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Heart of the Race

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,519 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varr
ebook, 86 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 31st 2013)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,519 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Julio Genao
Jun 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella
i knew this one was a turd—and read it anyway.


brian is a passive-aggressive twatwaffle living in abject denial of a helpless and totally doomed love for his stepbrother varro, who races motorcycles, falls off things, and fucks ladyparts a lot.

then, in this order, they:

- pretend not to want each other for a bit;

- argue about things that have nothing to do with why they are upset;

- separate for a year over an aggravating failure to speak english at a critical juncture;

- reunite on some random-ass
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

This is "Fast & Furious, the Mary Calmes Edition". It was FUN and HOT and an adrenaline rush! I had a blast reading this.

Brian and Varro had been friends since they were 9 and 10 years old when Brian looked out the window of his foster parents’ home to find his neighbor Varro on his roof about to take off in a go cart. It was best-friendship at first sight and the two shared a special connection for the decade-plus following. Until Brian realized he was in love with Varro…and it hu
Victoria  love books
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-mm, mm
Overall Book rating 4 come kiss me stars
Audio book: Narrator - Greg Tremblay 4 Stars
Book Cover 4 Stars

I liked this

Mandy*reads obsessively*

I enjoyed this DD story, of course Mary Calmes is a reliable read, I know what I'm going to get.
Brian, a foster child is by sheer luck taken in by a wonderful family. Varro, the boy he grows up with, the boy he grows to love is as much of a joy as he is a burden.
Brian can't seem to move on because his thoughts and heart all turn on Varro, so he tries to avoid him, but Varro needs and loves Brian, just as much, just not in the same way.
The men really know each other, so I was a little surpr
Reread 1/1/17

This is a novella that is a comfort-Calmes read for me. I've read it no less than five times, and it's there for me when I need a quick, feel-good, low angst, story to make me smile.

Varro and Brian became foster brothers at age 9 and were inseparable until they left the house. Brian has put some distance between them since becoming an adult, the only way his heart can take it since Varro is not only straight, but quite the man whore.

Now in their late twenties, Varro is tired of Bria
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
1.5 stars

This is typical Mary Calmes GOO: nonsensical conversations (no one talks in abstracts and riddles all the time), stereotypical characters, meddlesome, loving family, a dog and marriage. I liked Frog (maybe because it was my first Calmes book), but it's been all downhill from there; I really think Mary and I are through.

You don't go around fucking hundreds of women while racing motorcycles at 200mph and missing your foster brother, and then wake up one day deciding that you're quitting r
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m


This was very sweet and made me feel very happy.

Mary's books, no matter my mood, no matter anything really, they just do it for me. It feels really good to start a book and have a pretty good idea of what you are going to get, not to mention exactly what you need.

Glad I finally gave this one a chance. No idea why hesitated. Stupid me.
Something in this story just worked perfectly for me! Maybe it was the hot and gorgeous, motorcycle rider Varro with his need for speed? Maybe it was the wonderful Brian, an all round nice guy and so secretly in love with his best friend? Maybe it was Mrs Dacien, opening her heart, home and family to take the young Brian in? Maybe it was because of the lovely happy ending? Maybe it was just because Mary Calmes writes a fabulous sex scene! Regardless of the reason, loved it!
BWT (Belen)
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-fiction
Updated 07/07/15 for audio book.

Greg Tremblay narrates. The man gives good eargasm. 'Nuff said.

Read 09/2014
Quick read about friends to lovers. No reinvention of the wheel, but entertaining nonetheless.
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)

I don’t know what it is about a Mary Calmes book but I just can’t seem to hate anything she’s written. This time I decided switch things up and try one of the audiobooks. Thus far, I’ve only read Calmes’ books so this was going to be a new experience for me and it turned out, I really like her books in audio as well. Sometimes I love reading a series but when I try to listen to the audio, something just puts me off it. While the narrator pronounced some words weirdly, I felt like I could over
3.5 Stars

More of the same delicious Mary Calmes brand of readable crack...Don't even need to tell you the plot because you already know it! One guy is a motorcross racer and the other one is the one everyone likes and wants to get with...One is straight and big and delicious the other one is gay and super awesome and everyone likes him, because he's AMAZIN'...They need each other, but the straight one can't possibly be in love with the gay one (even though they are best friends and SOUL MATES, y
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
What did I think? Well, I'm a bit perplexed. I read it in one sitting, so it must be good. And I could follow Brian's stand-offish behavior to protect himself. What I didn't get was the turn of 180 with Varro. Somehow there was no chemistry between both of them that let me believe Varro suddenly deep in love with Brian. Somehow something's missing in that story, just can't put my finger on it. So, in the end I stick to 3 stars. It could have been much better.
Valerie ❈M/M Romance Junkie❈
Thank goodness for Greg Tremblay. I still thought Varro was a selfish prick. I didn't like either main character, but Greg Tremblay made them ok. He always does such a wonderful job with narration.
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Massive info dump and then some sex. Didn't flip my switch in the least. Could have been a cooler story, but way too short and lacked any kind of character development, so no empathy no connection with the characters. AND most of the 'making up' seemed to be done over the phone. Srsly?
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
.So I got this on a whim...

and when I decided that I wanted to have a bit of a break today and listen to something that was short, entertaining but not overly complex well...this one turned out to be just what I was looking for.

Ms Calmes has given the reader a short, sweet friends to lovers story with this one. Focusing on the relationship between Varro Dacien and Brian Christie...friends since childhood. Varro races motorcycles and lives for the next adrenaline rush while Brian spends years a
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***4 Stars***

That Mary Magic strikes again!!

Image result for magic gif

This author's writing and formula just works for me...even when I shouldn't like a character (I'm looking at your selfish ass, Varro) or when I should be annoyed (you gave in too quickly Brian)...I'm glued to the page.

Serena Yates
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay
If it is true that those who know us best can hurt us most, it is definitely true that those whom we love have even greater potential to devastate us. This story is an excellent example of how a great love can destroy years of someone's life, take away their chance at happiness, and almost kill them (physically and emotionally). And even though it may seem, at first glance, that it is only Varro who does the destroying, Brian has a few things to answer for as well. As ever, it isn’t only one guy ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance-contemp, fr
A slow-burn, high-revving, friends to lovers story.

Varro , the adrenaline junkie with a penchant for speed and his sidekick, Brian have grown up together. One leading the charge and the other spectating the miraculous and disastrous deeds. One footloose and the other just wanting to lay down roots. One in love and the other not.

Torn apart. Brian is tired of playing second fiddle and moves on with his life--doing what he wants, but leaving behind the one thing he desperately wants.

It is terribly
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it, confusing? I don't know, I didn't get the racing references (yeah me, starting with the most unimportant problem) but most of all - I didn't really get the guys.

I mean - here we have Brian, swooning over Varro nearly his whole life with no intention to do anything, to say anything? Get a grip - took him really too long to try to get over him. I know, he moved away etc., he tried...*cough*...I don't think he tried, he thought it would happen without effort from his side only
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
A short sweet novella about friends to lovers, Varro and Brian. Varro is world champion motorcycle racer and a bit of a manwhore with ladies always falling all over him. Brian is his best friend and foster brother that's secretly been in love with him since they were young. The characters were well developed and the storyline was good, but I still wish it had been longer. I get attached to my characters and don't like to let them go after only 86 pages ;)
This was amazing! I'm struggling to find the right words to express just how much I loved this! Gahh, just so much emotion! Heart of the Race was absolutely perfect - it was beautifully written and genuinely moving. My heart ached the whole way through, and I even teared up a couple of times. So beautiful. It just made me so happy and emotional! I'll definitely be revisiting this one in the future.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: family, gfy, coming-out

While this was a good story and maybe because it was a short story, I just felt that I missed something with Varro and how he came to his realization. There just seemed to be something in the middle missing for me. Maybe because we didn't get his point of view, I don't know.
4 Stars

Hey, maybe it's because it was so short but I did NOT get drunk playing the Mary Calmes Drinking Game while listening to this! I even kinda liked it a lot more than I thought I would.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paisley by: Traci
I am such a freakin' huge fan of Mary Calmes. I am pretty sure I have read almost every story she has published. This one was pretty typical MC. It's a short story so there is only so much plot 86 pages can contain right? Overall, I did love it and was totally entertained until the very last word.

Is it my favorite MC story? No.
Is it my favorite MC short story? No.

When I read her stuff I always take a leap of faith. To me that means I can't sit there and analyze every single aspect of how reali
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Mary Calmes writes stories that keep me coming back--guilty pleasures.

Not this one, though--this book was more miss than hit for me.

What worked for me:
- Love, love, love the cover.
- (view spoiler)--love that stuff, cliches and all.
- The Dacien family.
- The idea that your lover makes you a better person - in this book, Varro is hard to deal with when Brian is not around.
- The racing-life vibe.

What didn’t work for me:
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
well not the best Mary Calmes ever... but Greg Tremblay got me through :)
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Heart of the Race is part of Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose Anthology for June. As usual with Ms. Calmes’s work, it towers above the rest. I must issue a disclaimer that I am a huge fan of her work. But, wow.

Heart of the Race is the story of Brian and Varro. Brian was nine years old and in his sixth foster home when he looked out his window and saw Varro on the roof of the house next door. Varro was about to jump a go-cart off the roof. Brian asked if he could be next and they were insepar
Thomaidha Papa
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, m-m
2.5~3 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

It was love on first sight when Brian was nine and Varro was ten, even if he didn’t know it yet back then. By fate they were joined in family as Varro’s parents took him in foster care and never been apart since. But growing up things changed when their sexuality clashed, Varro being quite the lady killer and Brian finding and admitting to being gay. How did he know? Well easy enough when your best friend/b
LiveYourLife BuyTheBook
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

I grew up riding motorcycles and hanging out in a motorcycle shop. Mary Calmes' “Heart of the Race” was very much akin to a big bowl of comfort food for me. Brian Christie grew up watching his foster brother, Varro Dacien, perform all manner of feats of derring-do. Eventually Brian realized he didn't just love Varro as a brother. To not complicate his family life, Brian pulled away from Varro. After an accident while motorcycle racing, their mother guilts Brian into going on the racing ci
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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Mary Calmes believes in romance, happily ever afters, and the faith it takes for her characters to get there. She bleeds coffee, thinks chocolate should be its own food group, and currently lives in Kentucky with a five-pound furry ninja that protects her from baby birds, spiders and the neighbor’s dogs. To stay up to date on her ponderings and pandemonium (as well as the adventures of the ninja) ...more
“I could live a lifetime in just a few heartbeats of time.” 6 likes
“Varro to Brian: "You always think there has to be some grand gesture, but really, there doesn’t even have to be words. Just knowing something should be all the truth you need.” 6 likes
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