Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Layton Foxx works hard for what he has. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark, is all down to the sacrifices he has made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.
Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only things he doesn’t have are parents who care or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.
First of all, this book has oodles of elements that just set off the book sparklers for me. Starts with the authors because I love R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey, then moving swiftly to the facts that you also have hockey players (be still my heart), a opposites attract trope and a good dollop of hurt/comfort? Count me in!
When you mix that all together in the story First Season, it all comes together in a romance that hooked me in from the very start, made me love its characters from the main couple to the secondary cast and kept me invested as well as connected in everyone’s story. First Season is the second in the Harrisburg Railers series and while you don’t necessarily have to have read the first one , it does help to give you background information here on the couple Layton Foxx is coming to help. They make appearances is as does the next person getting his story.
But your heart and focus is on Layton and Adler and their slow, awkward, often painful dance towards love and a relationship. I absolutely loved Ads. At one point he’s described as a Irish Setter, ginger, bouncy, lots of energy, maybe a small attention span….you can so see it … totally adorable in the huge body of a hockey player. He also has almost no filters in his brain…so what he’s thinking is out his mouth without a checkpoint with obvious ramifications. All because of a upbringing with parents that had little to do with him and left him with no social skills. Talk about someone hungry for love and a home.
Then he meets damaged Layton Foxx who comes from an opposite background, but one where he can’t stand to go back to. PTSD and a pain-filled past has him trapped in another way and landed him in a job filled full of his worst nightmares…jocks. Watching Layton having to navigate his way around while trying to do the best for his clients AND deal with the confusing attentions of Adler? The dynamics are interesting, heartbreaking, funny, and often a bit convoluted even to the people involved themselves.
Locey and Scott also address the professional side of hockey and coming out, the costs to the team, the individual players etc. I thought this was handled beautifully.
First Season came very close to a 5 star rating but I felt that parts of Layton’s story and his clear lack of recovery needed to be further addressed. I wasn’t sure if Layton was still in therapy (I could have missed it to be honest), but the extent of his trauma I thought needed more attention here. Not in details but in their relationship and his family towards the end after Adler and Layton decided they were it for one another. A phone call and a comment about one portion of their sexual life didn’t quite get to the depth of the trauma they are dealing with.
Others may feel the authors dealt with it to their satisfaction.
Either way, I feel it’s a wonderful story. One I absolutely recommend. It has memorable characters, a team of hockey players to love and a series to look forward to each new release! Bring them on!
Cover art by Meredith Russell. The artist does both characters justice in a terrific cover. Love it.
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published September 27th 2017 by Love Lane Books Ltd
Series Harrisburg Railers