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Neutral Zone

(Portland Storm #11.5)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  70 reviews
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Gayle presents another novella in the emotional Portland Storm hockey romance series.

Being stuck in the Neutral Zone is no way to live…

Portland Storm defenseman Cole Paxton never intended to be the poster boy for gay hockey players. Whether intended or not, that’s exactly what he’s become—ever since innocently attempting to
Kindle Edition, 120 pages
Published November 16th 2017 by Night Shift Publishing (first published November 11th 2017)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

4.5 stars
Ever since In The Zone, I have wanted Cole (Colsey) Paxton’s story, in fact I’m pretty sure I emailed author Catherine Gayle and asked when she was writing it and she told me she didn’t have plans to but she never says never, well I for one am extremely happy she doesn’t say never because Neutral Zone is Colsey’s book and it is everything I could ask for (ok, so maybe I would have LOVED an epilogue, but I was completely happy with the story) and more.

Cole Paxton never intended to be
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
We have seen Luke Weber and Cole Paxton in the background of other books. Luke is the son of Webs, the Coach for the Portland Storm and the brother of Katie and Dani who have married members of the Storm.

Luke is fresh out of college and looking for his own NHL dreams to come true on his own merit, but unfortunately despite his hard work and determination he has not been picked up by a team. He thinks it might be because he came out in his Senior year of college. He is anxious, frustrated,
3.5 Stars

I wish this were a full novel. I like MM and FF and MF mixed all together in the same series but I feel each pairing deserves a full book.

Cole and Luke had enough of a intersting dynamic with the age difference and Luke coming of age and adjusting to the life he gets instead of what he wanted.

I love the discussion of luck in terms of achievement that is in this book and I really liked watch both of our heroes come to terms with their own lives and moving into their relationship.

Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Save for a selection of favorite authors, including Miss Gayle, I tend to read more m/m than m/f romances these days. Suffice to say, I’ve been looking forward to Neutral Zone since Colesy and Luke both came out in Game Breaker. Despite trusting that Miss Gayle would do her characters and the Portland Storm series justice, I admit I was a little nervous it wouldn’t work as well as her m/f romances. Comparatively speaking, that wasn’t an issue. Neutral Zone was a sweet hockey-centric romance that ...more
Larissa Cardozo
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book - honestly, the biggest reason I only gave it 4 stars is because I wanted MORE! It's a beautiful story of finding yourself and your true passions in life - even when they weren't necessarily what you expected - and doing so with the love and support of the most important people in your life. I feel like a lot of stories about coming out/coming into your own are about teenagers...but this book shows that it happens in adulthood, too, and highlights the importance of being ...more
Kate McMurry
This is a well written gay romance. It is much more focused on the growth of the romantic relationship than endless sex scenes, as is the case with many of this author's books in this series, particularly Defensive Zone. Instead, this is a very tender and compelling relationship between two sympathetic protagonists.
Suzi (Obsessive Reading Disorder)
This is a short novella in the Portland Storm series. Fans will be happy to get Cole's story. Luke has been paving the way for gay hockey players since he was in college. Unfortunately, he really feels that this has harmed his chances in the NHL.

Cole starts to spend time with Luke as they wait for the season to start. Sparks start to fly and they realize they may be able to make a go of a relationship. The book is the just the kick off of their story and I hope that we get to see more in
Christine Frieseke-Miller
This is a novella in the Portland Storm series about Cole and Luke Weber. I have watched Luke grown up through the books and was anxious to read his story. I loved watching Luke accept what was going on in his life and taking a shot with Cole. Cole has always been in the shadows and I've been waiting for his story. When he decides to come out of the shadows and take a shot at a relationship with Luke, I was cheering him on! These two were hot! I wish they would have gotten a full length book, ...more
Isha Coleman
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Neutral Zone (Portland Storm) by Catherine Gayle
Whether neutral or bias, Neutral Zone tackles subjects we can all get behind. Look beyond the romance and step into the light. Ms. Gayle is once again, on track with the times. Cole and Luke's tale is a fight for acceptance and self- love. It is a journey that is equal parts heartbreaking and inspirational. Life is about being true to ourselves and making the time we have here count. Skin color, religious beliefs or sexuality should not factor
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to start out by saying I don’t normally read m/m titles, but its Catherine Gayle and it’s Colesy so I wanted to know how his story would be told. I have to say I really enjoyed this book, it was written so well and I could feel the anxiety in the characters. This is still a difficult subject in our world and it shouldn’t be, this book helps you see that. This is a book about two people who love each other and about the friends and family that support them. I loved Cole and Luke and Webs ...more
Tanja Glavnik
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I buy a physical copy of this book??

I loved it. I LOVED IT. This pays back for the misses I felt with CG and her PS series. And, come on, Stormers, let's get that cup this season!!!

Cole and Luke were absolutely adorable and I actually felt that the novella-length suited this. It could have been longer, probably, but that being said it might have dragged while this just didn't. It was lovely and just what I needed!

Also, can we get a prequel about the Weber parents? Because, seriously, Webs
Lisa Gibbs
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Gayle has done it again. She tackles tough issues with truth and reality even though she writes fiction.

Cole finally gets his story after being on the fringes of several Portland Storm series. As has Luke, we have seen him grow up since he first appeared in The Portland Storm series.

Ms. Gayle tackles the subject of homosexuality in the sports world and she does so with flare. The love scenes are not overdone or forced, they are as natural as a if the scenes were about a man and a woman not
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book stole my heart, gave it a big squeeze, then carefully placed it back in my chest. Cole and Luke are perfection together, the ying and the yang the other didn't know was missing.

Luke is the last single Weber, both his sisters' are settled into relationships with hockey players on the Portland Storm, where his dad is one of the coaches. He always wanted a pro-hockey career, but it isn't materializing, and he isn't sure if it is because he came out in college, or he just isn't good
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Neutral Zone is a novella in Catherine Gayle's Portland Storm hockey romance series. I recommend that they are read in order, however they could be read as standalones as each novel/novella has a HEA. Neutral Zone features Storm defenseman Cole Paxton and the youngest Weber child, Luke Weber. Both characters have been featured in previous Portland Storm stories before. When Johnny discovered that Colesy identified as gay in In the Zone, fans begged Catherine for Colesy to get his own book . . . ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Neutral Zone is the seventeenth book in the Portland Storm Series but the first which tackles a homosexual relationship. For all the Storm fans who have been waiting for this moment…this is Cole “Colesy” Paxton’s book.
Colesy never expected to come out of the closet during his NHL career and being in a relationship is far from his top goals. However, by admitting to his homosexuality to deflect attention from a teammate, he has suddenly become
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been waiting for this book for so long! It was everything that I had hoped it would be. Catherine Gayle's readers have been asking for Cole's story since he was first introduced many books ago. She said she waited until she had the right characters and the right story to give him a book. She must have found what she was waiting for, because this was perfect!

Cole Paxton has been in the supporting character role in several of the Portland Storm books and I have loved him in each one.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neutral Zone by Catherine Gayle is quick, afternoon read for anyone looking for new twist on a sports romance novel. Luke and Cole had readers pulling for them from previous novels; Ms. Gayle did not disappoint her fans.

Luke has been busting his butt for years to try and prove he can make it in the NHL, struggling to find a place where he feels he’s accepted. Learning new skills on the ice while brushing off the negativity surrounding his sexuality. Luke has never felt so lost in his life.

Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a well written love story! So happy to see Cole get his HEA after everything he has been through and continues to go through being an openly gay player in the NHL. This is a story about friendship, family, love and acceptance. It is about the hurdles that gay people have to deal with and find a way to jump over every day. It deals with the impact that coming out can have on the life of an athlete. Unfortunately there are still so many close minded, unaccepting and homophobic people ...more
Karen Boozer
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You have met Cole Paxton and Luke Webber in other Portland Storm novels but in this novella you get their stories. Luke's hockey career has stalled, he believes, because he came out in college. He is faced with some tough decisions in regards to what he is going to do with his life now. Cole is in his hockey career downslide but gets out there and does his best every game. Cole is also Luke's long time crush.

It takes a while for the sparks to fly together but after Webbs gets involved with his
Kellie Herrick
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luke Weber is feeling the aftermath of his decision to come out to the world and blaming his decision for why he is not currently playing in the NHL. Come Paxton is wondering how he can get himself out of the spotlight he never wanted to be in at least not when it has to do with his personal life off the ice rather than his skills on the ice.

Cole and Luke are in very different places in their lives but at the same time they are very much at the same place. You can see a little bit of the age
Katharine OConnell
Neutral Zone is a wonderfully romantic love story about two men finding one another and forming a lasting relationship. It is refreshingly un-angsty, even though the main characters go through some serious life events. Colesy, as he is known to his teammates on the Portland Storm, is struggling with his family's rejection of his sexuality and hoping he won't have to be the public face of gay hockey even though he came out during a TV broadcast. Luke also came out publicly and cannot get a ...more
Amy Aislin
I think I would've enjoyed this much more had I read the previous 11 books in the series, but given that they're all m/f, that's not going to happen.

I thought this book had too many characters, and I couldn't keep track of everyone. People who have read the previous books most likely won't have that problem.

I didn't like Luke's meddlesome family, and the whole conversation about kids between Cole and Luke's mom came out of nowhere and, to be honest, brought this down from a 4-star read to a 3.
One of my favorite books from this incredible series. Catherine's hockey knowledge combined with real-life issues that tug at the heart are what make her fans come back for more. This novella is no different.

To be honest, I was a little resistant because I wanted Colesy with Burnzie's brother. They were hot in In the Zone. Plus, I hadn't really seen much of Luke in other books so I wasn't really invested in him. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I connected with him and started rooting
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoyed the story of Luke and Cole. I am glad they realized they had feelings for each other . it is sad that Cole's dad couldn't come to terms on Cole being gay in the hockey world. Luke's family was a lot more understanding on Luke being gay. In today's sports world athletes are starting to come out in being gay or lesbian. It doesn't matter your sexual orientation on how you play the sport. People have this thought that Bering gay or lesbian is bad for sports . in today's world ...more
Vero Stro
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short novella in the "Portland Storm" Series.
This time Ms. Gayle brings us Cole's story. The relationship between Cole and Luke is sweet and I felt that their story was well written and easy to read.Fans will be happy to get Cole's story. Luke has been paving the way for gay hockey players since he was in college. Unfortunately, he really feels that this has harmed his chances in the NHL.

Cole and Luke start to spend time together while they were waiting for the new season. Their
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I appreciate perfectly happily ever afters, I love this book (and Catherine Gayle's writing) more for not making everything work out exactly as Luke would have wanted! Cole and Luke struggle with their attraction to one another given the uncertain acceptance of openly gay relationships among professional athletes, but also due to their age difference and Luke's father being Cole's coach. Luke is also faced with the premature end to his professional hockey career after failing to be ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neutral Zone is the newest novella in the Portland Storm series. We’ve met Luke Webber and Cole throughout the series, and the readers have asked for their story. Catherine delivered it to us with this novella.

Neutral zone follows these two men as they embark on a relationship in a very public way. Luke was happy to blaze the way as an openly gay man, but Cole just wanted to keep his head down and do his job. A relationship could wait. Fate had a different plan for them.

What I love about this
Amy Johnson
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved...loved..loved this book. I volunteered to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but only because I can't wait the extra time for these books to be released. I've had my fingers and toes crossed waiting for this book to be written and Catherine made it worth the wait. This is a great story of true love and once again this author exceeded expectations in writing this story.
If you are a fan of a good contemporary romance, if you are a fan of happily ever after with
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a novella which gives some resolution to the storylines surrounding Cole and Luke. And, because we already know them, there is no need for scene setting and character introductions. For Luke and Cole, the novella format works perfectly.

I thought that this story was handled with a deft, light touch. The dancing around each other that these two did felt anchored in reality. But, for me, the scene stealers were Luke's parents. Each playing the concerned parent card in their own unique way.

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***Please note that series numbering of the Portland Storm series is different at Goodreads than it is on Catherine's website or at any retailer. Goodreads policy will not allow the series numbering to match anything else. If this confuses you, please complain to Goodreads, as it is not Catherine's fault.***

Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of more than forty contemporary hockey

Other books in the series

Portland Storm (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Breakaway (Portland Storm, #1)
  • On the Fly (Portland Storm, #2)
  • Light the Lamp (Portland Storm, #3)
  • Delay of Game (Portland Storm, #4)
  • In the Zone (Portland Storm, #5)
  • Comeback (Portland Storm, #6)
  • Dropping Gloves (Portland Storm, #7)
  • Losing an Edge (Portland Storm, #8)
  • Game Breaker (Portland Storm, #9)
  • Defensive Zone (Portland Storm, #10)