Monday, July 30, 2018

Blog Tour: Playing Life by VM Sanford

Title: Playing Life
Author: VM Sanford
Series: Graves Brothers #2
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 22, 2018
Cover Design: AngstyG
Sometimes you have to let go of your fears and start playing life.

When Ryan decided to spend his summer vacation in the tiny town of Augusta rather than in Sacramento, he expected to work on the house he inherited from his grandmother, go to the gym and train, and not much else.

He should have known better.

His grandmother’s house is a mess, and there’s no way Ryan can get it back to its past splendor on his own. He calls the Graves Brothers, a renovation company in town, and hires them to do the work.

When Kenny is offered the job on the house he’s been wanting to put his hands on since he was a kid, he jumps on the occasion. He doesn’t even care that Ryan, the new owner, is a player for the Sacramento Pelicans, his favorite hockey team.

Kenny offers Ryan his guest room until the house is ready, and they become friends, then more. But Ryan is in the closet and he’s not ready to come out and risk his career, while Kenny is still hurt over breaking up with his closeted ex-boyfriend.

Can they make things between them work even with all the obstacles and their own personal hang-ups? Or will their relationship be nothing more than a summer fling?

When Ryan decides to spend his summer downtime restoring the home he inherited from his grandmother, he had no idea just how far the condition of the house had fallen.  Kenny always loved the old house he passed nearly every day and it saddened him to see it go untouched so when he gets the call inquiring about redoing the house, he & his brothers jump at the chance.  Ryan had no idea that by hiring the Graves Brothers it wasn't only the house that receives attention but will it be the kind of attention he's looking for?  Will the house that Kenny admired most of his life bring him more than occupational satisfaction?

Playing Life is a wonderful second entry in the Graves Brothers series.  I have to be honest, I don't think Ryan and Kenny's story quite touched me as much as Jason and Spencer's did but that doesn't mean I wasn't entertained.  I was.  Kenny's determination to be supportive and protective of both Jason and Spencer in Eyes Wide Open is wonderfully followed up by Jason's support in Playing Life.  I don't know that we see as much of the brotherly interaction in this entry as we did in the first but when the Graves boys do appear, they certainly bring forth the irritating yet loving camaraderie that can only exist between siblings.

As for Ryan, well you can't help but love him and want to knock him upside the head at the same time.  I can't begin to imagine what Ryan's life is like as a closeted hockey player but I want him to find happiness and sometimes that means giving him a good knuckle-rap to the skull😉.  Knowing he has few friends and no real family to support him, yes his mother is there but she offers no support so I found myself not counting her(and that's all I'll say on the subject of her), when Logan shows up I cheered even knowing it would probably lead to an obstacle or two for the boys.

Playing Life is only the second book of VM Sanford that I have read, Eyes Wide Open having been the first, and unfortunately time continues to allude me so I haven't been able to check out his backlist yet but when the calendar allows it I look forward to doing so.  I also can't wait to see what other kind of trouble the remaining single Graves Brothers will find in their individual journeys to find love.  I should add that I highly recommend reading this series in order.  Yes, each entry is a different duo and Playing is Kenny and Ryan's story but there are mentions to Jason and Spencer's path that may not really impact the boys but I find it flows better having read Eyes first.  Definitely a winner.


Kenny knew how lucky he’d been, how lucky he was to have the family he had. Neither of his parents cared one bit that he and his brothers weren’t straight and that they might end up having only sons-in-law. So yes, Kenny was lucky, and he was going to make sure he never fell in love with a closeted man again. It just wasn’t worth it.

“Is this okay?”

Kenny turned toward Ryan. “What?”

Ryan gestured at himself. “My clothes.”

He was wearing shorts, canvas shoes, and a short-sleeved button-up shirt he’d left open at the throat. His hair was still damp, and his cheeks were flushed as if he’d gotten too much sun. He was tanned, and he looked happy and relaxed, so much more than it been when it first arrived in Augusta. He was exactly Kenny’s type—tall, muscled, and he loved hockey.

Well, fuck. How was Kenny supposed to keep his promise not to fall for closeted or straight guys when Ryan looked like this?

“You look perfect,” he said. He sounded breathless even to his own ears. He cleared his throat. “Besides, it’s just barbecue with the family. You could wear your pajamas and no one would care.”

Ryan laughed. “I think I’ll pass on the pajamas. Do you need help with anything?”

“Nope. Grab a beer and sit down. Relax. This place will be a zoo soon enough.”

Family barbecues always were. It wasn’t only Kenny’s parents and his brothers. Spencer always came, of course, as well as Orlando’s best friend Kathy. Kenny also invited his friends and their family, including their dogs. It made for a lot of noise, but also a lot of fun and laughter.

Kenny’s parents arrived first. They brought more food, and Kenny laughed when his mother latched onto Ryan. Ryan’s panicked gaze made Kenny want to save him, but he knew his mom wouldn’t say anything to hurt Ryan and that she wouldn’t be dissuaded from mothering him. She’d asked about Ryan’s family that first night at dinner, and while Ryan hadn’t gone into details, it was obvious he and his mother weren’t close. Kenny’s mom and apparently taking it on to himself to make sure Ryan felt it was part of the family—their family.

Kenny didn’t mind. He liked Ryan, and welcoming Kenny’s family and his friends with him today almost felt like there were together. It was something he’d longed to do with Anthony, and it made his chest ached.

He and Ryan were friends. Nothing more. He might think Ryan was cute and smart, passionate and focused, but nothing would come out of it, and the sooner he realized that, the better it would be for everyone. Especially for him.

“Everything okay?” Kenny’s father asked. He peeked into the barbecue, checking like usual that Kenny had lit it the right way. Kenny knew he had, but this was a ritual they went through every time.


Author Bio:
V.M Sanford has been writing about the paranormal since he was a child but decided to give publishing a try only in his thirties.

He found out he likes writing about more than wolf shifters and already has several plot bunnies lined up, waiting for him to write their books.

He’s lived all over Europe and enjoys cats, ice hockey and reading biographies of kings and queens. He’s still confused about what and who he is even though he’s in his mid-thirties, but he finally decided to come out as a transgender man, at least to his readers.


Playing Life #2

Eyes Wide Open #1

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