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!

 

Purchase Here

Life is a Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey

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3.5 Stars out of 5 Stars

Summary: Authors know that their muse is a fickle creature. Best-selling spy novelist Stephen Ramsey has been in a hate-hate relationship with his inspiration for months. When Stephen’s publisher lays a legal ultimatum upon him, with a rapidly approaching deadline, he knows he must do something to kick-start his creativity or face the unemployment line. His daughter comes up with a possible answer: a summer camp for the creative soul. With nothing to lose, Stephen packs up his laptop, phonograph and beloved record albums and heads from Greenwich Village to the Catskill Mountains.

There, among a horde of college students attending for extra credits, is Declan Pomeroy, a photographer of fey creatures who is twenty-two years younger than Stephen. The woods are a magical place, and he quickly finds himself falling under the spell of the free-spirited photographer. Confusion wars with desire inside Stephen as he succumbs to the feelings welling up inside. But, sadly, summer camp always has to end. Can a man who has just found himself really leave the person that makes his heart sing?

The Review

This is a re-release (December 2015), so you guys may have already read this, but I hadn’t. I’m always super excited when the opportunity to read and review anything by V.L. Locey comes up. I’m a fan girl and I freely admit it. I have slowly found that I love a May/December story line. There something about the age difference that works for me.

Stephen, an author who has lost his muse and creativity follows his daughter’s advice and goes to a retreat in order to bang out a novel and meet the deadline his publisher has put on him. When he gets there, there’s no internet or cell service. There are no distractions. (Which as an author myself, that is mildly terrifying and extremely appealing to me.) It takes a little time before he realizes he isn’t one hundred percent on his own out there. There are other artistic, college student, types who are trying to get their own work done as well.

That’s when he meets Declan. Declan is a free spirit, who is a fey photographer. Even I raised a brow at that.  There’s something about him, being one hundred percent himself that pulled at me in. He didn’t care what people thought about him, and did what he wanted. The sense of freedom I got when he was in a scene was kind of serene.

The two of them couldn’t be more different from each other, but they’re drawn to each other. Despite how skeptical Stephen is that Declan could actually be attracted to him, or the fact that he was attracted to a man in the first place he goes for it. It may only last the summer but with his writing increasing and being happier than he’s ever been, Stephen embraces the relationship.

One of the things I enjoy about Locey’s writing is the fact I can see everything like a movie when I’m reading. I’m drawn into the world she’s created and I don’t want the story to end. The tone of the story felt very author-ish. If that makes sense? Some of the word choice wasn’t what you’d find in average books. It was like you were in Stephen’s head as the story progressed.

For a short novella, I enjoyed this. I think it definitely benefited from the newly added epilogue. There were some aspects that happened a little too fast for my liking but I put that down as being a shorter story and wishing there was more.  Declan seemed extremely young for twenty-two. I definitely knew all the music Stephen was playing back when I was teenager, thanks to my parents, in the early 2000’s. The HEA ending was a major bonus.

 

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.

 

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.

Purchase Here 

*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

 

Snap Shot by V.L. Locey

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This is book one in the Cayuga Cougars Hockey series

Summary: Mario McGarrity has been around the block – and rink – more than a few times.

He’s creeping up on retirement age, has some dings and dents, and says what’s on his mind. Not exactly what most would consider a luxury ride, but his beautiful Lila – the transgender woman who stole his heart – loves him like no other woman ever has despite a little rust here and there.

Everything is good – no, great – aside from the distance issue, until a surprise from Lila’s past crops up and moves in with her. Can Mario be the family man that Lila needs, or is this one game the old vet is unable to skate in?

 

The Review

Snap Shot by V.L. Locey is the first in the Cayuga Cougars series. Lila and Mario (aka Seamus) have a relationship that I think everyone aspires to have. No matter the difficulties they face, they face those issues together and work to find a solution.
I’ll be one hundred percent honest, I was hesitant at first towards how Lila was going to be written. It’s my first foray into this particular genre so I was a bit nervous about how their love scenes would be written. Locey blew it out of the water (in the greatest way possible). Lila and Seamus’ relationship was honest, full of steamy goodness and not at all raunchy (which was what I was afraid I’d find here).

I enjoyed seeing how Seamus dealt with the surprise Lila gave him, Langley, her son. Langley acted exactly how a kid in his shoes would act. He was a rebellious, smart ass that all teenagers are. Some of the things he did had me rolling my eyes but Seamus and Lila made an excellent team when it came to Langley.

I found myself falling in love with the secondary characters as well. Augie, the goalie and the rest of the team as they drifted through the novel had me laughing. When you fall in love with the secondary characters along with the main characters you know you’ve found an excellent book.

I was super excited to see that Augie was going to be featured in book two!

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, so many times yes.