Tag Archives: ice hockey

Release Blitz: One-on-One by V. L. Locey

One-on-One | V. L. Locey

Cayuga Cougars #5

RBBanner-35.jpg

Buy Links: 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2DcQepb

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2AOxCdv

Length: 57,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Rêverie Design & Formatting

One-On-One Cover_ebook.jpg

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?

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

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor 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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Gentle paced romance signs off the Cayuga Cougars

One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)One-On-One by V.L. Locey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vicki signs off this wonderfully diverse ice hockey series with a gentle paced romance for assistant coach Lancaster and musician and mayoral aide Townsend.

It’s super sweet, focused as it is on a man who has only come out later in life, having lived the traditional closeted married and had kids experience so many go through.

I loved Lan’s ex-wife and his twin kids, there was no drama in their relationship, just acceptance and continuing support and it was great to read.

And his relationship with Town in perfectly judged, they take their time not only to fall in love, but also to become intimate and the emotions are all the better for it.

This book also follows the Cougars as they head towards a possible championship win and all the complex emotions that entails.

My favourite obnoxiously loving Pole is also on hand to keep things real and there’s tensions for Victor and Dan which will be explored in a forthcoming new series from Vicki that I cannot wait for.

So it’s farewell for now to the Cayuga gang and I’ll miss them.

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

View all my reviews

Review Tour: Neutral Zone by RJ Scott and V.L. Locey

Neutral Zone | RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Harrisburg Railers Christmas Novella

RTBanner-5.jpg

Buy Links

 Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 40,000 words approx.

Neutral_Zone_400

Blurb

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.

Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.

Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.

Excerpt

Ten

Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.

I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.

The same city the Raptors played in.

I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.

Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.

“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked.

Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.

So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues.

Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.

The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch.

And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.

“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”

I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.

“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”

“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”

“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”

“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”

“I could eat if you want some company.”

“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”

“I feel that.”

He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.

“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”

“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.

Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?

An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.

“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”

“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.

He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”

“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”

He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”

Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.

“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care.

As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”

“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”

“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”

“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”

“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.

I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.

Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss?

Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.

“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”

“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of worksheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.

Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.

“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.

“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”

“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”

“You need me as well, Tennant.”

“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”

“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”

He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.

“Tell me you love me.”

“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”

I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”

“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”

That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”

“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”

“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”

“Were you?”

“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”

“You will.”

“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”

We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.

“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.

“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.

“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.

“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”

“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”

“Thanks, Coach.”

“Wiseass.”

“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.

“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”

“Mm, loving sounds good.”

“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK

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November 26 – OMG ReadsWe Three QueensAmy’s MM Romance ReviewsXtreme DelusionsUrban Smoothie ReadNovember 28 – My Book Filled LifeBookaholic & KindleReading In Sarah’s CornerMainely StoriesNovember 30 – My Fiction NookJessie G BooksThe Geekery Book ReviewJim’s Reading RoomLove Unchained Book ReviewsNerdy Dirty & FlirtyDecember 3 – Open Mind For A Different ViewDrops of InkWicked ReadsMaking It HappenScattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsWicked Faerie’s Tales & ReviewsDecember 5 – Book Lovers 4EverMean Girls Luv BooksDecember 7 – Open Skye Book ReviewsMirrigold: Mutterings & MusingsBayou Book JunkieLillian FrancisMM Good Book Reviews

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men 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.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Doctor Who, 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 pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two 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 one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.


Giveaway

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Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

Release Blitz: Neutral Zone by RJ Scott and V.L. Locey

Neutral Zone | RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Harrisburg Railers Christmas Novella

RBBanner-8

Buy Links

 Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 40,000 words approx.

Neutral_Zone_400

Blurb

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.

Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.

Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.

Excerpt
Ten

Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.

I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.

The same city the Raptors played in.

I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.

Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.

“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked.

Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.

So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues.

Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.

The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch. And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.

“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”

I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.

“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”

“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”

“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”

“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”

“I could eat if you want some company.”

“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”

“I feel that.”

He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.

“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”

“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.

Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?

An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.

“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”

“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.

He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”

“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”

He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”

Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.

“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care.

As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”

“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”

“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”

“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”

“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.

I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.

Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss?

Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.

“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”

“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of worksheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.

Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.

“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.

“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”

“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”

“You need me as well, Tennant.”

“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”

“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”

He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.

“Tell me you love me.”

“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”

I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”

“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”

That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”

“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”

“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”

“Were you?”

“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”

“You will.”

“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”

We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.

“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.

“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.

“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.

“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”

“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”

“Thanks, Coach.”

“Wiseass.”

“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.

“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”

“Mm, loving sounds good.”

“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men 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.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Doctor Who, 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 pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two 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 one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 


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Gorgeous festive romance in the Railers series

Neutral Zone: A Christmas Railers Novella (Harrisburg Railers, #6.5)Neutral Zone: A Christmas Railers Novella by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a perfect festive read as it has the necessary pathos to make the joy just ring out and warm even the coldest of hearts.

Jared is struggling, and it broke my heart to see him not know how to be there for Ten while, at the same time, support the worries of everyone else who loves the young ice hockey star.

The way the incident (view spoiler) is handled in an ongoing way is done through clever narrative and through some clever editing and formatting tricks and it works superbly well.

There’s lots of good bits to go with the struggles though. Stan, ever wonderful Stan, is just absolutely top of the game in this one, he brought so many smiles to my face which went a long way to ease a bit of the heartache.

Loved every bit of this and cannot wait for more!

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

View all my reviews

Book Blast: Boy Next Door by A.E. Wasp

Boy Next Door | A.E. Wasp

Hot Off The Ice #5

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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.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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.

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 per cent 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.

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Finally we get Joey and Liam’s romance and it’s a cracker!

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally! I get why we had to wait for this one until both Paul and Robbie, and Alex and Sergei, had their stories told because a lot of the things happening here take place at the same time.

I have been waiting for Liam and Joey to get their Happy since the short and incredibly hot story came out last Christmas.

It didn’t disappoint at all. There is so much passion and drama going on in this book, you almost get whiplash! I really loved the little chapter headers, snippets into what was going on in the wider O’Neil/Luciano clans and some of the group chat messages had me howling.

I will say though, that I think the extensive ice hockey glossary should be at the back of the book and perhaps the character list too.

Any good storyteller, and A.E. Wasp is one of those, can convey the message of what is happening on page without needing to highlight all the technical terms first.

I’ve no idea where this series is going next. Perhaps Patrick and Vicky the Thunder’s back up goalie?

This, and Alex/Sergei romance, have been my favourites in what’s been a really great series.

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

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