New-To-Loving the DISTANT SWIMMER–A Review

distant-swimmer-reviewtourbannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M sports romance from Jacob Cheyenne. DISTANT SWIMMER is a New Adult coming out romance featuring a member of a small college swimming team and his improbable search for love. I enjoyed HANUKKAH GIFTS, so I thought I’d check out this book, too.

distant_swimmer_400x600About the book:
Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

My Review:
Ryan Zwick is a college sophomore on the prestigious Chippewa College swim team along with thirteen other toned, fit men. Ryan’s gay, and out, but quiet about it. He’s sure some of his teammates guess his sexuality, but he’s not confirmed it for them. His bestie from childhood, Marissa, has known for years, though, ever since she tried to seduce him and he finally explained why he couldn’t love her that way. He’s only ever had one boyfriend–back in high school–and he dearly wants to find a serious lover.

New to the team is Blake Gossens–a transfer from Univ of Wisconsin. He’s paired with Ryan for new and difficult interval training that’s supposed to help these swimmers up their game. Marissa and Ryan are both attracted to Blake, and–though Blake claims to be ‘totally hetero’–Ryan is suddenly getting anonymous hook-up messages from someone on his campus who, it seems, is also on the swim team. Marissa has made it (painfully) clear to Blake that Ryan is gay, and she is available. Meanwhile, Erik, cute the foreign teammate from some Scandinavian country Ryan can’t remember, is a super helpful new friend, and Ryan’s interest and libido are piqued.

This book really embraced the drama of those confusing and manic college years. Ryan’s afraid to ogle his teammates too much, and Blake taunts him more than a little. At times, the dialogue and situations seemed juvenile, and I had to remind myself these characters are aged 18-22 and are a bit juvenile. I admit to not liking half of the people on the page. Marissa was selfish and rude for 75% of the book, and a terrible friend to Ryan. Blake made statements and moves that, in a different situation, could have easily been characterized as harassment–or assault. I was really glad for Erik being a decent guy, because sometimes even Ryan got on my nerves, particularly when he was reflecting (poorly) on his high school boyfriend.

It the end, we learn who Ryan’s admirer is, and they do strike a flame together. There are some conflicts between Marissa and Ryan and Blake that need ironing out–and it seems to happen in a satisfactory way for all involved. As a sports fan, and fanatic, some of the collegiate athletics logistics didn’t ring true, for me. But I have a different insight to the inner workings of college teams and dynamics, having married a, and now being mother to a, Division I athlete. The average reader wouldn’t likely notice issues that I immediately peg as not quite plausible. This is a pretty quick read, with a definite happy ending for Ryan, and some interesting sexytimes. I mostly enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find DISTANT SWIMMER on Goodreads, JMS Books and Amazon (US or UK).

About the Author:
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.

Catch up with Jacob on his website, twitter, and Facebook.
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Out Today MILLION BALLER BABY–A Review

million-baller-baby-bannerHi there! I’m excited to share a release day review for a new contemporary romance from Rie Warren. I first fell for her Southern charmers in STONE AT YOUR SERVICE, but MILLION BALLER BABY is all about the pigskin, and making amends for secrets, too!

million-baller-baby-rie-warren-ebook-finalAbout the book:
She’s NFL royalty. He’s the star quarterback of a tanking team. When she takes ownership, balls will roll . . . and the truth will out.
Rafe Macintyre—the rocket-armed Carolina Crush quarterback—has nothing to lose and everything to prove. All because of one woman . . . Miss Peyton Fox. When the tough-as-nails chick takes over as team owner, Rafe is ready to turn the epic-fail season into a Super Bowl championship. But the winning has to start with Peyton’s love.

No stranger to playas on and off the field, Peyton Fox is born and bred NFL royalty. Been there, done him, and called the plays even before she took up the Carolina Crush crown. She has zero time for a love life and even less time for games unless they happen between the endzones. Unfortunately, Rafe Macintyre has one hell of an arm, and he’s full of hot southern charm. He’s not too bad to drool over either, but it’s been five years since she tangled with him—a mistake she doesn’t plan on repeating.

The consequences of one night of rebellion will last a lifetime. It’s all fun and games until someone gets knocked up.

My Review:
Rafe Macintyre is a NFL quarterback on a team falling from grace. Their owner died unexpectedly a month ago, and team morale wasn’t good before that tragedy. He’s not enthused when the team’s new owner, Peyton Fox-only heir of their deceased boss–steps in to whip this team into shape. Not that he can’t respect a woman; he and Payton shared one night of carnal bliss the night Rafe was drafted to her team–and he had to stay away to keep his job, not because he didn’t want her.

Peyton Fox wants to rebuild her father’s legacy. Now. She’d been working for another team to stay far away from Rafe and all his shenanigans, but her only current choices are to save the Carolina Crush, or sell them. To save them, she needs to work with Rafe–even if it means putting her heart, and the emotoinal well-being of her “fatherless” son at risk. See, Call has a daddy, he’s just never met him in person. And Payton’s not quite sure how to bridge that gap with Rafe. She’d been infatuated by him and infuriated that Rafe walked away without as second glance.

So, I think people who like sports romance, and sexy-sexy books will find this one right in their wheelhouse. The pace is rapid with the bulk of the story occurring in preseason training, with Peyton being an extremely ‘hands-on’ owner. Rafe is a good guy with strong family values, and he’s determined to do things right with Payton this second time around. Add in his discovery of Cal, and he’s downright giddy to be a dad, even if he’s missed a whole lot. Payton’s reticent to reveal her big secret, but she does the deed eventually. This puts their rekindled romance on the backfield for a bit, but these folks really like being in each other’s spaces so they work it out with little blood, sweat or tears. The story also gets at the rebuilding of the football team, so expect a good bit of posturing and trash-talk. It look like this series is set up for the ball players to find their soul mate, so expect more sexy first-downs in the near future.

Interested? You can find MILLION BALLER BABY on Goodreads and Amazon–Currently priced at $.99 for a limited time.

Rie WarrenAbout the Author:
Badass, sassafras Rie Warren is the author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series—a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command.

She lives in gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina with her small family where she basks in the sunshine during the day, and adjourns to her woman cave at night. A nocturnal creature, she stays up way too late talking to herself, her characters, and anyone who will listen. She’s all about writing with heat, heart, and a hint of the dark, and she doesn’t shy away from the impossible.

Rie’s work has been called “edgy”, “daring”, and “some of the sexiest smut around”.

You can find Rie online on her website, Amazon, sign up for her newsletter, on Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out Today! DISTANT SWIMMER Book Blast!

ds-releaseblitzbannerHi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a new contemporary M/M sports romance from Jacob Cheyenne. DISTANT SWIMMER is a New Adult coming out romance and I look forward to sharing my review in the coming weeks!

distant_swimmer_400x600About the book:
Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

Interested? You can find DISTANT SWIMMER on Goodreads, JMS Books and Amazon  (US or UK).

About the Author:
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.

Catch up with Jacob on his website, twitter, and Facebook.
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Coming Out On Top–VOLLEY BALLS Review & Giveaway!

banner-blogtour-volley-ball-by-tara-lainHi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M/M sports menage romance out today from Tara Lain. VOLLEY BALLS is the first book in her new series, and absolutely steams–but also has some real heart, too.

Catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter the giveaway too!

volleyballs400x600About the Book:
A double dose of alpha male might be better than one. Tara Lain’s popular novella, Volley Balls, is now expanded and revised.
Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

How about a little taste?

David buried his head in Gareth’s broad chest and, much to his disgust, started to cry. The feelings didn’t even make sense. Anger, jealousy, lust, and—yes, fear. At the heart of it all. He started to shake. Gareth pulled him tighter, but it wouldn’t stop. Phil’s angry face stared at him. Screamed at him. His fist descended—again and again. Pain and anger and shame. “Oh God!”

“What, love?” Gareth kissed his hair.

“I was so afraid.”

“Nothing to fear, love.”

“Phil. Oh God. He said he wanted to kill me. I think he would have if Edge hadn’t come.” He burrowed into Gareth’s arms.

“We’re here now, love. Nothing more to fear. You took care of that bastard. He won’t bother you again.”

Edge’s deep voice came from behind him. “If he comes near you, I’ll kill the asshole.”

David sucked in breath and turned in Gareth’s arms. He saw Gareth shake his head, warning Edge. “David took care of him, Edge. He got the police and had him thrown in jail.”

David wiped at his eyes. “Thank you, Gareth. I know I said I could take care of myself, but I lied. I’ve been alone so long. I only got involved with Phil because I was lonely and wanted someone to care about me. Instead, he hit me and abused me. I’m so grateful to Edge for saving me today. I’m so grateful to both of you for not being the kind of man that Phil is. So grateful.” The tears ran down his cheeks again and dripped off his chin.

Edge stepped closer and tipped up David’s chin with his finger. He did something David hardly ever saw him do. He smiled. “I know I’m a big Neanderthal with no fucking manners, but sometimes that’s a handy kind of guy to have around.” Funny how David hadn’t noticed those dimples in Edge’s cheeks before. Like you could sharpen pencils in them.

David stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Edge in a huge hug. “Thank you. I’m so glad you were there. I’m so grateful.”

Edge chuckled, and the vibration zipped straight to David’s cock. Down, boy.

Another pair of strong arms wrapped around him from behind and made it a group hug.

David giggled. “I’m the filling in an Aussie sandwich. If I’d known, it would have been my lifetime aspiration.”

My Review:
David Underwood just got out of an abusive relationship with a closeted gay man. He’s always fancied big athletic men, and he’s captivated by the sexy Australian volleyball players practicing on Laguna Beach. Of course, when he gets called out by one of the players with decidedly homophobic slurs, he skedaddles. Quick. David’s all about non-confrontation.

So, he’s rather upset when one of the volleyballers follows him to a bar. Sure, David’s blind date was going nowhere, but boring is better than beaten, right? Except Gareth isn’t like his outspoken mate, Edge. No, Gareth, though big and burly and sexy, is a closeted man himself. And, David’s not going down that path either. Well, not without Gareth considering coming out, anyway. Actually, Gareth is fed up with Edge and his father’s aggressive homophobia. He’s even made plans to transfer colleges to the LA area–his mother lives in San Diego and she’s a PFLAG-gal. She only wants Gareth happy. Meeting her reassures David that Gareth has a path to being true to himself.

And, meeting Edge after their game? Volcanic. Edge is panicked and freaks out when Gareth shuts down his slurs and comes out.

Thing is, Edge can’t comprehend how Gareth is gay. It’s a mystery to him, one he wants to untangle. And he does so by following Gareth and David around. Yeah, he’s a creeper. Good thing for David, actually. Because David’s ex is a real piece of work, and none-too-pleased to have been served with a restraining order. Connecting as protectors of David, Gareth and Edge soon realize that they have more than friendship between them–and somehow David’s able to link their desires into more than a brief tryst.

The menage was a little quick, but I did enjoy it. The book’s written from all three characters’ point-of-view, so we get a little deeper insight into Gareth and Edge, and their deeply homophobic upbringing. David’s acceptance of both of them is a balm for each. And, he’s a sweet guy. I guess I would have liked a little more development of the romance, because it seemed to wrap up really quickly. That said, it’s a mostly-fun read that has some dark moments.

Interested? You can find VOLLEY BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 GC to Amazon.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.

She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Love and Loss for THE NEXT COMPETITOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary New Adult sports M/M romance from Keira Andrews. THE NEXT COMPETITOR isn’t a Christmas book, but it features fantastic male figure skaters, and that’s wintry to me! Plus, I’ve recently gotten hooked on YURI!!! ON ICE, a lovely new anime with respectfully-portrayed gay characters, so I was jazzed to read this one.

And that cover! #Swoon…

tncAbout the book:
If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?
To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

This new version has been extensively rewritten, updated, and expanded into a new adult romance with explict on-page sex.

My Review:
This is a strongly-written New Adult M/M sports romance which features elite amateur skaters.

Alex Grady is a taciturn skater determined to win gold at the Olympics. He came to skating late, but has worked really, really hard to make it to the top, winning US Nationals in the previous season. He has a new coach, Mrs. C, who is a former Russian champion, and gives Alex the tough instruction he needs. It’s an Olympic year and he’s training in Toronto, isolated from his family in New Jersey, making few friends of his training mates.

Matt Savelli, one-half of a partners team, is an attractive man, one that Alex can’t help but notice. Looking is all Alex really wants. He’s known he was gay for most of his life, but he’s never had a boyfriend. Alex’s out to his family, but he keeps his sexuality private, fearing some judges may lower his scores out of prejudice, especially with hypermasculine skaters tearing up the ice with all their huge jumps. Plus, dating someone would just take time away from training, and Alex can’t afford it. His family’s financial situation is very much dependent upon Alex’s performance.

Still, as Alex interacts with Matt, he recognizes that Matt’s not the model of perfection he projects. Their friendship grows, a bit. And, when a tragedy occurs on the ice and Matt’s partner is injured, Alex is there to pick Matt up from his depression, encouraging him to skate singles for the first time in years. Not only that, they connect in a way Alex never has with a man before. The competitive atmosphere is exciting as Alex and Matt both strive for their personal Olympic dreams. At the end of the day, however, Alex is focused on winning gold, and he messes up with Matt, big time.

I really enjoyed all the skating bits. I’m (at best) a casual figure skating fan–I appreciate its beauty, but it’s not really my thing–yet I didn’t feel lost, or overwhelmed with the sport bits. The story is one of setting goals, and reaching for them over all other parts of life, and that self-sacrifice is something I do really connect with. Alex’s life has a combustive energy, with his no-filter mouth and his solitary habits. He’s socially-awkward and abrasive, as a result. Matt stayed away at first because of that, thinking the Alex was a big jerk. He isn’t, really, but his shell is tough to crack, and he’s petulant at times with a horrid habit of lashing out when frustrated. That said, he does make amends, and his tender heart is revealed in lovely ways over the second half of the story.

There’s also a sweet bit of sexual exploration here, because Alex begins the book as a virgin, and Matt takes care of that bit of business. Both sweet and tender, and hot and dirty, loving are on the menu, folks. There’s also some heartbreak, and a lot of personal growth in store for Alex. I loved that he began the book as a prickly young man, and ended as a freaking teddy bear.

Interested? You can find THE NEXT COMPETITOR on Goodreads and Amazon.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cover Reveal for VOLLEY BALLS by Tara Lain

banner-crb-volley-balls-by-tara-lain
Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for a new contemporary M/M sports romance coming soon from Tara Lain. VOLLEY BALLS is the first book in her new series, and looks to be a yummy, competitive, sexy book!

The book releases January 11th, so catch the excerpt below and see if it piques your interest!

volleyballs400x600About the Book:
A double dose of alpha male might be better than one. Tara Lain’s popular novella, Volley Balls, is now expanded and revised.
Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

How about a little taste?

As he approached the gallery, a figure stepped away from the building. He sucked wind, stopped, and slapped a hand over his heart. Shit.Not Phil. Not Phil. He swallowed hard.

The Aussie stepped closer. “Sorry to scare you. Are you okay?”

Couldn’t quite catch his breath. He nodded, but his inhale sounded in his ears.

“Jesus, I’m sorry, David. I keep fucking this up. I should just leave you alone like you asked me.” He shook his head, turned, and started walking away down Forest.

“Wait!” Shit, did he just say that?

The guy stopped and turned. “Yeh?” The word turned up on the end—hopefully.

“I have to give you points for not giving up. After me being such a shit and all.”

“I deserved it. I just—” He shrugged. “—don’t have much experience. None with guys, you know? I’m pretty bad at it.”

“You guarantee you’re not an ax murderer?”

The guy’s perfect lips in his perfect face turned up. “Do American ax murderers admit their profession? Must make policing damned easy.”

“Yep. All the cops are busy eating donuts as we speak.”

“So no, I’m not an ax murderer.” His face sobered. “Or anyone who means you harm.” He extended his hand. “Hello. I’m Gareth Marshall.”

David shook his hand. Big. Very callused. Very warm. “Okay, Gareth.” David crossed his arms. “What’s a nice guy like you doing with a homophobic asshole like that big blond?”

All kinds of emotions flashed across his face—anger, hurt, and embarrassment seemed uppermost. “He’s my volleyball partner.” He took a breath. “And actually my best friend.”

David frowned. “So he harasses every other gay guy, but not you?”

“He doesn’t know I’m gay.”

“Uh, sorry to tell you, but in the dictionary where it says ‘best friend,’ it says ‘guy who you tell all your secrets to.’”

“I know. But we’ve been friends since we were kids. He thinks he knows everything about me.”

“He’s missed a few sucked cocks, I gather.”

Gareth did that shrug thing. “A few.”

“So where do we go from here?”

He flashed a slightly saucy smile. “Where do you want to go, mate?”

“You’re the one lurking in doorways.”

I’m intrigued, to say the least! Gareth sounds like he’s got some big secrets and problems to resolve.

Interested? You can find VOLLEY BALLS on Goodreads, and pre-order it on Dreamspinner Press. The book releases January 11th.

About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.

She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Finding Love IN THE RING–Release Day Review

in-the-ring-fb-bannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new M/M sports romance from Rie Warren. I’ve really liked her M/F romance, including Carolina Bad Boys STONE, LOVE, STEELE and CHROME, so I was excited to check out this new series. IN THE RING features a closeted gay boxer and the sexy trainer he falls for.

in-the-ringAbout the book:
The biggest fight of his life isn’t . . . In the Ring.
The bright lights. The roaring crowd. The chance at a championship belt. The not-so-little secret Liam Shaughnessy—the Bonny Bruiser—is fighting to keep tucked far away.

Liam got the pussy pounded out of him on the mean streets of Cin-city—the other Sin City. The oldest in a Catholic clan where his da never pulled any punches, he went from geek boy to the golden boy of the boxing world care of his fists. Liam’s on the fast track to having it all . . . all except the one man he wants.

Michael Fairweather makes pretending to be hetero goddamn difficult for Liam. The man is blond and beautiful and just so happens to be Liam’s trainer. With a penchant for doing shirtless yoga, giving midnight massages to loosen Liam’s muscles, and sometimes even taking it out in the ring with him. To say Liam has porn-style fantasies about Michael is an understatement.

Michael’s out and proud. Liam’s only proud of what he can do in the ring. He can’t risk his career, least of all for someone unavailable. Michael has a lover. Liam has the lies he lives every day. And when his money-grubbing manager gets involved as the title win approaches, Liam doesn’t know what hit him.

Fight to win. Fight with honor. It won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Nothing worth fighting for ever is.

My Review:
Liam Shaughnessy survived an abusive childhood and the mean streets of Cincinnati. He’s fought and trained to rise out of the underground bareknuckle boxing circuit into the heavyweight boxing matches. Having money means he can take care of his mother and three younger siblings. It also means he can afford luxuries like his own training staff and management. It doesn’t mean he can afford to come out, however.

Michael Fairweather has fought his way back from a debilitating injury in soccer to become a take-no-nonsense boxing trainer to Liam, on his path to the championship belt. He’s also out-and-proud, and exactly the man Liam would date, if he could date a man, that is. Also, Mikey has a long-distance relationship with his high school sweetheart, Wade, and that’s pretty complicated.

When Mikey learns that Liam’s not straight, that Liam’s been pining for Michael for more than a year now, Michael’s in a bad position. And Liam’s heart is set to be smashed.

This book moves a little fast for me, with periods of prose (especially at the beginning) that felt more like I was being told the story, than that I was engaged in the story. So, it wasn’t until maybe halfway through that I got invested. Liam’s a decent guy in a tough spot. He wants to win the heavyweight championship so he can financially support his family, though this was a bit of a side plot, really, and he wants to have a loving relationship with Michael. Michael has a lot of passive-aggressive nonsense going on, with odd fits of jealousy whenever Liam’s posed with women. This didn’t make much sense, considering Michael has a man, and fully believed Liam was straight. I did understand, later, when they were together, how this would rankle, but the early jealousy was mystifying, for me. I had trouble bonding with these characters, because they didn’t read as fleshed-out as I’d like, and I got frustrated with Liam’s constant obeisance to his homophobic manager. Liam didn’t seem willing to stand up for himself, ever, and that was troubling for a man who’s all about power and strength in the ring. Further, Michael seems trifling and spoiled, with little concern but his own emotional well-being. As a side issue, the time-frame of the boxing and boxing-related activities seemed too compressed, something the sports fan in me railed against strongly. It made for circumstances that taxed my ability to suspend disbelief, though I doubt many readers follow boxing enough for it to raise concerns for them.

In all, there’s some good feels, including desire, elation, joy of having love returned and some more heartbreaking moments, too. Expect sexytimes, big growth of a geek-turned-street-fighter-turned-boxer and an HEA.

Interested? You can find IN THE RING on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s currently $.99 for a limited time.

Rie WarrenAbout the Author:
Badass, sassafras Rie Warren is the author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series—a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command.

She lives in gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina with her small family where she basks in the sunshine during the day, and adjourns to her woman cave at night. A nocturnal creature, she stays up way too late talking to herself, her characters, and anyone who will listen. She’s all about writing with heat, heart, and a hint of the dark, and she doesn’t shy away from the impossible.

Rie’s work has been called “edgy”, “daring”, and “some of the sexiest smut around”.

You can find Rie online on her website, Amazon, sign up for her newsletter, on Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!