Release Blitz and Giveaway for One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by V.L. Locey

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Buy Links:Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2DcQepb

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2AOxCdv

 
Length: 57,000 words approx.
 
 

Cayuga Cougars Series

Book #1 – Snap Shot – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Open Net – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Coach’s Challenge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Overtime – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

The past few years have been a bit chaotic for Cougars new associate coach, Lancaster Hart. After an amiable divorce he began living his life as the gay man he’d kept closeted for far too long. With the recent move to Cayuga, he’s away from his support system and properly made sweet tea. Despite a roster filled with new friends and associates, he’s spending his nights alone.

As his team gears up to make a run at the Calder Cup, Lancaster discovers that not everything in upstate New York is wine, woodlands, and chilly conservative ideals. At a summer music festival, he first lays eyes on Townsend Harris, folksy/blues singer by night and mayoral office assistant by day. Lancaster is enraptured with the man’s powerful sultry voice. Also, Town just might be the most beautiful man he has seen in all his forty-one years.

The two hit it off at an informal meet and greet after the show, where they spend the night talking and sipping wine. One evening of conversation and an incendiary goodbye kiss leads them into a scorching love affair that might be exactly what Lancaster has been searching for his whole life. Can his team pull off professionally what he’s hoping to do privately as well? Or will capturing their dream evade both the Cougars and Lancaster?

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

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A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

I really enjoyed the Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp.  It has so many elements I love in a contemporary romance, starting off with hockey players and hockey coaches in love combinations.  Or just a hockey element.  That always draws me in.  Wasp also has another aspect to this series and story I adore.  Large families that support the main characters!

Families easily identifiable by location (Boston), ethnicities (Irish and Italian), long association (neighbors), and even intertwined relationships.  This extended main cast is a huge factor in connecting the reader to the character of Joey Luciano (the Italian family) and Liam O’Reilly (the Irish one),  In a totally current and hilarious format, we often see the family members communicating with each other via group text.  It’s never overdone, totally funny, and very realistic.  It’s has the feel of family and truth.  And it brought these people and their lives right into my heart.

Joey, “the Looch” Luciano, is a 25 year old  with a lot of issues. On the outside, he’s let this “Looch” character he’s created take over his life (brash, outgoing to the  extreme that it seems like he’s hogging the media and outshining his teammates.  No one is happy with him, including himself.  On the inside it’s worse.  Wasp has created Joey as a insecure person, low self esteem to the point that he seeks approval from every source and everyone without asking himself why he needs it so.  This is an enormous issue, obviously.  Not his only one. On top of this Joey is dealing with the fact that he has loved Liam since he can remember, a love that he has never looked at what that meant.  Why?  Because he shrinks from being called gay or even bisexual.  Which imo is totally misused here with regards to Joey.

Joey is someone who has lacked self examination for most of his life and it’s not until he gets involved with Liam that he smacks into some hard realities for himself.  At about 51 percent, we get these musing from Joey…

“What did people see when they looked at him? Could they tell he was having sex with a guy? Probably not. He looked as normal as Paul and Robbie. And he wasn’t gay gay. If anything he was bisexual like Liam.”

There are so many flags in those sentences that show exactly how messed up Joey is over not only his sexuality but homosexuality in general.  Being gay isn’t “normal”?  He also has issues with femme versus masc. And as is worked out down the story, Joey really doesn’t enjoy sex with women, so no, not bisexual.  Yes, some of this flags get addressed, not as many as I wished but a lot.

There are so many broken layers to Joey, it’s just one right after enough. Panic attacks, health issues, and more that need to be seriously addressed. Are all given the depth of attention I would wish or deserve? Perhaps not but they aren’t blown off either. Believable, authentic cracks in this man.  Kudos to A.E. Wasp for creating such a character.

Liam is a strong character, older by 10 years than Joey.  I liked him and their relationship but honestly wondered if the author was going to use their hot, and admittedly kinky sex life as a bandaid for all of Joey’s deep problems.  Thankfully, the  answer is no.  Wasp let me wonder about that, while I enjoyed Joey and LIam working out their relationship and then gave me everything I hoped for in the ending of this story. That included my Washington Caps winning the Stanley Cup this year!  And therapy for Joey.  Win win.

The humor here had me cackling!  Whether it’s Knock Knock jokes or Liam’s younger brother Patrick trying to get Liam to switch out his posh furniture for a huge leather sectional that all the young hockey players can come over and watch TV on saying”

“It’s the traditional furnishings of our people!”

Well, this book and dialogue crackles with fun, the knowledge of what it is like to be young, in love, or a hockey player, or to just do dumb things.  And all of the above.

Yes, plenty of angst too.

If I also have a complaint, its the actual lack of hockey.

We get headlines, sports feeds,  but  little actual ice time.  These men are passionate about ice and hockey.  So where is the time on the ice?  Where is the sense of team?

We get little of that except towards the very end in the important game.  I wish so badly we had had lots more of that action throughout the story.  Then we could understand why Joey and Liam’s actions carried the weight of the love of ice behind them that they did.  I felt that was missing because we never really saw Joey on ice for the majority of the book.  We were told about it but never actually “felt” it through the character. And I felt that was a mistake.

But did I love this story?  Yes I did.  I thought the author did a tremendous job with the characters, actualizing a man on the brink of a life change for himself and letting us travel some of the journey with him.  Scary, messy, not totally complete, a work in progress as they say.  I think Joey would agree with that and be happy.  So would Liam and the rest of the two families.

I definitely look for more in this series.  I recommend this one for all lovers of contemporary romance and hockey and even a little love of spanking!

 

Cover art: Ana Phoenix.  Nice cover but doesn’t quite get the age difference.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published September 21st 2018
ASINB07HL6TTW9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHot Off the Ice #5

 

Book Blast with Reviews – Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5)

Author: A. E. Wasp

Publisher:  Self-Published

Cover Artist: Ana Phoenix

Genre/s:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Heat Rating:  3.5 flames

Length:  100,000 words/432 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

This is a story about losing the path and finding yourself.

It contains kissing, yelling, spanking, and carb-loaded family interventions. 

Blurb

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

“Hey,” Joey said, looking up from his phone as Liam fell into the bathroom. “Took you long enough. I’ve been in this fucking bathroom for ten minutes. It’s not that nice. One of those for me?”

“Fucking hell,” Liam said.

Those were the first words he’d spoken to Joey since Christmas Day. Jerk. Stupid gorgeous jerk.

”Okay, then.” Joey reached for one of the shot glasses and downed it, coughing a little from the tequila burn. He’d been expecting whiskey. “Tequila?” Bad things happened when they drank tequila.

Liam nodded and poured the other shot down his throat.

“Gina?”

“Who else?”

Who else but his big sister would do that? Of course, he’d known they were planning on trapping him in the bathroom. He’d also known Liam would do what they wanted, too. The O’Reilly-Luciano double-team had a ninety-five percent success rate.

He’d gone along with it because someplace, not even that deep inside, he desperately wanted to see Liam again. To see if Liam would still have the same effect on him as he had since puberty. Joey licked the last drop of alcohol off his lips, feeling a tingle of lust when Liam dropped his gaze to Joey’s mouth. Yeah. Still, the same effect. Stupid, good-looking smug bastard.

Liam set his glass on the counter with a thud, and then closed the distance between them, forcing Joey to look up to meet his eyes. Sometimes Joey really hated being four inches shorter than him.

“Nice outfit,” Liam said taking in the remains of Joey’s hastily-constructed pirate costume; red and black striped nylon pants ending in a ragged cuff just below the knee, black patent-leather Doc Martin boots, and a wide gold sash tied around his waist. He’d lost his shirt somewhere in the club. The way Liam couldn’t tear his eyes away from Joey’s tattoos made the loss of the two hundred dollar shirt totally worth it.

Liam picked up the end of the sash, sliding the silky material through his fingers. “How come every time I see you, you’re wearing some kind of costume?” Last time they’d met, Joey had been dressed as Santa.

Liam, of course, was his normal GQ self in dark trousers, a white dress shirt, and one of his vast collection of purple ties. The perfect simplicity of his clothes making everyone else look like they were trying too hard.

“How come every time I see you, you’re overdressed?” Joey asked.

Liam ran his hand through his thick red hair. “At least I’m not wandering around half-naked, letting everybody and their brother get their eyes all over me.”

Joey’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me?”

Liam scowled. “It’s a snake pit out there. I got groped half a dozen times walking here.”

Joey leaned back against the water-splattered sink counter. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Your point is?”

Liam stepped close enough that their thighs brushed. Dropping his hand heavily on Joey’s shoulder, he watched transfixed as his thumb traced the curve of Joey’s collarbone. “My point is, that maybe I don’t like the idea of you getting pawed at by a room full of drunks and puck bunnies.”

Joey knocked Liam’s hand away. He had to be fucking kidding. “Tough shit.” Joey pushed himself upright, poking Liam in the center of his (distractingly firm) chest, hard enough to make him take a step backward. “You got no right to tell me what to do or not to do.”

About the Author

After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing.

A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world that can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.

Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in a town suspiciously like Red Deer, Colorado.


Author Links

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: New York Nightwings Collection by V.L. Locey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Nightwings Complete Collection contains all three novellas in the New York Nightwings MM hockey romance trilogy. The first two—On Broadway and Rookie Moves—were previously available in the Changing on the Fly charity anthologies. The third novella—Transitions—is a brand-new story written for this collection.

On Broadway (New York Nightwings #1)

Riley Zeally is captain of the New York Nightwings pro hockey team and in the closet. Young, handsome, highly talented, he was drafted at 18, skipped college, and is now a key player for this winning team. When he and his friend Otto spot a kid playing hockey on the rink at Rockefeller Center early one morning, he has no idea of how much his life is going to change. The kid, Rocket, is a street hustler who was pushed from his Christian home before he was fourteen and has been on the streets ever since. Not really a kid, more of a twenty-something, and when Reily finally meets him a few weeks later, the two hit it off in more ways than one. Long story short, they end up together and Reily comes out of the closet for his love for Keiffer, aka Rocket. The major problem I had with this story is that Keiffer was an abrasive character, definitely difficult to like, and the insta-love “I’m willing to come out for you” trope just didn’t do it for me. This was a 2.

Rookie Moves (New York Nightwings #2)

Picking up where book one left off, this story focuses more on Keiffer—who he really is, what are his dreams, and what’s he willing to do to achieve them. As Reily promised, if Keiffer gets his GED, Reily will pay for his college degree and will get the Nightwings pro scouts to look at him if Keiffer makes his college hockey team. When Reily’s parents and sister come to town for the playoff games, we learn even more about Keiffer, and the author cleverly lets us see his big heart, his care and concern for LGBTQ kids on the streets, and his true dreams and goals, and they don’t include hockey, but they do include a degree in social work and setting up a shelter for the kids who are like he used to be. This one was much more complex with deeper characterizations and a loving, giving family. Keiffer was a much more interesting character and brought out my soft side. I gave this story a 4 star rating.

Transitions (New York Nightwings #3)

This is the story I really enjoyed. It featured Tommy Handsome, real name Hector Alvarez, a street kid who served as a big brother to Keiffer and other young LGBTQ boys on the streets. Tommy moved from being a hooker to being a three-card monte hustler, and now is helping with outreach for the new shelter Keiffer and Reily founded. When he meets Vincent Madeux, the goalie for the rival Brooklyn team at a fancy benefit, the two hit it off very well. But Vincent is older and in his last year of hockey and has no desire to come out before retirement. So, they can be together—just not in public. This story explores Tommy’s persona—his kind heart and sense of responsibility for the kids who are still on the street—and it touches on his friendship with Keiffer and his pride in his new position. There’s plenty of time for relationship development between he and Vincent as well, and the author gives us a very nice HEA. I love age-gap romance and this one was spot-on. Definitely 5 stars.

So overall? I’d recommend the trilogy to those who enjoy hockey MM romance.

The cover done by Designs by Sloan features headshots of three handsome young men, all the “stars” of the enclosed stories.

Sales Links:

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 5th 2018
Edition Language English

Release Blitz for Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey

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Length: 52,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 
Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts?

Trent Hanson is a figure skating phenom adored by millions around the world. His whole life has been dedicated to the sport he loves even when the sport – and his own family – have turned against him. From the playground to the Olympics to his parent’s living room, Trent has fought against bullies and homophobes to be the out and proud gay man he is. But the constant fighting has left Trent tired, lonely, and skittish. All those fears will have to be shelved though when he’s hired to spend the summer working with the Harrisburg Railers ice hockey team. Who would have guessed that the man fate has decided to pair him off with is Dieter Lehmann, all-around sex god and a man who seems to have everything to prove and doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Dieter has spent too many years languishing in the minors and a secret addiction to prescription painkillers means his career is in a downward spiral. His ex is blackmailing him and he’s close to walking away from it all. But when he’s called up in the run for the Stanley Cup to cover injuries he has a taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL and he realizes that a place on the Railers roster is what he wants more than anything. More than listening to his heart, and even more than caring for the infuriating figure skater who gets under his skin. When he crosses the line to get what he wants, he knows he has lost his way. He has to change, but is it too late for both his career and any chance he might have at love?

 
Excerpt
 

Ah, agents. They were so lovely – when they weren’t embezzling all your money and spending it on whores, vodka gimlets, and a particularly bad run over a week in Atlantic City. Note to the young and innocent – never let your stepfather manage your money, especially when he’s open about how much he dislikes your gay little ass. That way you won’t end up broke, shamed, and trying to figure out how to keep your mother and grandmother from being booted out of their house while your rink teeters on the edge of financial ruin. Where the fuck had all my happy gone? I wanted it back, dammit!

I moved past the windows that looked down on Philadelphia, my hometown. I’d been born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love. I adored this city, and it loved me in return. Or had. Now I was just the mincing and well-dressed queer who didn’t even have two pennies to rub together. How quickly love and adoration turned to titters and cold shoulders. Drawing my coat around me, I sat down in a plush beige chair and crossed one leg over the other, making sure my coat draped properly over my thighs. I hate wrinkles. And beige. Why were straights so afraid of a little color?

Gayle sat down behind her desk, smiled at me yet again, and folded her hands in front of her. I raised a freshly plucked eyebrow. She was still trying to get a handle on me. Tobey & Troy was the largest athletic representation firm in Philly. They handled most of the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers, as well as several tennis players. And now they had me. Trent Lawrence Hanson. Famed gay figure skater and next in line to be a Dickens character in real life. Please, sir, I want some more. Ugh. As if I’d eat gruel. What if I had to? The thought was too much to bear.

“I think that now that the legal issues with your father—”

“Stepfather,” I quickly reminded her.

“Yes, sorry, stepfather. Well, now that he’s been convicted and is serving time, I think this is the moment to start working on marketing you in a positive light.” She smiled again, nervously, and leveled light blue eyes at me. “Where are you in terms of returning to competitive skating?”

I glanced out the window at Ben Franklin standing atop City Hall. I began running my hands over the thin cotton flaps lying over my thighs.

“I have no money, my professional reputation is shot, and both my rink and my mother’s house are two months away from foreclosure. Do you honestly think I could find the mental clarity and focus to skate again?” As soon as I heard how bitchy I sounded, I placed a hand over my mouth. “I’m so sorry,” I mumbled into my fingers.

“It’s quite understandable,” she replied. She was far too nice to be saddled with a miserable cow-bag like me. I wanted to cry, but didn’t. I’d do that later when I visited Mom and my Lola. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Water would be lovely,” I coughed into my fingers. She rang her receptionist. “I’m better now. See.” I lowered my hand and smiled brilliantly at her.

Gayle nodded, but melancholy lingered in her gaze. A tiny blonde hurried in with a bottle of water and handed it to me. I was about to ask if she could possibly find a cold one, but I bit my tongue. Bitchy Trent had already escaped once today.

“Thank you.”

She nodded and scurried out, closing the door behind her slim backside. Her shoes were terrible. Who wears black flats with a peach dress in late June? Honestly, women, learn how to dress. I took tiny sips of the tepid water. Gayle waited. I capped the bottle and balanced it in my left hand so my coat didn’t get watermarked. I was a beggar now. I had to keep my wardrobe in good shape. Tears threatened again.

Gayle broke into the building weep-fest. “I understand that you’re not mentally ready to return to figure skating. To that end, we need to find you something to do that will bring in good money so you can get your assets back in sound fiscal shape.”

“You mean pull my rink and my mother’s house out of the snapping jaws of foreclosure?”

“Well, I wouldn’t have been quite that dramatic…”

“Few are.” I sighed as I returned to working out the crinkles in my duster.

“Right, well, I’ve been approached by GLBTQtv about a reality show with you as the star.”

My chin dropped to my chest. “Get. Out.”

“I’m very serious,” Gayle said, her smile spreading into a grin. “They’re waving a nice fat contract at us.”

“I’ll do it! Wait. Are there lots of zeros mentioned in the contract?” I was so excited I grabbed my duster and wadded it up in my right hand.

“There are several zeros,” she whispered as her grin grew even wider.

“I’ll do it!” My gods, I was such a whore. Wave a ten in front of me and down to my knees I went. But zeros meant money. Money that would keep my family safely housed and my rink operational. Rainbow Skate was my rink. I’d bought it and refurbished it. It was where I practiced. And it was where little gay and straight children who wanted a safe place to skate and express themselves and their art could come. No hateful slurs or brutes were allowed at Rainbow Skate. That was my rule. I hated bullies. I’d dealt with them from the time I was eight and discovered how fabulous I was on skates and how amazing my sewing skills were. By the time I was fourteen and came out officially, not one person was shocked. My stepfather was disgusted, but then again, he was a thieving twat.

“Wonderful! I’ve read over the contract and it’s pretty straightforward.” I bounced in my seat as Gayle talked. “They’re asking for six to eight weeks with exclusive access to you and the Railers as you work with them.”

The bouncing slowed. “I’m sorry…” I tapped my right ear. “Did you say Railers? What are Railers?”

“They’re the hockey team that’s expressed a pointed interest in working with you on this show.”

I couldn’t control the laugh that burst out of me. I roared so long and so heartily that I was close to hyperventilating when the laughter began to die down. Gayle sat behind her desk, staring at me as if I’d gone around the bend.

Phew. Oh, my gods and garters,” I panted several minutes later. Dabbing gently under my eyes, I saw a blur of black on my fingertip. “And I thought this was waterproof eyeliner. Do you have tissues?”

She got up , grabbed a box from the edge of her desk, and handed it to me.

“Thank you.” I wiped my finger on a Kleenex, then gingerly pulled a tiny corner under my right and then left eye. “I hate this cheap stuff. I’m going to throw it out when I get home. Why did I even buy anything other than waterproof?”

“Is there a problem with you working with hockey players?” Gayle asked after she sat back down.

I tittered. “How much time do you have?” I asked.

She gawked at me.

“I do not do jocks.”

“But you’re a jock.”

“Uh, no, no, I am not. I’m an artist. I don’t go skating around hitting people in the face with sticks. No, sorry, this sweet thing,” I motioned to myself, “does not do hockey players, footballers, baseballers, basketballers, or those men who run around with nets to catch balls in. Lacrosse! I don’t do them either. I will do tennis players or an occasional fellow skater, but they can’t be on my team. Cat fights amongst team members are so ugly. I rather like Russian skaters. It’s the accent. I once did a Russian skater. He was delicious. I called it my Boris Godunov phase.”

I giggled at the witty, but Gayle simply continued to gape. I was so happy now – why was she being a prude?

“What?” I asked when she didn’t speak.

“Trent, this contract is contingent on you working with the Railers.”

“No, sorry. I don’t do hockey players. Didn’t we just cover that? They’re rude bullies who have never passed up an opportunity to shove me into lockers, dunk my head into toilets, or taunt me in front of everyone at the rink. Nope. Tell them I don’t do hockey players.”

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.



mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.



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A Jeri Review: Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I really love books with one of the main characters playing a professional sport. But what I really liked about this one is the way Tristan, a professional hockey player, was preparing for life after hockey. Taking his down time to take college courses to ready himself for a second career. Enter hot sociology professor who has no clue who Tristan is.
Another thing I really enjoyed was that instead of sneaking around, they became friends first. Because they knew they couldn’t be together if they were teacher and student. Imagine that! WAITING! Every other book I read has the main characters sneaking around to avoid being caught together. By not sneaking around, not giving in, the sexual tension was through the roof. But that slow burn was really hot.
The conflict came instead from Sebastian being out and proud and Tristan being in the closet. The whole macho sports thing. Sigh. Makes me sad that it isn’t just in a book but also in real life. No one should have to hide.
As a sociology professor, Sebastian really likes to teach about perception of people. How they are perceived just by looking at them without knowing them. It was really cool how that was turned right around on him when he assumed that Tristan was a frat boy who cheated his way through. Never in a million years did he think that the baseball hat and sweatpants wearing guy was a pro hockey player, smart, articulate and focused. Shows that no matter how enlightened we are, we all have bias.
Even though this is a co-authored book, it was seamless. I never felt the shift from one author to the author. I’ve read other collaborations of theirs and enjoyed them for some of the same reasons. It was well written, well thought out and didn’t use sex as a page filling crutch.
This is a definite read.
 
Cover art by Natasha Snow is perfect for the story.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 283 pages
Published October 30th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496613
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHat Trick #1
CharactersTristan Holt, Sebastian Cruz, Ryu Mori, Trevor Morley, Daniel Bellamy

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst

Standard
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
 
thanks-a-lot-john-leclairEmmitt LaPoint loves playing hockey. Hockey has been his refuge from the world ever since he was little. He is the golden boy of Colby, Vermont what with being the captain of the high school hockey team and having a near perfect GPA but he is also gay.
 
Emmitt finds it hard to reconcile his love for Dusty with his love for hockey because as he knows it there are no gay hockey players in the NHL. But when things between Dusty and him deteriorate, he has to take a stand for what he wants in his life irrespective of what his Dad or the world at large seems to want for him.
 
My only bone to pick with this book is that when it ended I wanted more! Lots more! I almost wish I could read about Emmitt forever.
 
This book was engaging and so very interesting. It was also incredibly well written. One of things I didn’t like about the first book was that it seemed to be composed entirely of facts with very little exposition. Also the lack of exposition made me feel that things in the first book were happening at break neck speed which could have been intentional on the author’s part but it put a dent in my reading experience. So I am delighted to acknowledge that those dents in the first book were completely hammered out in this book. It was just so beautifully written.
 
This story was written in first person and I have realized that first person narratives are especially lovely when you can relate to the narrator and that is what I loved about this book, the fact that it made me fall in love with Emmitt. I pretty much already loved Dusty, Casey and the Mortons but as the first book is mostly focused on Dusty’s life at home, I hadn’t really formed any opinion on Emmitt. So this book was an eye opener for me. One of the things I loved about Emmitt was that he realized that being impressive and courageous can actually be very tiring, even if it comes instinctually to you, when people start to expect it from you. But in this regard I loved what Coach Jackson had to say, I think I fell in love with him over his words.
 
“You think success is some trophy you put on your shelf? Some number you graduate high school with? Success isn’t something you hold up for other people to look at. It’s a life that’s filled with happiness. Hope. Meaning. Things like that. That’s what the goal is. You end up with any of those things, and it won’t matter how many trophies and numbers you have to show off.”
 
This book deals with so many themes but the most consistent theme that runs throughout this book is that of coming out. But don’t let that statement pigeon hole this book for you because it has so much else to teach. One thing I love about the young adult/new adult genre is that I always get to learn something and on that count this book is a treasure trove. And then there was hockey.  Ice Hockey is a sport I have fallen in love with only on the basis of what I have read of it in mm romance novels, I have no idea if I will enjoy its real life counterpart but I am not in any hurry to find out especially because I have really fallen in love with how it is portrayed in these books and especially this one. I love the whole new dimension that sports can add to a story and I loved how that aspect was used in this book.
 
This book is a must read. It is awfully amazing.
 
Cover Art by Anne Cain. I liked the cover but somehow I can’t agree with the choice of the font for the title what with all its sharp edges and the decision to have the title spread over so much of the cover.
Sales Links
65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle
Book Details:
ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: December 15th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634774299 (ISBN13: 9781634774291)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

A MelanieM Release Day Review:Holly & Hockey Boots by V.L. Locey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

holly-hockey-bootsMinor league goalie Adam Seiger is a nice guy. He’s kind, cute, and a little quirky (but show me a goalie who isn’t) and he loves to interact with fans. During a meet and greet after a game Adam meets Cason Reyes, a hard-working young man with stunning amber eyes and a smile as sweet as a candy cane. Desperate to see Cason again, Adam does something more than a little naughty.

To add insult to the egg nog, it appears that one little white lie may end Adam’s chance of having a merry Christmas with a new boyfriend. Will he end up with nothing but a lump of coal in his stocking, instead of the man who owns his heart?

Adorable, totally adorable.  That describes both the story and the main character of Adam Seiger.  Gay, black, Canadian, minor league hockey player, adopted by his Aunt and Uncle when young, this man could have been a Mountie, he’s so sweet, nice, and yes, adorable…even in his faults.  That would be the lag time in between what comes out his mouth and the time it takes his brain to think it might be a bad idea to say that.    His brain goes awandering while the mouth just motors on.  Not always a great thing as Adam finds out when he spies the man of his dreams during a game.

I’ve enjoyed V.L. Locey’s stories before.  The author always manages to put in enough interesting quirks to their characters and storylines that it makes me take notice.  Extra spice, a V.L. Locey punch as it were.  Its the same here.  The other character?  Cason Reyes, is biracial with a fascinating background and a nephew to raise.  Both men have background that actually made me growl in frustation that I didn’t get enough time with each man’s family or get to delve deep enough into their stories.  They are that interesting and the people in their families we get to know are believable enough that we want more time with them too.

Other special touches?  The interaction with the team members.  Ray, Adam’s roomate with his own special kink?  Hilarious!  Plus I liked their acceptance of a gay teammate without any special acknowledgement or fanfare while mentioning that might not be realistic in the major leagues.  Nice reality check.  And then there was the holly branches.  I’ll leave the significance of that to the story.

I’d love to see Locey continue this into a series or at least give us a followup  story.  These two certainly deserve it.  We need to see what happens next.  I want more!  After reading this, you will too.

Cover art doesn’t really pull me to the book,  Doesn’t say holidays, and doesn’t really speak to the story.

Sales Links

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindleBook Details:

ebook, 78 pages
Published December 5th 2016 by V.L. Locey
Original TitleHolly & Hockey Boots
ISBN 9780985092
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb Release Day Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Empty Net by Avon GaleSpartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

From the beginning, Laurent St. Savoy, the character I thought for sure I would hate, burrowed into my heart and found his home.  Oh, that poor young man! My heart just bled for him.  The author did an excellent job sketching his character immediately and then filling it in with details of his history of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, famous hockey player and now coach of the Asheville team, Denis St. Savoy. 

Laurent developed strong defense mechanisms in his early years and learned never to show his true feelings. We didn’t know last year, when he spit on Isaac in the playoffs, he was really dying about it on the inside. When he’s traded to the Spitfires as Isaac Drake’s backup goalie, the rivalry should be intense, but instead, after an early flare-up, Isaac discovers one of Laurent’s secrets.  Laurent has scars—on his back and in his mind—scars that are not so easy to explain.  But Isaac feels an innate need to comfort Laurent, and together they begin to explore what Laurent needs. 

Along the way, his eating disorder is discovered, his emotional abuse at the hands of his father, and his hatred for hockey—all unexpected and all difficult to overcome, but not impossible to work through.  With Isaac by his side, Laurent begins to make baby steps toward recovery. 

This story has so much going for it, including a lot of air time for Misha and Matt, Isaac’s coaches and the men he boards with. We see new sides to Misha and to their relationship as well as being present for Laurent’s discovery of sex and that what was missing all along was an emotional bond with another person.  The author explores disordered eating and provides information on therapeutic treatment, both in the story, and in the Afterword. 

The road to emotional health is long for Laurent, and it’s a huge struggle to make the strides he makes over the course of this story. The author gives us a very easy-to-hate character in Denis St. Savoy, but she also gives us an opportunity for revenge as Laurent takes his final step to break his relationship with the man who treated him so despicably during his life. 

To be honest, the whole series is amazing. Each book has brought unique characters in unique situations and a warm and satisfying ending. This one is no different in that way, but it is just so much more.  It’s more intense, more emotional, and more memorable, IMHO.  It’s certainly one I can easily recommend without any hesitation at all.

The cover by Aaron Anderson is also one of the most attractive I’ve seen all year.  Blue-tinted, it depicts an empty hockey net surrounded by ice and with lightning strikes in the background.  When I squint my eyes, I can see ghostlike outlines of players in the lines formed by the lightning—whether intentional or just my imagination, I’m not sure, but the overall effect is very impressive. 

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published September 2nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775856 (ISBN13: 9781634775854)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesScoring Chances #4

An Ali Review: Hat Trick by Meg Harding

Standard
 Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Hat TrickNathan Barres has always loved hockey before anything else. When a one night stand with Felix Moore gives him emotions, he flees the scene. He’s not expecting to see Felix ever again. So when an injury knocks him out of the game for several weeks, he’s less than pleased to see the Winnipeg Wolves newest trainer is none other than Felix.

Almost two years later, and the feelings are still there. Nathan does his best to shove them to the back burner and ignore the temptation Felix presents. That is, until Felix makes him an offer that’s just a little too tempting–with amazing results. He’s a hockey player after all, and they’re nothing if not superstitious. If Felix is his good luck charm, who is he to resist?

I am a gigantic hockey fan and therefore a fan of hockey stories.  I had high hopes for this as I had read this author before and enjoyed her work.  Unfortunately this book didn’t work for me.  The main characters were very immature and I had a hard time reconciling that with their jobs and responsibilities.  It didn’t seem realistic to me.  My main issue was that the entire plot is based on super bad communication.  It was to an extreme level and was ridiculous in my opinion.  As previously stated they had important jobs.  Nathan was the captain of the hockey team and would have to be able to communicate well, as his role is to talk to the referees and advocate for his team as well as to provide motivation and guidance of the other players.  Felix was a team trainer and would have to be able to communicate with the players as well as the coaches and owners of the team.  So how they couldn’t have simple conversations was beyond me.  There were a whole bunch of small things that bothered me also and some were petty, but once everything added up it still led to an overall lack of enjoyment of the book.
Cover by Ginny Glass. I do not care for the cover of this.  The overall design and the guy on the right side were fine but the guy on the left looks like a professional wrestler, not a team medical staff member.
Sales Links: Loose id LLC | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 133 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Loose Id (first published May 9th 2016)
ISBN139781682521250
Edition LanguageEnglish