Overtime (Scoring Chances #3.5) – Avon Gale

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“As the game progressed, Isaac found his attention focused almost exclusively on the Ravens’ goalie, Laurent St. Savoy.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This is a short story – only a little over 4000 words – that takes place between Book 3 (Power Play) and Book 4 (Empty Net) of the Scoring Chances series. It’s mainly a slice-of-life short from Isaac Drake’s point of view, though it does reference events that were mentioned in passing in Empty Net. It also explores a bit of the relationship between Isaac and Misha. It’s not really necessary to read this to understand the next book; it’s just some extra fun. The extra insight was interesting: we get some moments with Isaac and Misha, and we also get a bit of background on Isaac’s brief relationship with Xavier Matthews (who plays on the Asheville Ravens). There’s also a lot of foreshadowing for the impending romance between Isaac and Laurent St. Savoy. This isn’t really a romantic short (even with the focus on Laurent), I feel it’s more to do with the father/son type relationship between Isaac and Misha, which was very sweet. There were also some moments with some of the other hockey players, and it’s always good to see the boys interacting and having fun. Even Belsey wasn’t as much of a dick as he usually is. So this isn’t really required reading to understand the main story going forward, but it really is a fun read and the extra time spent on some of the relationships certainly doesn’t hurt. (Also it’s free to read.)

 

[available for free from Instafreebie]

 

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Why Love Matters – Jay Northcote

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“The warm scent of Martin lingered in his nostrils, reminding him that he craved so much more than non-sexual touch from the man sitting next to him.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one was a quick read, and the story and romance were really sweet. Alistair’s lonely childhood has turned him into an adult that fears/is repulsed by touch. It usually isn’t a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, but the success of a new business venture at his company relies on his ability to give and received physical contact (mostly hugs). His PA (and secret crush), Martin, offers his mother’s cuddle therapy as a solution for Alistair’s aversion. The set up is a bit forced and kinda nonsensical, but the emotions are real. Alistair and Martin are both sweet and awkward, and I wish we’d gotten to see more from Martin’s point of view. It’s not a long story, and it doesn’t really go very deep into the characters’ backgrounds or motivations (this could be, in part, because this story was originally fanfiction, where a lot of the finer details are left out because they were already covered in the source material), but it’s still a good read.

 

[available for free at Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Guardian – Sierra Riley

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“They sparked every time they touched. Alex wasn’t mistaken there. That wasn’t an illusion, it wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t wishful thinking. Hell no. It was chemistry.”

 

In a word:  Read the thing. This is a cute, sweet, low-angst, low-drama romance between a family law attorney and an ex-soldier mechanic. This is mostly pure fluff, it’s great. Alex is a lawyer and Titus is a mechanic, theirs is a chance meeting. Alex is in need of a mechanic one day and Ty happens to be the closest. Alex is instantly into Ty when he first sees him (Ty pushes all of his buttons), but since Ty seems straight, Alex isn’t overly hopeful that anything will come of it. Alex doesn’t really expect to see Ty again, but he gets a pleasant surprise when Ty shows up at his office one day, needing his services. Alex still finds Ty beyond attractive, and Ty is shocked to realize that he’s also having feeling for his – very male – attorney. They can’t act on their feelings while they’re still technically working together, but that doesn’t stop the sexual tension from ramping up every time they’re alone together. The first half of the book is mostly Alex and Ty trying to keep their hands off each other while they try to win a custody battle, while the second half is them getting together and having a fairly drama-free relationship (it’s technically a GFY, but Ty doesn’t have much of a reaction to suddenly being attracted to a guy for the first time in his life). There is very minimal drama going on, and it mostly resolves itself. Most of this story is just schmoop and pretty low-stress to read.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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The Omega Nanny – Penelope Peters

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“And yet… Thomas couldn’t look at Kieran without thinking of the way Kieran glanced at him curious and shy, and not want to talk to him. Want to hear his voice, want to get to know him.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. If Omegaverse is not at all your thing you’re better off just skipping this one because, while it’s a good read, it’s not anything special. I really did enjoy reading this. Thomas, Kieran, Connie, Jessie, and their family and friends are very easily likeable and inoffensive. The romance between Thomas and Kieran went pretty quick, but it was fairly painless and low-drama. The thing I found more interesting was the world building. This story takes place in an alternate universe from our own; with biology dictating people’s actions and relationships far more than they would in real life. I’m not new to Omegaverse, but I thought that the story conveyed the basics of it fairly well for people who would be, and in a way that flowed along with the story being told. It also managed to establish this universe’s unique quirks in natural ways. There is some social commentary and gender politics going on in the background, but they weren’t what the story was about, so things didn’t get too deep. Though there were some aspects of the characters and their situations that I wished had been fleshed out more, all in all I have no real complaints. The characters were likeable, the romance was sweet, and the ending was happy.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca]

 

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Did Somebody Order a Pizza? – L. A. Witt

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“It had been over in a matter of minutes – one conversation to end them all, as it were – but we’d had years of history before he’d decided it was over. The fact was, we were in love.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one gave me feels. Paul and Cory were high school sweethearts and planning on being together for the long haul; until Cory chose his fraternity over Paul when they were freshmen. The story starts about a year and a half after that, with Paul and Cory suddenly meeting again for the first time since they parted ways. It’s told from Paul’s first-person point of view so we really get to know just how much he was hurt by Cory’s actions and what it means to him to see him again. Paul really isn’t as over Cory as he’d like to be and now he struggles with the choice of whether to give Cory another chance or to just let him go. I felt so bad for Paul while I was reading this, especially when Cory first appears because he’s a bit of an asshole when he shows up. And that’s even before we really find out what the boys were to each other and what really happened that caused Paul and Cory to separate. I didn’t feel like things were completely resolved by the end (I never really warmed up to Cory), but it’s definitely a hopeful ending.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca, also available in a bundle]

 

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A Christmas Boyfriend – Trina Solet

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“Hey, Mr Kenney. I need to know where to get a man for Daddy for Christmas.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one is kinda like a Lifetime Christmas movie: fluffy, sappy, and heartwarming (only with sex you wouldn’t find in a Lifetime Christmas movie), though I kinda expected that. What I wasn’t expecting was how funny it was. Seriously, without Maya this story would just be run of the mill Christmas fluff. Maya makes things a lot more entertaining. The romance kinda fell into the insta-love territory, so I wasn’t really a big fan of that, though Ben and Jason’s interactions before they were officially together were pretty good. It’s really Maya’s character that’s the main draw for me, though. If you aren’t a fan of child characters, even when they aren’t being overly precious and annoying, then you probably won’t like most of A Christmas Boyfriend. It’s a feel-good romance story with very, very minimal angst and no conflict and lots of laughs. Our two leads are pretty standard, but they’re cute together and their no-obstacles relationship makes for a relaxing read. Also it’s a short book so it also makes for a quick read.

 

[available for purchase at All Romance E-Books, Amazon.ca, and Chapters]

 

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Always Been You – Jess Buffett

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Eleven years ago, Seth ran from Jared, neither of them ready for this or for each other.

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. I did like this book when I first read it months ago, but I didn’t much enjoy reading it for a second time. Not that it’s a bad book or anything, it’s entertaining and I did enjoy it for the most part, but it’s not really something I’ll be reading again. It’s got a great premise: two men who were torn apart by misunderstandings finally coming together years later and sorting themselves out. The angst and pining were amazing (if that’s the kind of stuff you like to read) and the heartbreak was real and you hurt for these two boys that you just met. So it started out strong, but kinda started falling apart once it came time for the reunion. Personally, I thought things moved way too fast on that front, considering everything, and I didn’t really get invested in their romance as adults (I was more invested in the hinted romantic interest between two side characters). On top of that, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing. There were typos, weird word choices, and clunky dialogue and narrative. It’s good for a quick read, but I found that it didn’t hold up on a second read-through.

[available for purchase at All Romance E-Books, Chapters, and Amazon.ca]

 

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