Beyond Hockey

Cover for Aiming High by Tanya Chris shows a man climbing on a bouldering wallWe M/M readers love our ice hockey, but did you know there’s a wide world of sports beyond hockey? I wrote a book about one of them! Aiming High features rock climbing, which is one of my own personal hobbies. I’ve managed to work climbing into several books, but Aiming High focuses on professional climbers competing at the Olympics.

Are you interested in sports romances that go beyond hockey? Here are a few I’ve read and liked, from the major sports to more obscure ones.

FootballCover for The Rainbow Claude by Beth Bolden shows a bare chested man in front of rainbow colored lights

The Rainbow Clause by Beth Bolden features a bisexual quarterback and a gay reporter. The quarterback and his agent have planned ahead. There’s a pre-negotiated clause in his contract for when he decides to come out, and Colin is ready to activate it, which is how he ends up talking to Nick. I enjoyed that this book wasn’t focused on fear of coming out or being outed, that it starts with Colin deciding to come out and that he already knows his team will support him, at least officially.

Soccer (the other football)Cover for Playing to Win by Avery Cockburn features two bare chested men in kilts embracing

The Glasgow Lads by Avery Cockburn is a four books series set in Scotland revolving around a soccer team. The team isn’t a professional one—these guys all have day jobs—but it’s the one LGBT team in an otherwise straight league, and they take their soccer really seriously. All the books in the series are enjoyable, but I especially liked the second one that takes place during the Scottish referendum for independence. I was briefly in Scotland during that period and got to hear firsthand how various people felt about the referendum, so it was really interesting to watch it play out in Playing to Win. The soccer parts are well done throughout the series, and all the pairings are smoking hot.

RowingCover for The Boys of Bellamy features two bare chested men in front of a college scene

The Boys of Bellamy by Ruthie Luhnow is another series, this one about a college rowing team. My favorite of the series is about Andy and Drew—two guys with the same name. Their relationship starts with them in college but it’s secret and temporary. It picks up again when they run into each other years later. These two were fun side characters during the other books, so it was great to see them get their HEA. Throughout the series, rowing gets balanced with non-rowing, something any student athlete can relate to.

Fencingcover for The Master Will Appear features two men fencing

The Master Will Appear by LA Witt is both a book about an obscure sport and a BDSM story. Since I enjoy BDSM, this was a no-brainer for me to pick up, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m no fencing expert, but the book had the ring of authenticity, and the BDSM aspect was likewise very well done. I guess I also have a thing for Russians, so if you’re looking for a hot, confident Russian who’s a master in more than one way, you’ll want to read this book.

Water Polocover for Out in the Deep features a man in a Speedo in front of the ocean

Lane Hayes has a whole series of college athlete romances, but I particularly enjoyed Out in the Deep, both because it covered a less-common sport and because the enemies-to-lovers vibe was so delicious. Make no mistake though, these enemies turn into lovers pretty quickly. Then it’s a question of who’s coming out and when. Water polo seems like a seriously violent sport! I had no idea.

Baseball

All right, there’s not a lot of baseball playing in Benched by Misha Horne, but it’s a great M/M spanking read in which an arrogant athlete gets his comeuppance, first from his coach and then from one of his teammates. And there’s a little baseball in there too, including a superhot scene with a jockstrap. The book isn’t currently for sale, but I assume it’ll come back in time, so add it to your TBR for now.

And so many more

I also enjoy reading books in which the main characters engage in a sport or fitness activity just for the fun of it. From runners to hikers to yogis to weight lifters, there are so many ways for us to stay fit and active. And there are so many books we can read about athletes, including us weekend warriors.

And then there’s hockey, which I also love reading about. So let’s hear it for diversity!

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