A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Betting ManA Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

How bad could one harmless bet be? Kent Samson is about to find out. Raised in Alabama, Kent has hidden his past and now loves his life as a big time ad exec for a prestigious advertising company in New York. But when he makes a bet with his best friend, Blaine, Kent is thrown for a loop—for Kent has to make the next person to walk through the door fall in love with him.

Terry Barron is hiding out in New York. Raised in England in a wealthy family, Terry escapes to New York to avoid arranged marriages and the lifestyle he’s grown to hate. When he delivers a package to an advertising firm, he meets the unbelievably sexy Kent Samson. Suddenly, secrets and lies complicate everything and both men find themselves in uncharted waters. How will Terry feel when Kent is revealed as a betting man?

So what did I think?

I read this story for beginning to end in one go. Sure, its not really that long but it definitely had me hooked right from the beginning. It’s written in first person alternating between the two main characters.

The story revolves around Kent making a bet with his buddy Blaine. The bet states that Kent has to make the next person to walk through the office door fall in love with him within six months. That person is Terry the bike courier.

Kent is hiding from his past (to be honest I am not 100% sure why) and hides his southern upbringing. He is a very successful executive, with all the trappings of success, although it is clear that he is not truly happy. Terry sees through to the real man within Kent. “He’s a good man. You just have to look beneath that layer of bullshit.”

I loved the dates that Kent and Terry went on and the gradual evolution of their relationship. They seem to balance each other so perfectly. They work well together sexually and I loved the way Kent, perhaps a little subconsciously, referred to their first encounter as ‘making love’. “I had lost my straight man virginity last night. I’d made love to Terry.”.It becomes clear to everyone around them, just how much they have come to love each other. But of course, the bet gets exposed and Kent needs to win back his man.

The families play a role in this story and it is great to see that both men are accepted by their parents and both turn to their parents for support. “We haven’t stopped loving you yet, and you’ve been an asshole for five years,” my father drawled.

The story is written with heaps of humour with some of my favourite parts coming from Kent’s parents.
“We’re not naked!” I shouted. “Well hell,” my mom poked her head around the wail. “Your father and I will leave so you can be!”

The only part of the story I didn’t like were the early references to Kent’s sexual experiences with women. There are no actual sex scenes, just a couple of comments but I found the references to ‘tits’ and ‘pubes’ a bit crass but perhaps the language/tone was used to show Kent wasn’t getting much out of the experience. Or maybe I just didn’t like it because I didn’t really want any m/f component in the story? Anyway, it wasn’t enough to really detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Fabulous happy ending!

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

4 Stars

To find out more about Sandrine Gasq-Dion and her books, visit her Facebook page.

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★★★★ In Search Of A Story by Andrew Grey ★★★★

In Search of a StoryIn Search of a Story by Andrew Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

He’s searching for a story but finds so much more.

Brad Torrence is next on the chopping block at the newspaper where he works. Hungry for any source he can find, he runs across an ad in the classifieds: For Sale: Nursery Items, Never Used. It’s the lead he’s been looking for. Thinking a piece about the loss of a child will give him the edge he needs to keep his job, Brad follows up. He doesn’t expect a single man to answer.

Rather than being offended, Cory Wolfe finds sharing the story of his grief and pain liberating. He’s even surprised by the spark that strikes, and one story leads to another.

Brad digs into his stories and Cory’s life, eager to know everything about the man who’s caught his attention. But when a lead points him to the hospital where Cory works, he unearths a mystery that might have been safer left buried. Brad’s search for a story could prove deadly…

So what did I think?

I think this is one of my favourite Andrew Grey stories so far! This was a sensitive subject handled very well and it was nice to see a romance novel bringing light to the emotional issue of loss of a child, no matter who is losing or when the child is lost.

Brad meets Cory when he interviews him in relation to a classified ad he has placed, selling a pile of unused baby goods. Brad is expecting a story based on a grieving mother and father but finds something completely different, although no less painful and sorrowful.

As Cory shares his story, he finds that he is able to start moving forward with his life and Brad becomes part of the future he sees for himself.

Cory is a hardworking, family oriented man although grieving so his life is on hold. His large and caring family are trying to get him to move on. Brad is so understanding and supportive, offering the right amount of comfort and sympathy. It is wonderful to see Brad helping Cory but just as equally, Cory brings the joy of family to Brad who is an only child. The mother’s of both men were a lovely addition to the story, reinforcing the strong family theme.

There is some drama thrown in as one of Brad’s stories results in him placing himself in danger as he reveals the illegal activity involved in the building of the hospital.

I really enjoyed the story in terms of the sweetness level but also found the dialogue particularly realistic. There was a perfect blend of sharing of emotions, romance and sex, without being to saccharine (ok, so maybe the epilogue was totally sweet and gave the perfect ending but I wanted it that way!)

“So you’re saying things happen for a reason,” Cory whispered, and Brad heard the sadness in it.
“No. Because I believe things happen, period. There isn’t a reason behind everything that happens, no matter how much we might wish there was. Good things happen, sad things happen, and we make the most of all of them. All I’m saying is that we have the change to bring things full circle…..”

4 Stars

For more information on Andrew Grey and his book visit his website.

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The Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Granger

The Unforgiving MinuteThe Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Granger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Ryan Betancourt has got it made: he’s reached the top tier of the tennis world thanks to a wild-card entry to the US Open. Ryan is meeting players he has idolized for years, including his teenage crush, Josh Andrews. But he isn’t ready for the politics and manipulation that come with life at the top.

Josh Andrews is closeted, private, and difficult to get to know. He’s been playing tennis since he could walk, won his first tournament at five, and was sent to Spain at thirteen to attend a tennis academy. Before a knee injury forced him into a year off, he was ranked the number one player in the world. Now he’s back—and intent on winning.

Josh and Ryan first meet at a tournament in Brisbane. Ryan excitedly greets Josh only to be ignored. Crushed, he realizes the golden boy of tennis isn’t all he seems. Only in the team-building environment of training for the Davis Cup does Josh open up enough for them to grow closer. Their developing relationship is everything Ryan ever wanted, and he is blissfully happy. But inevitably they have to play against each other, and everything changes.

So what did I think?

The Unforgiving Minute is a wonderful romance set in the world of professional tennis. What makes it so enjoyable is the blend of sport and romance, perfectly balanced to make a really absorbing story.

The characters were great including gorgeous leading men Josh and Ryan, fabulous friend Elena, Ryan’s mother and the various tennis support crew. It even had cute puppies! The bad guy was suitably bad (even though it was quite obviously who he was) and got his comeuppance.

Tennis provides the back drop for this book and we are taken all around the world as both Ryan and Josh compete in various tournaments. There are sections of the game play described and done so in such a way that you can actually visualise the play. I enjoyed the on-court time and also the behind the scenes view of the tennis circuit. It all felt very realistic.

Ryan and Josh’s relationship was wonderful to watch evolve and they balance each other perfectly. Josh has grown up with a domineering father pushing his tennis career and has played tennis since he was young. He is a guarded and private person. As we gradually come to learn more about Josh and some of his experience, particularly at the hands of the bad guy, it is easy to understand why he is closed off. Ryan’s upbringing has been very different to Josh’s. Ryan’s parents don’t really even follow tennis and are very accepting and loving of him. This contributes to his outlook on life. Ryan is so easy to love and so enthusiastic.

The romance between these men is special. Both, at one time or another, make a sacrifice for the other. They understand the competitive world they both live in and are able to offer support. It is nice that the story balances the emotional elements of the relationship with the very hot sex scenes.

The ending was slightly predictable but totally the type of ending that I love – grand gestures and big happy endings!

4.5 stars

5 Stars

To find out more about Sarah Granger and her books, visit her website.

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Making it Personal by K.C. Wells

Making it PersonalMaking it Personal by K.C. Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Blake Davis is in the closet. And he’s going to stay that way. Because if his father finds out he’s gay, Blake could lose everything he’s worked so hard to achieve during the last six years as CEO of Trinity Publishing, the fastest rising star in the publishing firmament. Not that coming out wouldn’t solve a couple of problems. Maybe then his father would stop trying to set him up with yet another empty-headed, social-climbing girlfriend. And better still, Blake could stop using that escort agency when he wants a night of hot sex with a cute guy…

Will Parkinson has had a tough life so far, but he’s back on his feet. Okay, so he’s working as an escort – with ‘benefits’– to pay off his student loans, but that does have its advantages, such as the really hot guy who hired him. Yeah, Blake rocked his world last night – several times. So imagine how Will feels when he arrives to be interviewed for his dream job as PA in a publishing company, and the guy who’s hiring is….. Blake.

And then things get really complicated…

So what did I think?

A thoroughly enjoyable romance in a corporate setting!

The blurb gives quite an outline of the story. Blake is successfully running a publishing company but has not come out. His father still owns the company and is trying to find him a wife. Blake doesn’t want to jeapardise his future ownership of the company so goes along with his father’s plans. He uses an escort service for sex and has one hot night of sex with a gorgeous guy he feels a real connection with. That guy turns out to be Will, the guy interviewing for a role as his PA. He is most qualified for the position so Blake gives him the job.

It sounds like the story is pretty much covered off by this blurb but there are many more elements to this book. Yes, there is a huge amount of sexual tension. Yes, Blake and Will can’t resist each other. Yes, there are some interesting office characters. Yes, Blake’s current girlfriend becomes an issue. Yes, things go terribly wrong. But there are also some surprises. Blake’s father doesn’t turn out to be as expected. Will has a history that introduces some heartbreak but also hope.

I particularly liked the character of Will and the way he fell in love with Blake. “The physical attraction which had been so obvious since the night they met hadn’t gone away. Instead, Will felt an emotional connection to the man.” With his past and his willingness to acknowledge his feelings for Blake, he showed great courage and I really wanted him to get his happy ending.

Throw in some drama with a sex party, a confrontation with the girlfriend (who was luckily a total conniving bitch so easy to dislike), allegations of assault, unexpected forced coming out and ultimate grand gestures and you have a really interesting story.

I also liked the cute little references to the growing popularity of m/m romance books as Blake justifies to his father why he is taking the publishing company in that direction!

4 Stars

For more information about K.C. Wells and her books visit her website.

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