Fire on the Ice
Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Park is an erotic romance novella featuring two female professional athletes competing in the Snow & Ice Games which is definitely not the same thing as the Winter Olympics.
Nope. Definitely not.
It also has the honor of tying with Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series in the category: Most Sexually Explicit Scene Elyse Has Ever Read.
If that makes you a little nervous (and that’s fair given I once read a book about an Orca shifter with a time travel penis), the sexytimes in this book include…
…oral sex, fisting, sex with a strap-on, toy play, and light dominance/ submission.
So enough about ALL THE SEX, let’s talk about plot.
Maisy Harper is a Snow & Ice Games (*cough* Olympic *cough*) figure skater and perfectionist. Four years ago she had a super hot affair with speed skater Blaze Bellamy at the Games in Sapporo. They haven’t seen each other since, but now they’re both competing in Denver, and Maisy is hoping to pick up where they left off.
Maisy is the star of the Canadian figure skating team, and she’s been groomed for perfection since childhood. She is quiet, polite, elegant, and always does what’s expected of her. She would never tolerate a rhinestone out of place. Her parents, who push her hard to succeed, know she is gay but choose to treat it like a phase. The media sees her as the Ice Queen, an image of cool perfection she’s worked hard to maintain.
Blaze is a showboat who is openly bisexual and polyamorous. She’s loud, attention-seeking, uninhibited and really doesn’t give a fuck what people think of her. She’s the opposite of Maisy.
So of course they can’t get enough of each other. The affair starts out with some firm rules: it lasts the duration of the Games and they will be monogamous and discreet during that time. Blaze is fine with the monogamy, but discreet is something she struggles with.
Of the two characters, it’s Maisy who has the most to overcome in this book. She’s been repressed by her parents, to the extent that even her skating lacks joy. It’s perfect technically, calculated to put her in medal contention without much risk, but it’s devoid of personality. It’s become work.
It’s only behind their bedroom door that Maisy allows herself to be free. She’s sexually dominant and demanding. She’s not polite or modest or demure. Unfortunately that’s not a person she feels she can be in the larger world, and as she and Blaze start to have real feelings for each other, she struggles to figure out how to live as a more authentic representation of herself after a lifetime of carefully maintaining her perfect public persona.
For a short book, there was a decent amount of internal and external conflict present, and it was resolved without feeling rushed. There’s also a fair amount of humor. As they’re having sex Blaze thinks:
Is there any wonder I feel as thought we’re two peas in a sex pod? Wait, that’s gotta be a thing, right? A sex pod? Should totally google that when this is over. For now, though, she’s ordered something and I’ll deliver. I’m the USPS of orgasms. Rain, shine, sleet, snow or wind, I will deliver climaxes.
I also liked that, as athletes, neither woman fits the “perfect body type” mold (although petite Maisy comes closer). Maisy reflects on Blaze’s beauty:
She’s so gorgeously muscled, a powerful woman who is not afraid of being “too bulky.” What the fuck even is that? She looks badass and like she could bench press two of me, and …maybe I’ll ask her to later, for kicks. I love her bulk, enjoy how brawny she is. And I’m in awe of her big attitude made flesh and how unapologetic she is about it. You want me to do what I do? This is how I do it, and I’m not even sorry. How dare you suggest I should be? I am hot shit and you should be so lucky as to even get a piece of this.
Maisy loves Blaze’s muscular thighs, Blaze loves Maisy’s small breasts, and both take pride in the bruises they’ve accumulated during practice. This book is unapologetic in its body positivity and that made me so happy.
One thing I did wonder about though was how fast these women get out of their tights/ leggings. I mean, I guess they have a lot of practice, but I break out into a sweat trying to get mine either on or off, and sometimes I just lay on the floor and take a little break in there. Especially compression gear or long underwear.
My only criticism of the novella, and it wasn’t even close to a deal breaker for me, is that there are a lot of sex scenes in the beginning with most of the plot (and depictions of the winter games) toward the end, and I thought it could have been more evenly spaced.
That said, this was a very a sexy and enjoyable read while I waited for Olympic figure skating to arrive on prime time coverage, and I’d enthusiastically recommend it to fans of Olympic romance as well as readers looking for a hotter lesbian romance.
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