Release Blitz: Prove It by Stephanie Hoyt

Prove It
(Do or Die #1)
by Stephanie Hoyt
illustrated by Victoria Newberry
Date Released: February 27, 2024

About Prove It
Despite being unanimously projected to go first overall in the upcoming NHL Draft, Noah Anderson wants nothing more than to get the Draft over with so he can escape his dad’s unrelenting criticism and establish himself outside the rivalry he’s never tried to fuel.

Alex Valencia can handle getting picked second after a guy touted as the next Gretzky—but he can’t wrap his head around the fact that Noah is the one friend he can’t make.

When the draft lottery all but guarantees they’ll play for rival teams, Alex accidentally walks them right into a loser-buys dinner competition, ensuring their relationship remains a point of interest long after the season begins.

Opposites in so many ways, neither Alex nor Noah expect a relationship built on the begrudging acceptance of a challenge made on live television to become so deeply important to them. But as the line between chirping and flirting blurs, they both must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice to play in the NHL.


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An Excerpt from Prove It
There’s a noise to Noah’s left. He expects to see his dad, annoyed and ready to tell Noah every way he should’ve done better, how he’s never going to make it in the NHL if he keeps hiding from all his problems instead of facing them head on. He’s gearing up for another blow to this lackluster eighteenth birthday when he glances over at Alex Valencia walking down the row toward him. For a fleeting second, Noah’s relieved he doesn’t have to face his father yet. Then Alex takes the seat next to him and the image of hats flying to the ice after Alex scored the game winner for the United States flashes through his mind and irritation floods through him.

“Come to gloat about your buzzer beater?”

“Does that sound like something I’d do, Anderson?”

Noah drags his attention away from the Zamboni smoothing over the ice to find Alex smiling at him. Which isn’t unexpected—Alex has the opposite of a resting bitch face—but this smile is different from any Noah’s ever received. This one doesn’t match the earnest incandescence Noah has never understood, but now expects from Alex.

Noah’s shocked by how much he hates it. Even more so when he admits, “No, I suppose not.”

He wouldn’t say he’s an expert on Alex’s smiles—they barely know each other—but he’s seen enough to recognize the transformation. A second ago, it was subdued, a little tight, but now he’s grinning, loose and broad enough to dimple his cheeks. This one’s real and Noah has an inexplicable, yet familiar, desire to press his thumb to Alex’s tan skin and measure the depth of his left dimple—always a little more pronounced than the right. Noah’s stomach twists and his heartbeat ratchets up—he can’t afford to still have these thoughts.

Hockey is already a parasitic environment, but being attracted to the one guy he can’t escape is another level of hell entirely. No one, from his dad to the reporters covering their international matchups, can shut up about how Alex would be the clear first overall if Noah wasn’t in his draft class and if anyone could upset the predictions, Alex’s strength and size might give him the edge to do it.

Which…fine. Whatever. Noah can’t fix his height, but he can get stronger and if he has to measure himself against Alex, who truly is phenomenal, to know he’s trying hard enough, then so be it. And maybe, if Alex weren’t gorgeous—with his perfect smile, perfect cheekbones, perfect jaw, perfectly silky-smooth hair—Noah wouldn’t hate it so much. But Alex is stunning, and every time someone mentions his name, everything Noah wants but can never have flashes before his eyes.

Which, for the record, isn’t Alex.

Noah might not know Alex, but after years of crossing paths, he’s pretty confident he’s too much for all of Noah’s anxieties to handle in large doses. Alex is loud and vibrant and always moving. His personality draws people in and keeps them, and he seems to thrive off it. Alex is everything Noah isn’t and nothing he wants to be around.

Noah wants the freedom to fall in love, to live without the pressure to blend in—constantly worried someone can tell he isn’t straight. Noah doesn’t want Alex, but Noah looks at him and his chest aches for what could be if he liked girls, if he didn’t care what people thought of him, if hockey wasn’t such a toxic environment. He looks at Alex and he wants.

Not for the first time, Noah hopes they get drafted to different conferences. He’s not na├»ve. He knows their first matchup in the NHL will be a big deal regardless of where it happens, but only playing twice a year should mitigate the fuss. If Noah’s lucky, their so-called rivalry will fade into the nonexistent thing Noah wishes it already was.

“Why’re you here then?” Noah asks.

“Wanted to say happy birthday.”

Prove It
Stephanie Hoyt © 2024
All Rights Reserved


About Stephanie Hoyt
Stephanie Hoyt loves chaotic bisexuals, happily-ever-afters, and stories that blend the melancholy of self-discovery and self-acceptance with the delights and falling in love. She lives in Houston with her husband, her two children, and her vey neurotic dog. She loves reality baking competitions, hockey, and rearranging the living room in times of stress.

Connect with Stephanie


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