This third book finishes off the story of Victor Kalinski - sharp-tongued, short-tempered, without filters, bisexual, and falling deeper in love withThis third book finishes off the story of Victor Kalinski - sharp-tongued, short-tempered, without filters, bisexual, and falling deeper in love with Dan Arou as each day passes. He's a different man from the closed-off loner he was a year ago, but he's still damned lucky he has Dan and his friends to keep him on course through his life.
At the end of the previous novella, Vic and Dan were outed as a couple by a homophobic teammate. In a way, Vic is relieved. Hiding and guarding his tongue has never been his strong point, and he's damned proud to be with Dan. He doesn't mind telling the world. But he's worried about the effect of being out as gay men in hockey, especially what it might do to Dan's promising career. And he knows his hair-trigger temper and sharp tongue may make things worse. And even knowing that, he vows to seriously mess up anyone who gives Dan even a hint of trouble.
Add in a pregnant Heather, Dan's family, a hard-charging hockey style, and Vic's total romantic ineptitude, and you get a story that is fun, sweet, a bit angsty, and full of awww. (view spoiler)[ I really liked the way the baby situation was handled. Not the usual M/M cliche, but realistic and well done. (hide spoiler)] I'm really glad I found these stories - I know I'll read them again soon. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This second of three "Point Shot" novellas doesn't stand alone and the ending is tentative - but it is a wonderful middle piece to the trilogy. Read tThis second of three "Point Shot" novellas doesn't stand alone and the ending is tentative - but it is a wonderful middle piece to the trilogy. Read the first one, meet bisexual hockey player Victor Kalinski and his (current) teammate and boyfriend, Dan Arou. Find out just how much trouble Vic's mouth, his topflight hockey skills and damaged self-image, and the stress of being closeted, get him into. See how much he's willing to try to bend and learn, to keep Dan in his life. And how bad he is at it.
Then come here for the next part. Vic was gutted by the realities of pro hockey, and his own shortcomings, toward the end of the previous book. His dysfunctional coping strategy involved booze and a broad, and although all seemed to end well at the time, the consequences of that are coming home to roost. Dan's a great guy, but he's deeply hurt by Vic's asshattery, and not even ready to try to be understanding. And Vic's childhood as at the hands of his drunken mother, has left him lightyears away from being ready for the next step in his growing up, when the paternity suit paperwork lands in his hand.
Both men are deeper here, more thoughtful, more flawed and yet stronger. There is still plenty of humor over the way Vic's lack of forethought, his temper, and low self-worth get him into trouble. But I was becoming very fond of both men by this point, so there are also moments of heart-felt pain, watching them try to find their way forward. The end is a bit cliff-hangery. Luckily the last novella is already out and waiting to finish the series.
I was caught by surprise with how much I enjoyed this novella - this is the first of 3 that make up a novel arc, but if you're okay with tentative HFNI was caught by surprise with how much I enjoyed this novella - this is the first of 3 that make up a novel arc, but if you're okay with tentative HFN, then this one has a solid enough end to read as a stand-alone. (The second doesn't - read one or all 3; I highly recommend all 3)
The blurb says "Victor Kalinski, all-star forward for the Boston Barracudas, is one of the biggest jerks in professional hockey." and that is totally true. Vic's uncensored mouth comes out with all kinds of crap, not just against opponents on the ice, but directed at his teammates, bosses, the press, and anyone else in range. His inability to control his tongue, and his short temper, get him sent down from Boston to their minor league team despite his hockey skills. He figures a week or two slap on the wrist is all it will be, and sets about alienating everyone on his new team.
Finding out that not only is there no plan to bring him back up soon, but that the Boston franchise is actively looking to dump him, is a reality check. Spotting a teammate with a great ass, great mouth, and odd hints of kindness even in the face of Vic's assholery is the beginning of changes. Dan is gay, but in the big leagues of hockey, closeted, just as Vic hasn't talked about being bi. But they are too hot, and slowly, too sweet, together, not to try to make something work. The question is, what, in a world where a change of cities can happen to either of them at any moment with barely a day's notice, and where coming out could signal the end of a promising career.
They have a bunch still to work through. Not to mention the way Vic buries his heart layers deep under trash talk, defensiveness, and a bit of drinking here and there. This novella, told in Vic's desperately-ducking-introspection voice, is great fun, and the trio taken together are even more so.
Note that this is an Ellora's Cave release - I have not checked with the author to be sure they are receiving their due royalties from these titles. You might choose to do so first....more
4.5 stars. Just a fun, light, sweet read with a very engaging young-guy narrative voice. Nick is on the cusp of adulthood, in the summer after his hig4.5 stars. Just a fun, light, sweet read with a very engaging young-guy narrative voice. Nick is on the cusp of adulthood, in the summer after his high school graduation. He's smart, but a bit scatterbrained and obsessive, with really crappy impulse control. He has no real goals, and a tendency to panic under pressure. (In fact, he's a scarily true-to-life middle-class-privileged 18-year-old, and an example of why a year of public service work between high-school and college would be good for many American teens IMO.)
But he also has a warm heart, and a sunny disposition. He's obsessed with Jai, the hot young guy who sometimes comes into the office where Nick is working for the summer. And when he decides to go for it, proposition Jai and make a dent in his own virginity, events spiral out of his control. Although not always in bad ways.
Jai is twenty-five and has figured out his life, for now. He works summers, travels cheap and light the rest of the year, has sex with men or women who appeal to him casually along the way. He's not determined to do this forever,but he's not ready to settle down yet. Nick's offer of a blow-job seems like more of the same, but Nick's failure to lock the door has unfortunate consequences. Jai's summer earning plans are in peril, and at the same time, Nick's sweet, oblivious, innocently sexy attention isn't as annoying as it should be. Or really, annoying at all. More like fun. And hot, and light, of course. Just for the summer. Even if Nick really could use a keeper...
Until now, Nick has had a keeper in his best friend Devon. This is the ultimate bromance, two guys, friends since childhood, with no sexual interest but who are there for each other, with hugs, and even cuddles, and ILY when it counts. Devon is the greatest straight friend ever, but he's headed off to a different college when fall comes. Nick is silently panicking at the thought of being on his own and rudderless, without goals, brakes, or support. Every time his mom does one more college prep thing, his mouth goes dry.
But that's life, right? Moving on? College? He's going to enjoy this summer fling with Jai. (Wow, he scored Jai. Unbelievable luck.) And not insist on anything more. He can totally be cool about this (when not panicking.)
I love Nick's POV voice, and Jai is a sweet solid presence to back him up, a guy who made his life work after the shock of losing his dad, and who is just now wondering if there might be a piece missing. If maybe, casual friendships and drive-by sex are finally getting a little shallow. Because Nick is sweet and sexy and a bit lost, and Jai really wants to see him stay safe and happy and fizzy and wide-eyed at life.
This was fun (with just a shade of Sterek IMO - Nick echoes some of Stiles, not in a bad way.) There is butt poetry and first time sex and falling sideways into a relationship I can see lasting. Heart-warming snicker-inducing fun....more
This second book in the series takes us deeper into the world of spirit guides and magic, including the ifrits who may represent an explanation for DaThis second book in the series takes us deeper into the world of spirit guides and magic, including the ifrits who may represent an explanation for Darren's guide Bennu, and his unusual abilities. Kavon and Darren become more comfortable with each other and we get more backstory on each man. There is some heated sex (with a detour into a bit of powerplay/bondage) and an interesting mystery thread to follow.
I felt that there was a personal power imbalance still present between the guys that was addressed, but not really resolved, and then worsened again by some revelations toward the end of the book. (view spoiler)[ Darren is almost presented as being chosen and elevated as a sidekick for Kavon. Then the revelations about Bennu's link to Kavon, and Darren's own personal status, despite the effort to make it a compliment, felt more painful and diminishing than was acknowledged. (hide spoiler)] That made me feel like the relationship wasn't as solid as it should have been for the level of commitment. But there is still time for kinks to be worked out, in every sense.
There are some good action scenes, some tender moments, and I didn't guess all the antagonists in advance. An enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to how it works out in the next book. The ending was a solid HFN, but there are plenty of threads left to be tied off.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more