worry about. They have real crap going on and have to find a way to work with their partner to take care of their priorities. Maybe this is super sexy romance but it is real and honest and I love seeing it portrayed in a book. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Sports romances are always a must-read for me but this story is so much more than your average sports romance. While the Gabriel's family situation is completely heartbreaking, it was so sweet to see him finally start to open up to Lance and let someone else help him carry the responsibility of being a caretaker for an ailing parent. Lance was such a steady, even character that he could come across as boring but as Gabriel pointed out, Lance's stability was such a positive personality trait that you couldn't help but love him. I loved that Lance was able to mend some bridges with his family and that he was finally in a place where he could be open about who he truly was. The writing was absolutely wonderful, as it always is with a Brigham Vaughn book! I can't wait until the next book in this series comes out!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Woodatsi

    Ms Vaughn has started a new series called Rules of the Game which tells us about two different hockey teams: The Evanston River Otters and the Toronto Fisher Cats. This book is the first one of the Evanston River Otters.We meet Gabriel and Lance, respectively player and coach. Gabriel has been in a lot of trouble and has been traded to the Otters. He hides a lot of pain and anger due to family issues and knows this is a second chance he's been given, so he's determined to take it. Lance is a coa Ms Vaughn has started a new series called Rules of the Game which tells us about two different hockey teams: The Evanston River Otters and the Toronto Fisher Cats. This book is the first one of the Evanston River Otters.We meet Gabriel and Lance, respectively player and coach. Gabriel has been in a lot of trouble and has been traded to the Otters. He hides a lot of pain and anger due to family issues and knows this is a second chance he's been given, so he's determined to take it. Lance is a coach on the same team and 19 years his senior. There is an immediate attraction between the two but they try to not give in. But after an event that leaves Gabriel pretty shaken up, he calls Lance for help and when he does so without pause, they get to know each other better and tentatively start a relationship. They do decide to keep it hidden because they're afraid for their careers. Of course, something like that can't stay hidden for long.What I loved most about this book is the fact that the age difference wasn't a big issue. Both characters had a very mature feel and attitude, had great communication and when there was a problem the both worked on it.There are some great side characters whom I hope will get their own book. There's also cameo appearences of Ryan and Zane (Road Rules) and Noah of the Toronto Fisher Cats who is Gabriels best friend.It was a great story and I can't wait to read more. Highly recommended!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    4.5 StarsThis was a beautiful story. Gabriel and Lance are wonderful together and I loved how their team came together for them. We were introduced to Gabriel in the first book of the series. He's just been traded to the Evanston Otters in his last chance to continue playing hockey. For some reason, he starts to open up and form a rapport with the offensive assistant coach, Lance Tate. When Gabriel needs help with his father, who is suffering from early dementia, he calls Lance to help. They sta 4.5 StarsThis was a beautiful story. Gabriel and Lance are wonderful together and I loved how their team came together for them. We were introduced to Gabriel in the first book of the series. He's just been traded to the Evanston Otters in his last chance to continue playing hockey. For some reason, he starts to open up and form a rapport with the offensive assistant coach, Lance Tate. When Gabriel needs help with his father, who is suffering from early dementia, he calls Lance to help. They start spending more time together and eventually start secretly seeing each other.Gabriel shows so much growth in this book. In the beginning he is very closed off and carrying all his responsibilities/burdens on his own. He slowly opens up not only to Lance, but his team as well. It was great to see his mentality change and how it affected his life and his game. Lance is supper sweet and does so much for Gabriel. He's very careful about keeping their relationship secret and is wonderful when interacting with his father. While the overall story is very sweet there's still a decent amount of angst. The angst is mostly surrounding the secretive nature of their relationship and what would happen if the team/management found out. I received and ARC of this book from Neon Rainbow Reviews and this is my honest opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    DD

    I’m very excited for this series. I read Bending the Rules so I was already familiar with some of Gabriel’s information. I will admit that I wasn’t super excited for his story, but I’m happy to say I was wrong. It is a great story of redemption and I so enjoyed seeing Gabriel grow, shed his burdens, and find true love and happiness. It wasn’t great hearing about his past sexcapades as often as they were mentioned, I understand there being some in there to put in perspective how Gabriel dealt wit I’m very excited for this series. I read Bending the Rules so I was already familiar with some of Gabriel’s information. I will admit that I wasn’t super excited for his story, but I’m happy to say I was wrong. It is a great story of redemption and I so enjoyed seeing Gabriel grow, shed his burdens, and find true love and happiness. It wasn’t great hearing about his past sexcapades as often as they were mentioned, I understand there being some in there to put in perspective how Gabriel dealt with his pain and that giving up that part of his life was part of his healing process and redemption, it was just a little much at times. Definitely glad he left that lifestyle in Toronto with his past. Lance is a natural caregiver. All he wants is a partner to do the big and little things for. It was precious to see Gabriel’s reactions to Lance’s kindness. They had a kinship in having traumatic brain injuries affect their lives. They had great chemistry, in and out of the bedroom. My favorite moments were when they were showing simple displays of affection to one another and when they were being adorably domestic as well. The hockey was great too! I read the whole thing while watching the Stanley Cup playoffs 😁 loved it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fedora

    Four and a half stars Changing the Rules is the first in Brigham Vaughn’s Rules of the Game: Evanston River Otters m/m hockey series.Lance Tate is an assistant coach for the Evanston River Otters NHL team. He’s only more recently acknowledged that he is bi, and hasn’t ever dated a man. Ironic that the first man to truly spark his interest happens to be a player, completely off-limits.Gabriel Theriault is dealing with a full hand. The only son of an extremely private former player now dealing wit Four and a half stars Changing the Rules is the first in Brigham Vaughn’s Rules of the Game: Evanston River Otters m/m hockey series.Lance Tate is an assistant coach for the Evanston River Otters NHL team. He’s only more recently acknowledged that he is bi, and hasn’t ever dated a man. Ironic that the first man to truly spark his interest happens to be a player, completely off-limits.Gabriel Theriault is dealing with a full hand. The only son of an extremely private former player now dealing with the fallout of too many traumatic brain injuries, Gabriel is tired. Unable to take the risk of blowing off steam via alcohol or anonymous sex, he’s simply wound tighter and tighter, trying not to shatter under the pressure of acclimating to new teammates, new caregivers for his father, and the need to perform his best to earn a spot on his last-chance team.Brigham Vaughn’s characters are well-written and multidimensional. Gabriel and Lance are compelling and their growing connection a joy to witness. Their families and the team feel very real, and provide a strong supporting cast. Changing the Rules is a terrific hockey read, and I’m eager for more in the series!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Man I thought I was in love with La Bouche and Simon, but Gabriel and Lance blew that love out of the water. I love a good redemption story, and getting down and dirty with Gabriel and what he’s been going through and the amount of effort he out into changing his life and becoming a better person was phenomenal. Watching Lance be there for him, support him and love him despite the challenges to their precarious situation was amazing. They were determined that no matter what happened, they were g Man I thought I was in love with La Bouche and Simon, but Gabriel and Lance blew that love out of the water. I love a good redemption story, and getting down and dirty with Gabriel and what he’s been going through and the amount of effort he out into changing his life and becoming a better person was phenomenal. Watching Lance be there for him, support him and love him despite the challenges to their precarious situation was amazing. They were determined that no matter what happened, they were going to face it together and that’s exactly what they did. I have fallen so hard for Gabriel and Lance that I’m not sure who can beat it, but as always, Brigham has a way of outdoing herself with each new release so maybe next up is newly divorced single dad Walsh and the mysterious figure skater :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    ​Becoming a huge fan of hockey!The latest book in the Rules of the Game series is just as good as the others! I can't express how much I enjoyed this. It's more than just a hockey story - it's full of love and loss, heartache and healing. Gabriel and Lance are perfect for each other. Thankfully, they realize this fairly quickly. ​While their romance is complicated because of a potential ​power imbalance (coach and player), they don't let it stop them from loving each other. My very favorite thin ​Becoming a huge fan of hockey!The latest book in the Rules of the Game series is just as good as the others! I can't express how much I enjoyed this. It's more than just a hockey story - it's full of love and loss, heartache and healing. Gabriel and Lance are perfect for each other. Thankfully, they realize this fairly quickly. ​While their romance is complicated because of a potential ​power imbalance (coach and player), they don't let it stop them from loving each other. My very favorite thing about this book is that they approach their challenges as adults. They talk through them, they meet them head-on, and they do not run from each other when the going gets tough.This is definitely a five-star read for me!

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