Single by R.J. Scott

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3 out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Reeling from the painful rejection of a man he thought he loved, Asher is left holding the baby.

Ash wants a family, and is determined to continue with a surrogacy he’d begun with his ex. Bringing baby Mia home, he vows that he will be the best father he can be. Nothing in this world matters more to him than caring for his daughter, not even accidentally falling in lust with the doctor next door. Challenged by his growing attraction to Sean, and confronted by painful memories of his family, Ash has to learn that love is all that matters.

When ER doctor Sean moves in with his friends next door to sexy single father Ash, he falls so quickly it takes his breath away. The sex they have is hot, but Ash is adamant his heart is too full with love for his daughter to let anyone else in. Why is Sean the only one who sees how scared Ash is, and how can he prove to his new lover that he desperately wants the three of them to become a family?

The Review

I love reading stories about single parents, doing their thing and finding love at the same time. There’s just something about it that normally hits the spot for me. There’s a quiet strength that is present in characters like that. I was missing that feeling in Single by R.J. Scott. I’m usually a HUGE fan of hers but this, just didn’t do it for me.

So on to what I enjoyed about Single.

I liked Sean, Eric and Leo. A house full of first responders trying to find their place in the world. What isn’t to like about this? Also, they have a dog named Cap (short for Captain America)! Asher was every bit the flustered first-time parent. Some of his actions were things that anyone can be like, ‘yep, so-and-so totally did that’.

I really enjoyed Asher’s interactions with Brady. They got my mind moving and I was secretly rooting for a relationship to begin between the two of them. I wanted more text conversations and clues as to who Brady really is. I have my conspiracy theories, but I doubt they’ll come to be, seeing as the tone of Single is not that of a dramatic thriller.

What I didn’t enjoy …

There was so much information left out. I’m a huge believer in tossing the reader into the action of the story. But we barely got any back story to Asher or Sean. The characters were flat. I feel like I knew more about the secondary characters than I did about the Ash and Sean. There wasn’t that much interaction between Sean and Asher. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. It was extremely short, I read it in about an hour and a half and if it were longer, their interactions drawn out, then perhaps I would have enjoyed this a lot more.

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The Last Defense By R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary: Every time Max Van Hellren steps on the ice he knows it could be his last time. At thirty-two he’s past his prime but he’s also hiding a life-threatening injury that private doctors warn could kill him. This is his last season, and there’s a chance he could lift the Stanley Cup after fourteen years in the NHL. He just needs to stay safe and healthy; difficult when he’s known for his heavy hitting and with a propensity for dropping the gloves and putting his body in the way of pucks to keep his team safe. A one-night stand with a sexy man was just what he needed, dangerous and hot, but what if it turned into more? Would he have to share the secrets he so desperately tries to hide?

Ben Worthington had it all. A fulfilling job running the CrossRoads Shelter, his loving aunts, and a husband that understood his devotion to animals. Then, the love of his life left him, succumbing so quickly to an unexpected sickness that Ben never had time to say goodbye. The violent loss scarred him. Unable to move past his fears, he moves from lonely encounter to lonely encounter, slaking a desperate need that is eating away at him, but never making a connection that could lead him back into love. One night with Max makes him want more, but will giving into the temptation open the door to feelings he can’t contain?

Can these two broken man ever find a way to be together?

The Review

The Last Defense is book five in the Harrisburg Railers series and it does not let down at all! I feel like with every book, this series gets better and better.

Max Van Hellren is thirty-two and has experienced a devastating illness that always has him wondering, when it’ll rear its ugly head once more. Bring a professional hockey player adds more risk to possibly having another dangerous episode (I call it episode because I feel like I’ll be giving everything away telling you just what’s going on with Max).

Ben, who lost his husband unexpectedly, runs their shelter, sees his crazy aunts (I love the civil rights, crusading pair of ladies who don’t let their age get them down), goes to church and repeats it all over again the next week.

They meet by chance when Ben stops by the Railers rink in hopes of scheduling another adoption event with the team. Their attraction is instant and they both only want one thing. Sex.

I’m going to tell you now, Scott and Locey do not let down with the heat of the sex between the two men. It’s a delicious blend of chemistry, attraction, and physicality between the two men. It’s not all quick, getting-off and leaving. As their relationship progresses, they way they treat each other and how they show their feels is evident. It’s not just sex. It’s more.

Max really resonated with me throughout the book. He didn’t want to form attachments because of the possibility of what could happen.  Then Ben was afraid of losing another person he let himself love the way he lost his husband, Liam. All it took was meeting each other to throw a wrench in their plans.  Ben woke Max up to all the possibilities of living life for it’s entirety. Max showed Ben that you don’t stop living because of loss. That seems like a very young thing to say, but I’ve experienced loss like that on a similar level. I loved that Max didn’t make Ben take pictures down, or get angry with DK being in Ben’s life. He was a true partner to Ben and would do anything to take care of him. And he did.

Now the hockey scenes in this book were amazing! It’s a Stanley Cup run, of course it’s going to be intense but there were times I was on the edge of my seat. I needed to know what was going to happen in the games. And the characters you met at the game and Trent’s Grandma. I was cackling at her reactions. When I’m watching a game with my bestie while the Canes are playing the Pens, I think I’m probably just as bad as her. And the two husbands who watch hockey together? *sigh* I loved it. And they perfectly captured their reaction to a fan of the opposing team. Hockey fans are probably some of the greatest fans because you aren’t afraid to walk to your car in the parking garage if your team wins. You come out with a friend you can chirp during games. Seriously. True story.

Max and Ben’s story sat in my heart. And they pushed my emotions around in the best ways possible.

This is one that I can’t wait to buy the print book to add to my collection!

 

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Winter Cowboy by RJ Scott

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Book One of the Whisper Ridge, Wyoming Series

Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Micah Lennox left Whisper Ridge after promising the man he loved that he would never return. But the only way he knows to keep his pregnant sister and nephew safe is to go home. Spending winter in Wyoming opens too many old wounds, but he’s on the run from justice which can’t be far behind, and this is his last chance at redemption.

After a hostage situation leaves Doctor Daniel Sheridan struggling with PTSD, he returns to Whisper Ridge. Joining his dad in family practice is a balm to soothe his exhausted soul, and somehow, he finds a peace he can live with. That is until he meets Micah in a frozen graveyard, and the years of anger and feelings of betrayal boiling inside him, erupt.

Two broken men fight and scratch for their lives and that of their families, and somehow, in the middle of it all, they find each other.

Is it possible that love can be rekindled and become a forever to believe in?

The Review

Can I say that RJ Scott has done it again? Because she has. I fall in love with every character she creates, or at least I have so far. I haven’t read everything written but I’ve got a lot on my iPad just waiting to be read. Anyways to the review!

I knew this was going to be an emotional read going in to this. Two broken men with a history, that breaks my heart, finally meet up after nearly a decade of time has past. Neither of them have healed in that time. If anything it seems like the wounds they had been nursing in order to just get by managed to intensify by other events in their lives. But when they see each other, maybe this was the moment they needed in order to start the process.

Micah, he would give anything to his sister and nephew to make sure they were safe and taken care of. He had such a strong sense of family, it only made sense that he would have dealt with the amount of guilt and self-hate that he did. They way Micah was written was real, gritty and honest. No one would have come out the same after what happened when he was a kid.

Daniel, god, give that man a hug. Or a million. I can see why he had turned so angry. He lost a brother, he lost Micah, he was torn between his own anger and guilt and then when he finally gets out then his life gets torn even further apart when a co-worker was killed in front of him. He comes home and then faces his past all over again. It isn’t easy to differentiate the two events either. It’s like a cycle that mixes everything up in his head.

I loved how family centered Winter Cowboy was. Micah was fighting to keep the little bit of family he has out of harms way and Daniel who’s family is fighting to pull him back into living life and being happy. This was a story of healing and learning to cope. They didn’t shove everything on the rug and pretend it was okay. It wasn’t. It’s progress and I think RJ Scott showed that with the development of all of the characters, not just the two main  characters.

I could picture the Lennox and Sheridan land and now I just want to go to Wyoming and experience the way life is there. I want to know what Wyoming snow and cold is like. It makes me want to travel. That’s a special kind of writing, to make someone want to pack up and leave home just to know what it’s like in Wyoming in February. Don’t judge. I see you, you judgy-judger.

To be released February 28th 2018

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Poke Check by R.J. Scott and V.L Locey

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Five out of Five Stars!

This is book four in the Harrisburg Railers series

The Summary: Stanislav “Stan” Lyamin is happy playing for the Railers. The towering goalie is well-loved, respected, and making a home for himself even though that home only contains him, his cat, and his growing Pokemon trading card collection. Stan prefers it that way. He’d given his heart to a man in a secret affair, and that man walked away, leaving Stan shattered. Now Erik is back in his life, and he has the same tumultuous effect he had on Stan’s heart as before. This time it’s not just a kissable mouth and sweet blond curls that Erik has brought to Harrisburg, there’s a soon-to-be ex-wife and a precious baby. Despite the vow Stan made to hate Erik forever, he’s now finding it harder and harder to turn away.

Erik Gunnarsson’s dream had always been to play in the NHL, he just never imagined he’d land a contract with the Railers. Who would have thought that fate would put him on the same team as Stanislav Lyamin; the man whose heart he’d callously broken?

Secrets and lies had defined their summer relationship, and the choice that Erik made to end it all haunts him still. In the middle of a messy divorce and with a baby in tow, Erik finds himself back in Stan’s life. Now all he has to do is be the best dad he can be, prove to the team that he deserves the chance to stay on the roster and try his hardest to get Stan to forgive him. Is it possible to persuade a man who hates you to give love a second chance?

The Review

I’ve been waiting for Stan’s story since meeting him in Changing Lines, so to find out that he was getting his own book, I was beyond excited. There’s something about a huge, Russian goalie who is still figuring his way through the English language while playing the sport he loves, jockey.  I found a combination of a few real life players in Stan. He had the humor of Marc-Andre Fleury. He had the love of animals and difficulties with languages from Evgeni Malkin. The intense focus and fury of Nikita Kucherov . Finally the goal flipping, anger of Henrik Lundqvist (yeah I know Locey is a huge fan of the New York Rangers but *shakes fist*)

What I particularly enjoyed about Poke Check was the fact that Stan and Erik met during the off season and had a wild affair. Then Erika breaks Stan’s heart. He sleeps with a woman and ends up getting her pregnant and marries her. Ending up on the Railers with Stan was not what either of them expected. Stan’s hurt was palpable and one hundred percent real. I would have the hardest time working with someone who broke my heart but having to work as closely as they do? Very difficult. They kept it professional and end up being friendly with each other.

There was a lot going on in this. It was neat to see so much Stan’s life outside of hockey. We got to meet his sister Galina and see her have a whirlwind romance with Arvy. Stan also had to deal with his country’s stance on homosexuality and his fear of what would happen to his mother if he was found out.  That was very real and relevant to Russian athletes today.

Erik was a cutie with his cute son Noah. There were a lot of little single-dad moments that I loved getting to see because you know there’s going to be a time the babysitter is sick, you don’t have a backup and what do you do? He was very much about making sure his son was happy and healthy.

Over all I really enjoyed this book.  It had everything I love about a RJ Scott and VL Locey book, hockey, romance, sexy scenes, a bit of drama and a happily ever after.

 

Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott

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Five out of Five Stars!!

Summary: Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what could possibly go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

The Review

Derek is a businessman facing the pressures of having a boyfriend for the holidays. Luke needs money for a family bar renovation and it seems like this arrangement is going to work for the both of them. Derek gets his parents off his back and Luke gets to save the bar. Neither of them expected true feelings to develop.

What I loved about this is how much it felt like Christmas. There was the hustle and bustle of having to work, dealing with finances, going to Christmas parties and visiting with what can be overbearing family members. I also feel, that both Derek and Luke found a little bit of happiness once they stopped trying to do what everyone wanted them to and did what made them happiest.

The attraction between the two started out as a slow, steady burn but after the first Christmas event that flame intensified in all the best ways. There’s something about the way Scott writes her love scenes that doesn’t feel fake. Instead it feels natural and there’s something about the scenes that leave your blood running hot.

My favorite part of this was the fact that I could see it play like a movie in my head. In the end, this book left me happy and feeling like I had spent my morning curled up in a warm bed, a cup of my favorite coffee on the bedside table and someone curled up next to me. That’s kind of the best feeling you can get after reading a book.

Can be purchased here

Deep Edge by R.J Scott and V.L Locey

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Five out of Five Stars

This is book three in the Harrisburg Railers Series

Summary:

One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts?

Trent Hanson is a figure skating phenom adored by millions around the world. His whole life has been dedicated to the sport he loves even when the sport – and his own family – have turned against him. From the playground to the Olympics to his parent’s living room, Trent has fought against bullies and homophobes to be the out and proud gay man he is. But the constant fighting has left Trent tired, lonely, and skittish. All those fears will have to be shelved though when he’s hired to spend the summer working with the Harrisburg Railers ice hockey team. Who would have guessed that the man fate has decided to pair him off with is Dieter Lehmann, all-around sex god and a man who seems to have everything to prove and doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Dieter has spent too many years languishing in the minors, and a secret addiction to prescription painkillers means his career is in a downward spiral. His ex is blackmailing him, and he’s close to walking away from it all. But when he’s called up in the run for the Stanley Cup to cover injuries he has a taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL, and he realizes that a place on the Railers’ roster is what he wants more than anything. More than listening to his heart, and even more than caring for the infuriating figure skater who gets under his skin. When he crosses the line to get what he wants, he knows he has lost his way. He has to change, but is it too late for both his career and any chance he might have at love?

 

The Review

In the third novel of R.J Scott and V.L. Locey’s Harrisburg Railers series, Deep Edge, Dieter and Trent face-off against their demons and learn how to accept the help of others. Trent Hanson has been dealing with the betrayal of his father and trying to figure out a way to make money to save his mother’s home and his beloved ice rink. Dieter has darker demons to deal with, addiction to pain medication* and the pressure of performing well enough to extend his one year contract with the Railers.

I honestly was a bit worried about this premise. I have my own issues reading about addiction and Trent has a strong, flamboyant personality. I thought I’d skim through this and hope for book four. That was not the case. I ended up falling in love with Trent. He was unapologetically himself, and I personally needed that kind of character in my life this week. I needed someone to tell me, ‘Ashley just be YOU, everything else doesn’t matter’. Trent did that for me.

Dieter, oh boy, Dieter. He had everything under control. Until he didn’t. It made me uncomfortable seeing him under the influence like he was. Then it made me angry. And finally I wanted to fix Dieter because of the potential he had. It took the idea of losing his career, his love of hockey and losing Trent to make Dieter realize he might just need help. I appreciated the fact that he did go to rehab with the support of the team, his family and Trent. That was no doubt the greatest gift anyone could give him.

I think the mark of a great story is the fact that it can make the reader feel. The emotions I went through as I read, the fact I HAD to keep reading to the end, proves how good this series truly is.

Would I recommend this? Go buy the entire series now. You don’t have to know hockey to enjoy this. I promise. Go forth and enjoy.

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*Personal experiences with addiction make it difficult for me to read or hear about drug abuse and addiction. It’s a testament to these authors that I gave this book a chance.

First Season by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

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Five out of Five stars

This is book two in the Harrisburg Railers Series

Summary: Layton Foxx works hard for what he’s achieved. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark…it’s all down to the sacrifices he’s made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers, and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.

Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only thing he doesn’t have is parents who care, or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.

Layton wants success, Adler wants a family…how can love make both these things possible?

The Review

In the second installment of R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey’s Harrisburg Railers, First Season, we meet Layton Foxx and Adler Lockhart. Layton Foxx is brought in by the Railers management as a form of crisis management for Ten and Mads coming out publicly. Layton and Alder’s first meeting is about as disastrous as Alder’s word vomit is. I think that’s what endeared me so much to Alder.  I can relate to losing that filter when I get nervous or unsure in a situation. He’s just as awkward as the rest of us even if he’s a pro-hockey player.

Layton is young but incredibly smart. He faces his fear of jocks and his past taking the job with the Railers and I think it really changed his opinion and helped him on his road of healing. There was something very organic about him and I found myself admiring his resolve and rooting for Adler to finally get through to him. And when they do push past work colleagues, past friendship and into a romantic relationship it felt true to the pair. Their intimacy was vivid, strong and fun. Just like Alder’s habit for saying whatever comes to mind and Layton’s gentle but wry humor.

I think Layton brought Alder a sense a family that he didn’t have as he grew up. Layton gave that to him by bringing Alder to his childhood home, trusting and sharing his heartbreaking past and at the very end, acknowledging Alder’s chosen family as that.

There was something about these two that had me one hundred percent invested in their story. R.J. Scott and V.L Locey could have written an eight hundred page novel on these two and I would have loved every second of it. The second installment of the series was a perfect addition, (I have a fear that the second book in a series can ruin everything, this totally DIDN’T) and it flowed from book one to book two and into book three (which I scored an ARC of!!!).

What also had me dancing in my seat? The fact that you saw characters from Changing Lines throughout First Season. They just weren’t written and then forgotten about. I was glad to see Mads family and so much more of STAN! I love Stan to pieces and need to read more about him!

Should you buy this? Yes, go buy it now, you’ll be glad that you did.

Available for purchase here

 

The Fireman and the Cop by RJ Scott

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This book is the first in RJ Scott’s Ellery Mountain Series

Four out of Five Stars

Summary: Rescuing a cop from a burning precinct is in Max’s job description; falling in love was never part of the deal.

Max Harrison moved from the city to take up a role as assistant to the mayor, while also a volunteer firefighter. When he meets Finn Ryan in Ellery, he falls in lust that burns as hot as the fires an arsonist is setting in town.

Finn Ryan is a cop, and somehow he’s attracted trouble. Going back into a fire to rescue the town drunk is just the start. Now he has to rely on the man he’s falling for to make sure it doesn’t end with him dying.

The Review*

The Fireman and the Cop by RJ Scott takes place in the quiet, quaint town of Ellery with a backdrop of mountains, streams and wildlife. Finn Ryan is a local cop who hasn’t seen much in the way of crime other than a fireworks prank gone bad. Max Harrison has made the move from the city to a small town in search of a new start as both assistant to the mayor and a volunteer firefights.

A cop and a firefighter, how yummy can this get?

Their attraction to each other was instantaneous and white hot. Even dealing with smoke inhalation and getting loaded onto an ambulance, Finn hits on Max and it’s hilarious. It had me laughing. I have personally said embarrassing things while in pain and under the influence of medication so I could relate to that so well. So believe it, it really does happen. I think I even told a nurse after surgery she was beautiful and the world needed to appreciate that.

Even though poor Finn took a beating and ended up in a terrible situation, Max was there for him through and through. I liked that Max didn’t get scared off with everything happening in Ellery and so soon after his arrival!

Do I wish this was longer? Yes. But I always hope for a never ending book by RJ Scott. I love everything she writes. I read this in one sitting and it left me happy and in a much better mood than I had been when I first started reading it. So if you’re looking for a light, quick read, definitely give this a go!

*I read the May 10, 2017 version which had been re-edited and had additional scenes added to it.  The original publication date was in February 2013

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