Breaking Out

by Lise MacTague

KJ Stennes has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things. But breaking in a new partner—even one who shows as much promise as Adrienne—just isn’t part of her plan.

Adrienne Pierce hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their lives. That the town has a women’s recreational hockey team is definitely a bonus. Despite a rocky start with KJ, the team’s star player, Adrienne can’t deny the attraction building between them. But how can she get involved with someone when she hasn’t yet found the stability her family needs?

And soon KJ’s budding attraction to Adrienne reminds her that there’s more to life than hockey… Maybe it’s time for KJ to get a new plan after all.



In stock



Genre Romance
Length 318 pages
Publication Date February 18, 2021
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781642471823
Editor Medora MacDougall
Cover Designer Kayla Mancuso



"I grew up in Canada and first played something like hockey with my brothers on the ice rink in my back yard. As an adult, I started playing actual hockey, with all the equipment and real rules and everything. I love the game, so I suppose it’s inevitable that I should write about it.

I decided to write about rec league hockey for a couple of reasons. It most closely matches my own experiences. Though I’ve improved immensely from when I first started, I’m under no illusions that my skills are anything more than mediocre. However, that in no way diminishes the fun of it. When it comes down to it, playing hockey (or any team sport, really) is about coming together with a group of people and doing your collective best against another group. That the level is recreational and not college or professional doesn’t change that.

We don’t see as many stories about sports being played recreationally. I suppose they lack some of the excitement and glitz of the game at higher levels, which is a shame. These are women who have jobs other than hockey. They care enough about playing that they’re willing to fit it in around their lives, be it work, family, or other obligations. Does it lack the glamor of a college game? Frequently, but who are we to diminish their passion even if they aren’t playing in an arena packed with spectators?

The story I wanted to tell with Breaking Out is that of two women whose lives intersect through the sport they love enough to play on evenings and weekends, and who discover they just may have room in there for each other too."

—Lise MacTague


MG D - So many good things in this book, where to start? It’s a sweet, slow-burn romance with hockey! It has lots of diversity, bi-rep, fun family antics (and not so fun family stuff too), depth, heart, and a lovely storyline that weaves through the everyday lives of everyday people with their flaws and strengths. The sports aspect doesn’t overpower the main romance, but is a vital part of the story and provides action and excitement.

I loved the two mains, first I fell for KJ, with her prickly outside and heart of gold inside, but Adrienne really shone throughout the story. They get together soon enough in the story that we see them together as a couple for a while, with tons of wonderful vignettes of family life. None of the characters are perfect, and even the supporting cast is interesting and well-fleshed out.

A wonderful read that ends on a sweet, happy note and left me smiling.

Pin’s Reviews - Another compelling story by Lise MacTague. This time a romance from the world of sports, more specifically amateur ice hockey, set in the imaginary small town of Pennsylvania, USA. Both protagonists are well-defined and likable and their romance is developed at a nice comfortable pace. The writing is very good with nice dialogue and pacing. The child character is also well done with a significant share in the narrative. Sports practice and games also have a significant share here, but without being too much even for a person who is not hockey fan. Overall I was quite happy with this nice low angst romance, enjoyed reading it and would recommend it.

Gillian F. - This was a lovely, feel-good romance with minimal angst and lots of sweet moments of sapphic love and family that I give a 3.75! With an enemies to defence partners to friends to lovers evolution of the main characters' relationship, it was fun to see how Adrienne and KJ's relationship grew without the overly-angsty moments that sapphic romance novels can be filled with.

I strongly recommend it to those who love hockey, and those who know nothing about it.

Skip S. - This was my first time reading MacTague and I have to say I really loved this book. It was the perfect mix of sport and romance for my tastes, and with the intricacies of both main characters it just made for the perfect read.

This isn’t a full blown enemies to lovers, but it’s definitely reluctant acquaintances to lovers. It’s also a great slow burn as they get to know each other first on the ice, then as friends before admitting their attraction to each other.

I particularly enjoyed the slow burn of the romance and the way both characters grew through the narrative, both together and as individuals. KJ coming to terms with her family situation is particularly well done.

Lawrence is a great character. I love the way his relationship develops with KJ, first as a friend and then as his Mom’s girlfriend. As to be expected, that’s a hard transition for him, but I thought MacTague did a great job of illustrating this and the disappointment all parties feel, and then the joy. I also love his relationship with KJ’s dog Chester.

The other secondary characters play their parts. The rest of the hockey team are fun, KJ’s family are difficult but redeemed and Adrienne’s family are pretty great.

If you like sports in your sapphic books, you’ll love this, but even if you aren’t a sports fan and like a good romance you should enjoy this one as it has so much going for it. There is some on ice action, but it doesn’t take up too much of the book and it’s more used to discuss their relationship and feelings, than for the actual action itself.

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