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Fancy some Ice Hockey or Figure Skating?

I felt like a dose of sports and decided Ice Hockey would fit the bill nicely and luckily I had two great books to read. Both involved Ice Hockey, one with a dash of curling and the other with some figure skating. I’m not exactly sure what it is about Ice Hockey that I like so much – I’m Australian, don’t follow the sport and definitely don’t know anything about the game rules or competition. I think it’s the combination of strength, speed and control.

The books I selected were:

  • Burning Up the Ice (book #5 International Men Of Sports) by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes.
  • Picks & Pucks by Teegan Loy

Burning Up the Ice (International Men of Sports, #5)Burning Up the Ice by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Two men, two very different sports and one rink—sharing ice has never been so hot.

Olivier ‘Big Bang’ St Pierre is back in his hometown while he recovers from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hockey’s a contact sport—still, he didn’t count on the locker room being dangerous. As a professional hockey player, he also didn’t count on it being hard to find ice time. But when a rink shuts down unexpectedly in a winter-sport-crazy town, even being a big name won’t help as people scramble for whatever they can get.

The first time Ethan Campbell hears from the local hockey legend he knew as a kid, Olivier manages to insult both his family’s rink and his new sport—curling. So he’s not exactly receptive when Olivier shows up in person to plead his case. He makes a sarcastic offer…and is shocked when Olivier takes him up on it. Ethan’s bad experience with hockey had left him cold. But soon he and Olivier are burning up the ice.

Ethan is tied to his town, job and family, while Olivier will be going back to Chicago to rejoin his team as soon as he’s able. It can’t possibly last…can it?

So what did I think?

Olivier St Pierre (what a wonderful name!) is a professional Ice Hockey player who is visiting his home town to recuperate from injuries that required major surgery. He needs private practice time to build up his strength and gets this by using the ice at Ethan’s family’s rink which is run by Ethan and his sister.

This was a sweet story, nothing too angsty just nice characters falling in love with some hot sex!

There were also some cute, funny lines. Here’s what follows after Ethan gives his friend Barry some advice about impressing the girl he likes by surprising her with a coffee….

“Is that what gay guys do when they’re dating? Do you buy each other caramel lattes?” He smirked then opened his own locker.
Ethan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, but not until we’ve met the parents…or after the fourth blow job, whichever comes first.”

Picks & PucksPicks & Pucks by Teegan Loy

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.

Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.

If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.

So what did I think?

The combination of Ice Hockey and Figure Skating was always going to ensure I liked this book – pure escape into a world of which I know absolutely nothing but have a fierce attraction!

Justin is an up-and-coming figure skating champion but his choice of sport has driven a wedge between his family. His father is a hockey coach and Justin also had the skills to play professionally so his father was disappointed by his choice. The death of his mother, his key supporter, has also haunted him for the last three years. He has LOTS of demons!

A relationship with an closeted ice hockey player – who was happy for the sex but put Justin down in front of the rest of the team – has also soured his opinion of men who play ice hockey.

I actually started reading this book without reading the blurb so the way the story unfolded was a bit of a surprise. A large portion of the beginning of the book is focused on Justin’s relationship with Danny (the closeted player) and it is along while before CJ enters the picture and captures Justin’s interest. I didn’t see it coming and was expecting the relationship with Danny to evolve. Anyway, I liked that the author didn’t make Danny the bad guy, he sort of redeemed himself and I ended up liking him.

I enjoyed the characters and the story. There was enough drama but maybe too many demons. I found Justin’s demons a little odd and a bit annoying although it was quite a unique take, particularly when they start exploding – that probably makes no sense but will once you read the book!

To find out more about T.A. Chase and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Devon Rhodes and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Teegan Loy and her books visit her website.

Buy the books from Amazon.

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At First Touch 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.

At First TouchAt First Touch by T.A. Chase

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Excelling at the game he loved was everything to King, until Lukas showed him at first touch how much better his life could be…

Ewansiha ‘King’ Kroenig is at the pinnacle of his professional football career, even with a problem knee. He keeps his cool and keeps his head down, and that control has served him well. King is bisexual and known to date beautiful women, while he also occasionally satisfies his craving for men with the team’s trainer. It’s a good life, but starting with one bizarre and personal request from his ex, Silvia, his orderly life goes spinning out of control.

Lukas has no problem admitting he’s gay, but with a loudly homophobic team captain,he knows better than to go there around the team. He has his whole career ahead of him and is being groomed to take over for their star player, King Kroenig. If he admires King for more than his athletic prowess, what can it hurt?

No harm, no foul…until a certain trainer who knows them well decides to play matchmaker, then all bets are off. And once they’ve experienced that first taste, they want more. But it’s not as simple as hooking up or dating when you’re teammates, with high profiles and little privacy. And when they each suddenly gain responsibilities they never expected, they must figure out a way to reconcile their personal lives with the expectations of others.

So what did I think?

This is the third book in the series, following A Sticky Wicket In Bollywood, which I really liked and Chasing the King of the Mountains, which I loved.

I probably wouldn’t rate this book as highly as the first two, and most definitely not as high as Chasing the King of the Mountains which was my favourite so far.

I think the second book really stood out because of the more unique nature of the sport (cycling, the Tour de France in particular) while the football in At First Touch was more common place.

The plot was also slightly more predictable however it was still very enjoyable.

My only real complaint was the name of one of the main characters. His name was Ewansiha and I have no idea how to pronounced it so I am sure I was mangling it in my head. He was known by the nickname “King” but his real first name was used enough for me to be really conscious of stumbling over it. It seems a rather silly complaint and I certainly don’t think characters should be named ‘easy’ names just to make them more pronounceable but it was just something that stood out to me.

To find out more about T.A Chase and her books, visit her website.

To find out more about Devon Rhodes and her books, visit her website.

Buy At First Touch from Amazon

View all my reviews

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Chasing the King of the Mountains 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

Chasing the King of the MountainsChasing the King of the Mountains 

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Pascal might be chasing the title of King of the Mountains, but will he realise in time that Laurent is chasing him?

Pascal Durant, one of the best mountain riders in the cycling world, was about to finally win his first polka dot jersey denoting him King of the Mountains in the Tour de France. Then he suffered a horrific accident that left him unable to complete the race. In his forties and fighting chronic injuries, he knows he only has one more shot at the top.

Laurent Desrochers, an internationally known reporter, hears about his dear friend’s crash and watches a moving viral video of Pascal, bloodied yet unbowed, congratulating the winner. When Pascal tells him he’s going to do the Tour one last time, Laurent decides to convince his network to let him follow Pascal on his quest.

Friends for a decade, they had never thought of the other as more. Pascal’s focus on his sport and poor taste in men has never produced a long-term relationship. And Laurent’s constant travel causes a rift between him and his fiancé Jan that proves insurmountable.

Laurent finally realises his ideal partner has been in front of him all along. Can he pull Pascal’s focus from his goal long enough for him to know he’s being chased…and let Laurent catch him?

So what did I think?

Chasing the King of the Mountains has everything needed for a spectacular story – friendship, love, passion, drama and triumph over adversity!

The story brings together two men who have been friends for ten years.

Pascal is a champion rider who is terribly injured in one of his last attempts to complete the Tour de France. His accident is very reminiscent of the horrific accident that happened to Hoogerland in 2011. The Hoogerland crash

Not only is he physically injured but he loses the opportunity to win the jersey he had been chasing, to win “King of the Mountain”. He bravely decides to compete one last time which will be a tremendous challenge given his age and injuries.

Laurent is not only his best friend but is a journalist. He believes that Pascal’s story is inspiring and will be of great interest to many and so he and his film crew join Pascal to follow his progress as he tries to win King of the Mountain.

Laurent has his own issues with a failing relationship. I loved the way both men handled themselves during this time and was very glad there was no cheating involved. “Laurent had never once cheated on a partner, even emotionally, much less physically.” Pascal acts as a true friend offering support “…Pascal had still tried to encourage him with no hint of anything self-serving, only the support of a caring friend.” But eventually the way is paved for the men to be together.

So, as Pascal pursues his dream of winning the jersey, Laurent chases his dream of winning Pascal. Drama, excitement, steamy sex as we follow the race to a happy ending.

“While the jersey and title were his career’s greatest achievement, his lifetime achievement was falling in love with Laurent, and being able to spend the rest of his retired life with the man.”

4.5 stars
5 Stars

 

To find out more about T.A Chase and her books, visit her website.

To find out more about Devon Rhodes and her books, visit her website.

 

Buy Chasing the King of the Mountains from Amazon

View all my reviews

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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