Put some ginger ale and Coke on ice, readers—Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov are back! This spring Rachel Reid returns to the Game Changers series with The Long Game, a new installment in Shane and Ilya’s love story, which began in Heated Rivalry. The Long Game hits shelves on April 26, 2022. We Are Bookish has an exclusive reveal of the cover, but first, read our mini-interview with the author.
Tell us about your book cover! What was the cover design process like for you? Did the Heated Rivalry cover play a role in the direction this one took since the books focus on the same couple?
When I saw the final cover, the thing that struck me right away was that it looks like an evolution of the Heated Rivalry cover. It has some similarities, but where the Heated Rivalry cover has tension and longing and frustration, the cover for The Long Game is romantic, and depicts a couple who are united and in love and possibly looking to the future.
The Long Game is part of the Game Changers series and is a return to Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov from Heated Rivalry. At what point did you know that Ilya and Shane’s story was one you wanted to continue? What were you most excited to explore in revisiting them?
As soon as I finished writing Heated Rivalry! I had always planned to write more of their story one way or another, even if it was a series of short stories. I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity by Carina Press to give Ilya and Shane a full-length sequel, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I especially wanted to dig deeper into Ilya and how he’s adjusting to his new life. Heated Rivalry was more of a Shane book, and The Long Game is more of an Ilya book.
What three words would Shane use to describe this book and what three words would Ilya use?
I mean, after they get over the initial shock of finding a book about themselves, Shane would describe it as “thorough,” “intrusive,” and “embarrassing.” Ilya would describe it as “long,” “hot,” and “good.”
Cover design is constantly changing and evolving. Is there a current trend in covers that you enjoy? What do you think is the secret to a good book cover?
So many romance novels have illustrated covers now, but I love how there are still some exceptionally beautiful ones that really stand out. I especially love painted covers. I think a good book cover has to be striking, but also match the story inside. With photographs, it can be tricky to capture the likenesses of the characters, and personally, I prefer the model’s head to be cropped off if they really don’t look like the character. It can be hard for readers to picture a character any way other than what is shown on the cover. It’s better to have no face at all than one that distracts the reader from the way the character is supposed to look.
Other than a re-read of the Game Changers series, what books do you recommend we pick up while we wait for The Long Game to hit shelves on April 26?
Some of my favorite romance novels that I’ve read lately are Allie Therin’s Proper Scoundrels, which is the first book in her new historical paranormal series that spun out of her fantastic Magic in Manhattan series; the Dig Two Graves duology by K.A. Merikan, which is a riveting late-1800s romance between two outlaws in the American west; Season’s Change, an emotional slow-burn hockey romance debut by Cait Nary; and The Missing Page by Cat Sebastian, which is the follow-up to Hither, Page, one of my favorite books ever.
Now, let’s get our first peek at The Long Game!
Here’s the official summary for The Long Game:
The sequel is finally here! Shane and Ilya’s story, first seen in Heated Rivalry, continues in this long-awaited hockey romance from Rachel Reid.
To the world they are rivals, but to each other they are everything.
That’s how long Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov have been seeing each other. How long they’ve been keeping their relationship a secret. From friends, from family… from the league. If Shane wants to stay at the top of his game, what he and Ilya share has to remain secret. He loves Ilya, but what if going public ruins everything?
Ilya is sick of secrets. Shane has gotten so good at hiding his feelings, sometimes Ilya questions if they even exist. The closeness, the intimacy, even the risk that would come with being open about their relationship… Ilya wants it all.
It’s time for them to decide what’s most important—hockey or love.
It’s time to make a call.
Rachel Reid has always lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, and will likely continue to do so. She has two boring degrees and two interesting sons. She has been a hockey fan since childhood, but sadly never made it to the NHL herself. She enjoys books about hot men doing hot things, and cool ladies being awesome. You can follow Rachel on Instagram at rachelreidwrites and Twitter @akaRachelReid, and on Goodreads. Her website and blog, where she writes more things, is www.rachelreidwrites.com.