Big Stick Energy by Hayden Hall (Arctic Titans of Northwood U Book 3)


Rivals to lovers, sexual awakening and more as Hayden Hall introduces us to Big Stick Energy...

From the blurb:

I earned the captaincy fair and square, but Caden Jones doesn’t see it that way. He’s challenging my authority at every turn and bringing discord to the team that’s held together with duct tape and hope.

Caden is set to ruin our chances this year just to show everyone what a terrible leader I am.

Besides, he’s been preoccupied with kissing guys all semester long. Not that I have a problem with that, exactly. But does he have to do it right under my nose?

An out-of-state game has us stranded in a hotel room. While that’s annoying as hell, the final straw is the mix up that leaves us with only one bed.

Years of rivalry and quiet resentment finally come to boiling and one of us isn’t leaving this hotel room alive. Until big words are said. And crazy actions taken. And we’re no longer fighting, even if it sort of looks like a wrestling match.

Turns out, I’ve got no problem with Caden kissing guys when I’m the guy he kisses. But… I’m straight, right?

Big Stick Energy is the third book in Hayden Hall’s Arctic Titans of Northwood U series of gay, college hockey romance novels. Expect fiery encounters on and off the ice, bisexual awakening, heated rivalry, and the emotional rollercoaster of self-discovery, acceptance, and growth into adulthood. Big Stick Energy can be read as a standalone.

Heather's Review:

Big Stick Energy is a rivals to lovers story between a guy with a chip on his shoulder and the guy who is the focus of the chip (but not the reason).  I enjoyed watching their interplay, but found the underlying resentment a little forced and the petulant nature Caden had to be something that didn't draw me in... 

As far as a college hockey story goes, this one ticked all the boxes and gave us the promised Big Stick Energy, but it wasn't my favourite in the series.  I did appreciate Beckett's coming out journey and their chemistry together and as always the writing flow was great.

Rating: 4 Stars

Reed Kaye's Review:

Beckett is a guy with a life to live and not seeming to be too responsible until it’s announced that he is the next team captain. This comes as a surprise since he has done nothing to gain this and is sure his team enemy will be the one chosen

Caden has gone out of his way to be the next captain but is taken by surprise when he loses it to a guy who has almost gone against everything needed in being a leader.
When these two are forced together things change but there is one big issue. Beckett is straight and Caden is gay.

This path to any relationship, friends or more is filled with many heartwarming events and a major heartbreaking one. This is one of my favorite stories of this series.

Rating: 5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"His sweet lips pressed against mine, and I knew so clearly that I had been waiting for him my whole life. I had been waiting for this."

Caden and Beckett's romance sure started on a rocky footing. I love a good enemies to lovers trope and these two would definitely be classified as enemies. In fact, their animosity towards one another was so great that their entire hockey team family got fed up enough to slap these two with an ultimatum: Work shit out or peace the fuck out. Talk about pressure.

I worried about Caden. He was such a sweet guy and losing the coveted captaincy spot sort of sent him into a tailspin. It caused him to lash out, and Beckett was his target. Beckett being Beckett, of course, had no problems baiting Caden right back, which led to a lot of their issues. However, it turns out that Beckett's issue with Caden was not what he originally suspected, and it wasn't until their fiery first kiss that he started to figure that out. The problem with his realization of his feelings? Caden had worked hard on himself to be out and proud. Being with Beckett would mean going back into a closet, and that is just not something he thinks he could do.

I'll never be that important to you...I'll never be good enough that you're not ashamed of it."

These two definitely had to work at it. They had a past that was littered with hurts against the other. But their chemistry was too good to ignore, and both had to make some decisions before they could move forward with anything resembling a real relationship. I was proud of Caden for standing his ground and also for Beckett for finding his courage. It was much needed in order for these two jocks to get their true HEA.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Big Stick Energy is currently available in paperback and e-book formats and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited