a Winter Ball novel
Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.
Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!
This simple, sweet story focuses on the joys of chosen family and new love. Christopher "Skipper" Keith and Richie Scoggins, tech-school buddies and soccer league teammates for the last six years, go gay for each other in a whirlwind romance. Between Halloween and Christmas, they progress from sexual curiosity into mutual fondness, caretaking, emotional sharing, and acknowledgment of a romantic relationship, followed by shifts in identification and disclosure to colleagues, friends, and family. Lane (Candy Man) makes all of Skip and Ritchie's challenges external to the couple, letting them be a respite for each other. Sex scenes fill a dual role of passion and comfort, almost always happening when one of them is hurt, ill, or thrown off by a difficult interaction with relatives. This is somewhat bland wish-fulfillment fare aimed squarely at fans of first times, smooth sailing, and same-sex couples seated happily at the table with everyone else.