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Burning Ashes by H. Lewis-Foster

Burning AshesBurning Ashes by H. Lewis-Foster

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Intelligent and confident, Australian cricketer Nat Seddon is one of the world’s best bowlers. He’s openly gay, but keeps his private life to himself, everything under control. But on the last day of his team’s “Ashes” tour of England, he meets Scott Alverley, England’s promising new batsman. Nat tries not to be attracted to Scott, but he can’t help finding the privileged young man handsome and endearing. Nat is tempted by a little end of tour fun, but finds himself playing agony uncle to a virgin. Instead of going home to bask on a beach, he spends a wet week in the north of England with Scott. Try as he might to resist, he can’t help falling hopelessly in love.

The hectic sporting calendar is a persistent obstacle to their growing romance; Nat and Scott are rarely even on the same continent. They make the most of the time when they can be together, but the months apart take a toll on Scott, professionally and personally. The possible solutions are nearly unthinkable, but if they are willing to make sacrifices that will change their lives forever, they might hold on to the love they found in the Ashes.

So what did I think?

Okay, so cricket isn’t my favourite sport. Yes, I’m an Aussie, I even have a test cricketer in my family tree but cricket is boring! Hubby buys tickets every January and every year I do everything to avoid having to go (luckily with great success!) Anyway, happily this story isn’t too focused on the particularities of the game and most of the time is spent with the main characters as they deal with the challenges of their relationship.

This is a case of instalove as a champion fast bowler from Australia falls for an up-and-coming player from the English side. What follows is a long distance relationship that has career and life-altering impacts for the two men.

The last 25% of the book was actually the most enjoyable – it had more angst and a couple of cute twists where it looked like something bad happened but it hadn’t really  (although after the third such incident it felt like this trick was slightly overused).

There is lots happening in this book and it covers a quite a long period of time (over 6 years). I was surprised by a significant event at about the halfway point in the story as I wondered why such a climatic event would be at this midway point and what was then left. However the story continued to cover careers, injuries, world travel, family, sacrifices and love.

The characters are totally self-sacrificing, tripping over themselves to be the one to give up things for the other’s happiness but I think I actually liked this in the context of this story. I liked the protectiveness they felt and the love they shared. I appreciated that these strong sportsman weren’t afraid to cry, particularly Nat, the older of the two.

The insta-love was a bit unbelievable but acknowledged by the characters “How could he give up his whole life for a man with whom he had almost nothing in common and with whom he’d spent roughly five weeks since they met?” and I was a bit surprised by the choice made by one character to leave his country and coach for the other side. But I liked the cute cultural references and the way the story was told.

A sweet 3.5 stars.

Buy Burning Ashes from Amazon.

Buy Burning Ashes from Dreamspinner Press.

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A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood by T.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes

International Men of Sports series

Come with us around the world as the men who compete in their country’s most popular sports find that, although it’s not always easy to win in the game of love, it’s the only victory worth having.

  • A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood (book #1)
  • Chasing the King of the Mountains (book #2)
  • At First Touch (book #3) – due for release in August 2013

A Sticky Wicket in BollywoodA Sticky Wicket in Bollywood by T.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb:

A handsome Bollywood actor must choose between his career and a rugged cricket player from his past, who he’s fallen in love with…again.

Rajan Malik has the world of Bollywood in the palm of his hand–a beautiful girlfriend, starring roles, adoring fans… He should be happy, but behind the facade lies a man conflicted and exhausted by the pressure placed on him by his ill mother, his agent and society. His life is not his own, and all he wants to do is escape.

Indian Premier League cricketer Ajay Singh can’t believe how bad his university roommate Rajan looks when he spots his picture in the paper. They had parted on bad terms. Still, he’s moved to offer Rajan his support by renewing their friendship.

But friendship was not all they shared back then. Though Ajay is out,Rajan isn’t willing to give up his carefully cultivated Bollywood image to be with him publicly. And with very little privacy, it won’t take long for someone to find out they are more than friends.

Their renewed secret affair is fraught with difficulties as they deal with the death of Rajan’s mother, the secret of Rajan’s till-now absent father, a jealous friend, intrusive social media, and threatening notes from someone who seems to know all about their private lives…

It’s a bit of a sticky wicket they find themselves in. Will it be too late when both men finally realise that they’ll need to compromise, or they stand to lose everything?

So what did I think?

Firstly, big points for the Indian setting and characters, Bollywood and cricket – very refreshing!

This is the story of “The handsome Bollywood actor and the rugged cricket superstar” and is the first of the International Men of Sports series. Because of the series name, I expected the main focus to be on the cricketer and the actions set within the cricket arena. However this was not exactly how the plot played out.

Yes, Ajay is a cricketer but most of the focus seems to be on Raj, the actor. Actually the first line of the blurb seems to place more emphasis on Raj. “A handsome Bollywood actor must choose between his career and a rugged cricket player from his past, who he’s fallen in love with…again.”

Regardless of the amount of cricket or cricket settings in the book, it is still an enjoyable story. Slightly predictable but still entertaining. It was also very good value at only $0.99 from Amazon.

4 Stars

For more information on Devon Rhodes and her books, visit her website. For information on T.A. Chase and her books, visit her website.

Buy A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood at Amazon

View all my reviews