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Release Blitz: The Red Zone by Beth Bolden

The Red Zone | Beth Bolden

The Riptide #3

RELEASE BLITZ

Release Date: August 11th, 2021

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 97,000 words

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The Red Zone Ebook

Blurb

Spencer’s deep in the Red Zone and it’s time to even the score.

Nine years ago Spencer Evans became the first player out of the closet to be drafted into the NFL. Everyone believed he had aspirations to change the world but all Spencer ever wanted to do was play football for a team that accepted him wholeheartedly. But they never would, and Spencer began to conceal all the parts that made him different.

When a terrible injury forces him to re-evaluate his life and his choices, he realizes there’s only one man who can help him.

The very first gay sports agent, Alec Mitchell has given his life and his career to making queer athletes’ dreams come true. He can’t help but think of Spencer as the one who got away—professionally and personally.

Alec thought he’d buried his desperate longing for Spencer ages ago but it turns out it was just lying dormant, waiting for the right spark. When he begs Alec to take him on as a client, everything they’ve been burying for years surfaces once again.

With Alec’s help, Spencer can change everything about his life he’s come to hate. An extraordinary future—and an undeniably extraordinary man—are waiting for him. The play has been called. All he has to do is catch the ball and score.

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Excerpt

“You should try my wine,” Alec said, gesturing towards the bottle. “You said you don’t drink wine, not that you don’t like wine. And this is an easy drinking red, real fruit forward, not too many tannins on the back end.”

“Is this how you want to do this?” Spencer asked suspiciously. “Make me try things I don’t think I’m gonna like?”

“How will you know, if you don’t try?” Alec hesitated, and slid his jacket off, hanging it over the back of one of the barstools. “Come over here. I’m not going to bite.”

Spencer shot him a look, full of heat, and Alec remembered why it was probably better not to take his jacket off and why it was definitely better not to make jokes that could be taken in any kind of sexual context.

Well, he’d done it and he wasn’t going to take it back. If they couldn’t figure out how to make this work, then Spencer wouldn’t get what he needed—and Alec wanted that more than anything else.

“Fine,” Spencer said with a sigh. He skirted around the edge of the kitchen island, approaching hesitantly as Alec tilted the half-full glass in his direction.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a special way I do this?” Spencer asked as he took the glass.

Alec raised his eyebrow. “A special way? You take a sip. Swallow it. Decide if you like it or not. Though, really, you should try it twice. The first sip will clear your palate from that god-awful beer you’ve been drinking.”

“That’s what I mean,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to do it wrong.”

“Not drinking it, that’s doing it wrong,” Alec said, even though he knew what Spencer was referring to. But all of the swirling and the legs and the aroma, all the self-important recital that true wine connoisseurs participated in was only going to confuse Spencer. Alec just wanted him to fucking try it.

“Alright, fine,” Spencer said, grumbling, and lifted the glass to his lips.

Spencer made a face, and Alec said, “Nope, not yet. Don’t tell me you don’t like it yet. You’ve got to clear your palate.”

“How do I do that?”

Alec put his hand on Spencer’s arm, stopping him from handing the glass back. “Take another drink,” he instructed. “In a minute.”

When he pulled his hand back, he could still feel the heat and solid strength from Spencer’s forearm. He was going to have to get used to all this touching and personal connection, and hopefully when he did, it wouldn’t affect him this strongly.

“Alright,” Spencer agreed. “It wasn’t . . . well, it wasn’t what I thought it’d be.”

“You didn’t hate it,” Alec guessed, leaning against the edge of the countertop.

“I thought I would,” Spencer confessed. “Wine’s just so fancy and complicated, and I’m not . . . I’ve never been either of those two things. And beer is fine.”

“Beer is fine, sure. You might not dislike it. But what if you liked something else better?”

“I don’t know,” Spencer agreed. He hesitated, and Alec watched him closely, even though it almost hurt to look at him like this. So unsure and vulnerable and wanting so hard to do the right thing, the best thing. “It’s why I asked you to do this.”

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About the Author

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

Social Media

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Giveaway

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OUT NOW

Spencer isn’t actually an arse at all and I love him all the more for it

the red zone coverThe Red Zone by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve spoilered the beta read background to my review thoughts for those who aren’t bothered.

***SPOILER BUT NOT REALLY***

When Beth sent me the beta read Word Doc for this book I started reading it thinking I’d just get a few chapters in and then come back to it later.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I read it all in one go and my only comment back to her was:

Bloody perfection!

Honestly, I have no comments. Okay, there’s a couple on the Doc but they’re more along the lines of OMG I love this, Me Too Spencer, and I want more 😀

So you can imagine how I feel about this book. 

***ENDS***

We first met Spencer in Chase and Tate’s Food Truck Warriors book Hit the Brakes when he wasn’t particularly nice at all.

Here, we find out why he’s got a reputation as an absolute arse both on and off the field.

As the NFL’s first out player, he’s spent nine years at a team filled with homophobia and bigotry trying to be the most masculine defensive player on the field without any support in the locker room.

When I started this book, I honestly did not expect to love Spencer the way I did. I knew there would be more to his story because Beth writes characters who live in the imagination as fully fleshed out people with flaws.

But the pain this guy has had to live with, not only in his isolation at what should be a second family for him – the changing room of his professional team – but also in suppressing every part of his personality which doesn’t fit into his outwardly projected self, killed me.

Alec though, I knew I loved Alec from the off because he’s been there in the background of so many of Beth’s footie and foodie stories as the out agent for a number of big name sports personalities.

When you find out just how long these two have been dancing around each other, and how long they’ve been in love without ever acting on it, I swear your heart will break just like mine did.

Through the clever use of limited flashbacks, we get to see every time Spencer and Alec met and how they came so close but let their fears or outside pressure stop them from connecting.

The opening Prologue of this book is a harsh look at the pressures of professional sport and while a few players are out, they’re still pretty much unicorns in arenas which are filled with unaccepting minorities who are very vocal about their disdain.

The love between Spencer and Alec is a beautiful thing, seeing how the two work together to not only get Spencer away from the toxicity of his pro team, but also in how Alec gets him to open up and actually explore and discover who he is as a gay man, will bring tears unless you’ve got a heart of stone.

It’s no secret that Colin O’Connor and his love Nick from Beth’s The Rainbow Clause are my absolute favourite couple of hers, but I have to tell you, Spencer and Alec pushed them all the way here.

This book is a wonderful addition to the Riptide catalogue.

Oh, and don’t miss out on the Bonus Scene (via Book Funnel sign up for Beth’s newsletter) because it will simultaneously make your eyes leaky and set fire to your undies as Spencer and Alec show why their utterly perfect for each other in the bedroom 🔥🔥🔥🤪❤🔥🔥🔥

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Lily pulls on all the heartstrings with this second chance romance

54638086._SY475_After Felix by Lily Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I swear, every time I think I’ve found my favourite couple, Lily Morton writes me another pair that steal my heart.

Now, Caden and Malachi will never lose their place at the top because Hey, Lily wrote me a rare breeds farmer and so duh! (see Spring Strings)  but Felix and Max are now very firmly ensconced in second place.

I loved how this book took a different narrative style than most of Lily’s others, giving us a very definite book of two halves.

The first concerns all the build up to what we know from her other books, was a very painful split for Felix when Max broke his heart.

Here we get to see just how that came about and it was bittersweet to watch them falling in love without either of them being able to seize the moment and admit it.

The second half of the story gives us them back in each other’s orbits and, including flashbacks to scenes we’ve encountered from other perspectives in other stories, it really worked well to introduce the slow build up to them finding their way back to each other.

There’s the usual snark you’d expect from Lily, I’d nearly choked to death before the end of page one so thanks for that 😉 but there’s also a lot of pain and hurt.

Felix is an absolute delight and Max is nothing like the flighty, irresponsible character we saw in Zeb and Jesse’s book Best Man. Instead, he’s hiding his hurt away and he’s confused about his feelings for his best friend Ivo, who he’s always believed he was in love with.

The way this complicated and complex plot was navigated really impresses, there’s never a moment where you forget at what point in time you are, the recollections flow seamlessly into the present.

This book had unexpected happy memories for me too, as the first motorbike I ever went on was my Uncle Richard’s 850cc Norton Commando when I was five-years-old! Sitting on the petrol tank as he slowly rode around the block and sealed my love for two wheels.

Also Waterloo Bridge – he didn’t leave her so there! She thought he was dead in the war 🤪😁

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review<.i>

View all my reviews