Book Reviews

Lucky Bounce by Cait Nary at Carina Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Barb on 09-January-2024

Book Blurb

A single dad pro hockey player falls for his biggest fan—who just happens to be his five-year-old daughter’s teacher—in this fun, flirty romantic comedy from Cait Nary

Ezekiel Boehm is no stranger to teaching kids with famous parents. But when the pro hockey player he’s been thirsting after walks into the Rittenhouse Friends School gym hand in hand with a tiny kindergartener, he figures he must be hallucinating. Spencer McLeod is a lot of things—Zeke’s favorite winger on the Philadelphia Liberty; a menace on the ice; a mumbling, reluctant but somehow captivating-as-hell postgame interview—but he’s not a
dad. Except he is. Apparently.

Zeke can be chill about this. He

Surprisingly, the more time he spends with Spencer, the easier this becomes. School volunteer events turn into reserved seats at games, turn into…more. And even though Zeke is 100 percent committed to ignoring Spencer’s blush, to ignoring the way he looks in that one pair of gray sweatpants, he can’t take his eyes off him.

This can never work. Can it?


Book Review

Ezekiel Boehm is a bright, personable teacher in a private school in the Philadelphia area. He’s also gay, a sports fan, and one of the most energetic characters I’ve ever met. His idea of chilling out is to go for a six-mile run. It does help to calm his racing mind and center him, but we readers get swept up in all that goes on in his head and his life, so I sometimes had to stop for a fifteen-minute break to catch my breath and center my focus.


The object of his daydreams is a tall, intense hockey player named Spencer McLeod, a Canadian from Thunder Bay. Zeke and his roommate, his best friend Jake, have a wonderful relationship with plenty of teasing and bantering, especially over hockey. They do not revere the same players, but Zeke holds true to his worship of Spencer and his Philadelphia Liberty team. Imagine his shock when the supposedly single Spencer McLeod shows up at the school meet and greet with his five-year-old daughter, Addie. Shock is probably too mild a word to ever apply to Zeke, whose whole world tips on its axis at the apparently shy and introverted dad who obviously worships his little girl. But Spencer is single! Zeke immediately moves into internet search mode and determines there’s been no mention of a wife or child anywhere. He can only hope Spencer is a single dad, even though he knows there’s no chance he’ll ever be more to him than Addie’s teacher. But a man can hope, right?


All goes well for a while and Zeke gets a peek at Spencer during drop-off or pick-up some days and then learns Spencer has volunteered, aka been strong-armed, into being lead for Addie’s reading circle. In a weak moment, Zeke volunteers to help the mumbling, soft-spoken Spencer prepare for his story-time experience. At this point, about 20 percent in, I made a note to self in my reading app that I am totally hooked! I loved the pacing, the banter between Zeke and Jake, Zeke’s inner turmoil, and then his budding friendship with Spencer.


The story is told completely in Zeke’s point of view, which has pluses and minuses. The minus is obvious in that we don’t know Spencer’s thoughts but the pluses are that we do see Spencer’s reactions, including his bright pink blush that often leaves his cheeks and migrates to his neck. The author also gets to continue the fast pace, scattered thoughts, and witty banter and the reader isn’t disrupted by an about-face to hear the story from a shy introvert’s point of view.


The author’s use of present tense makes this dialogue very fast and sometimes feels very staccato. Add this to a character who is possibly ADHD or somewhere close to that and the scenes fly by. Honestly, though, I loved it and I rarely enjoy first person or present tense. I was swept along in the tide of the plot and found this to be an extremely satisfying and highly recommendable read.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 251 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-January-2024
Price $6.99 ebook
Buy Link