Title : Training Season
Author : Leta Blake
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 343 pages (e-book)
Published : December 6, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
Figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream. Despite his unquestionable talent, Matty’s lack of discipline cost him Olympic gold once before. Now the pressure’s on to do whatever it takes to make the team again. Still recovering from an injury that nearly ended his career, he needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap. Without the backing of his federation, Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a wealthy fan’s whim brings him to rural Montana for a lucrative house-sitting gig over the winter, Matty does his best to maintain an elite-level training regimen. Despite fears that his flamboyant style might not be well-received in these rugged surroundings, the residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant and welcoming. Even more surprising, Rob Lovely, the handsome young rancher next door, proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. Taking his new-found courage back into the rink, Matty drives himself harder to find the inner fire he needs to go for gold.
But a powerful new love and the best sex Matty has ever had aren’t going to win him a medal. Competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, he’ll have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob and his life in Montana behind. As he faces the ultimate test of his spirit, has Matty truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
I absolutely adored this book! Definitely one of my favourite “feel good” books. Ever!! It was perfect. Just perfect ♥ Normally I don’t particularly like swishy MC’s but Matty swished his way right into my heart! He and Rob were just delicious together.
Matty is an Olympic figure skater who is at a crossroads in his career. He bombed at the last Olympics and is now licking his wounds literally – he is at home recovering from an injury and planning his next move… how to get a top coach to take him on so that he can compete at the highest level once more. This needs money. All this time off takes a massive financial toll on him and his family, who he has been helping out for years, so when a friend of his Mum’s needs someone to look after her farm when she is on a 6 month vacation he simply can’t refuse. They all need the money and maybe he needs the solitude so that he can fully galvanise his determination to get back to peak form, both mentally and physically. The farm in rural Montana is really isolated but he has been told to call on his neighbour, Rob, if he ever needs help. After meeting Rob Lovely I would have been calling for help every damn day 😀
Now… I hope this isn’t spoilery, but…. this is not a GFY story – Rob is totally open about his sexuality – and he wants Matty from the minute he sees him (and what a sight he was!!) Matty, however, is totally oblivious to any signals and the subsequent flirting and supposed mixed messages was just wonderful! Sexual tension to the max! Rob really was to die for! So cool and confident. A wonderful father with a great ex-wife, and a good circle of friends that all fully embrace who he is. In fact they want more for Rob than he wants for himself. He is running his farm despite it not really being his dream life, but, you know, a guy has to do what a guy has to do – so for now Rob has settled. He seems content with his lot in life…. then Matty appears, with all his energy and sparkle and Rob finds maybe he does want more!
When the two guys finally get with the program they are just delicious! Have I already said that? I do believe I have. 😀 But they really are perfect together. Their love, their relationship, their chemistry… GAH!! Wonderful!! But…. they both go into it knowing it is not long-term. Matty is not there forever, and Rob is not leaving the farm. Do long distance relationships work? And would you, could you really ask a person to put their life on hold while the other chases their dream? Yes. I cried. And cried. It got pretty angsty (which I loved!!) Is there ultimately a HEA? Read the book to find out 😛
Beyond the MC’s are some wonderful side characters – both guys are blessed with great families and friends. Rob’s son, Ben, is a delight, and I would love to read a book with Matty’s friend Elliot as the lead, I reckon it would be heaps of fun! Even the dickish teen who is so desperate to hook up with someone. Or more of Bill and Angus – who I loved!! Sooooo many great characters! The descriptive writing is so beautiful too – I hate when authors are so heavy handed and verbose that I zone out – Lena Blake got the balance just right. I was on that frozen pond dammit!! 😉 I also loved the backdrop of figure skating as a sport – it was a nice change from the usual football/tennis/basketball themes.
As I said, Matty swished his way into my heart – I really connected with his constant self-doubt and sabotaging of his dreams. It is easier to ruin your own chances than to face the possibility of having them taken away by others. Sad but true. I loved how Rob saw this in Matty and set about breaking him down so he could build him up. There is an itty bitty bit of kink – definitely not a BDSM book – but the D/s kink really worked well for Matty (and me), even though at times I did kinda raise an eyebrow at some of it… like the enema. But overall I loved it. And I certainly loved the book. Big time! Highly recommended. Go. Buy the book!
Rated 5 stars by Barb