Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review Tour: Last Defense by RJ Scott & VL Locey

Title: Last Defense
Authors: RJ Scott & VL Locey
Series: Harrisburg Railers #5
Genre: M/M Sports Romance
Release Date: May 14, 2018
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Two men afraid to feel, have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love.

Every time Max Van Hellren steps on the ice he knows it could be his last time. At thirty he’s past his hockey prime but he’s also hiding a life-threatening injury that private doctors warn could kill him. This is his last season, and there’s a chance he could lift the Stanley Cup after fourteen years in the NHL. He just needs to stay safe and healthy; difficult when he’s known for his heavy hitting and with a propensity for dropping the gloves and putting his body in the way of pucks to keep his team safe.

A one night stand with a sexy man was just what he needed, dangerous and hot, but what if it turned into more? Would he actually have to share the secrets he so desperately tries to hide?

Ben Worthington had it all. A fulfilling job running the CrossRoads Shelter, his loving aunts, and a husband that understood his devotion to animals. Then, the love of his life left him, succumbing so quickly to an unexpected sickness that Ben never had time to say goodbye. The violent loss scarred him.

Unable to move past his fears, he moves from lonely encounter to lonely encounter, slaking a desperate need that is eating away at him, but never making a connection that could lead him back into love. One night with Max makes him want more, but will giving into the temptation open the door to feelings he can’t contain?

Can these two broken men ever find a way to be together?

Max Van Hellren is in the run for the Stanley Cup and what a way to end his career. When Ben Worthington lost his husband he made a pact with himself never to open his heart again because he couldn't bare the risk of loss again.  A chance meeting between Max & Ben occurs when Ben is visiting the Railers organizing a benefit for his Crossroads No-Kill Shelter changes everything for both men.  When the shelter comes under attack and Ben's former brother-in-law wants what he feels is owed him could the two things be related and will it make Max and Ben realize what is truly important to them before its too late?

I can't lie, I usually have some problems with people like Ben.  He suffered a true loss that breaks the heart, I get that I really do and I feel for him but to shut your heart off because the loss was too great bothers me because he's still here and yes, losing Liam hurt but Ben wasn't the one who was ill.  By the time I was born, my grandfather was in a wheelchair due to his battle with MS, by 11 my mother was sick, three years later she was on disability, and by 19 I was her primary caregiver(which I still am and proud to do so).  As you can imagine I have spent way too much time in hospitals and have seen much heartache within its halls but I've always believed that as hard as it is watching your loved one suffer I'm still alive and healthy which is why I tend to have issues with people like Ben.  I'm sorry and maybe I'm not expressing myself very well, I mean no disrespect to the character, the authors, or to those who share Ben's feelings but I just can't let go of the idea that my grandfather(and mom when the time comes) would not want me to concentrate on my loss and shut my heart off when I'm still here.

Now I know this is fiction but the reason I included the above paragraph as part of my review is not because I hate or dislike Ben, quite the contrary, I enjoy Ben's determination to survive and keep the shelter he started with his deceased husband going.  As with the whole "hockey thing"(see blogger note at the end of my review), being able to feel for Ben despite my issues speaks loudly to the talent and heart of the authors.  Ben may feel his resolution to close himself off to the risk of loss is unwavering and lifelong but seeing him let Max in, seeing him care for his rebellious aunts, and his devotion to his animals only goes to prove just how big his heart truly is.  It also goes to show that he continues to learn and grow, which not all people are open to.  Max never expected to find someone like Ben but watching him open his heart to him is a beautiful journey.  Both men are absolutely adorable, whether its as a one-night stand, friends with benefits, or something more they have this connection that only makes each one stronger.

I won't say much in regard of Ben's aunts other than the fact that they cracked me up.  They may not be in many scenes but when they are in the room they own it.  When they say they are going to "stick it to the man" with their latest rebellious protest, not only did I believe them but I also found myself laughing so hard that I got more than one odd look from the neighborhood kids playing in the street.  As for Bucky the malamute, well what can one say other than his adorability is off the charts.

Put all these elements together, throw in a dash of Ten/Jared, a pinch of Layton/Adler, a smidgen of Trent/Dieter, a heaping dollop of Stan/Erik, and a sprinkling of the other Railers players and Scott & Locey have baked us a delectable dessert you just can't get enough of.  Luckily for us Railer fans the next installment, Goal Line is scheduled for release later this summer.

As good as Last Defense is as a whole, what I really loved was how the authors took certain dramatic plot points(which I won't spoil) play out without concentrating on them.  These moments showed me the authors were letting us know that angst happens in life but more times than not, the good far outweighs and overshadows the bad. Talk about storytelling talent and there is a difference between writers and storytellers.  Writers bring us wonderful stories but storytellers take us on an amazing journey.  Last Defense lives up to the excellence of the previous Harriburg Railers entries and does not disappoint.

Blogger Note: 
As with all the installments in this series I feel the need to mention that I am NOT a hockey fan. I don't dislike it but if all the hockey arenas in the world were to disappear tomorrow, I would not miss the sport.  But also as with the other Harrisburg Railers entries, I think my non-love of the sport and my love of the series says more to the authors' talents than anything I can come up with.  They manage to write the story with just enough hockey lingo with the ins-and-outs of the game for the reader not to be lost and yet doesn't make the non-fan feel talked down to all while bringing us a lovely entertaining romance.


“Nice dog.” I paused just this side of the players’ entrance at the deep voice coming from behind me. There was something about that man’s voice…the timbre of the bass or the way he spoke. Not sure what it was, but the last time he’d spoken to me my body had had the same kind of reaction. A spear of latent heat low in my belly followed by a shiv of icy dread.

“Thanks.” I wanted to stare at the door. Or run. I couldn’t do either of those, though, so I turned to face the bearded man. Christ, but he was fierce-looking. Like a Viking, with piercing eyes and an aura that screamed berserker. He was bigger than me. Taller by at least four inches and probably sixty pounds. He was wearing a suit, as Stan and Erik had been, but his looked incredibly fine on his burly frame. Dark blue with a silver tie and a white shirt. His biceps strained the material trying to contain them.

“His name is Bucky.” There now, I had spoken to the man who made my heart leap around inside my chest like a frog on a highway.

“Like Captain America’s sidekick?” He looked down at my worn T-shirt with Cap’s shield on it.

“Exactly like that.”

He took another step, which put him into my little personal space bubble, his gaze and mine locked. I wet my lips and jerked my chin up a bit. I wasn’t going to let some hockey player intimidate me.

“Cute dog. Hot owner.” He gave me a long, slow look, petted Bucky, and stepped around the dull-witted man trying to digest the fact Mr. Fear had said he was hot. “Are you coming in, or are you teaching your dog to open doors mentally?”

“I’m here to see Layton Foxx.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m here to participate in morning skate.”

“I know who you are. Max van Hellren. You played for Washington four years ago.”

He tugged the door open and settled a kind of bored look on me. “Yeah, that was me. You like Washington?”

“Hometown team.” Bucky barked to back me up. Max smiled. All the ferocity that oozed out of him dissipated when he smiled. The man was seriously fine.

“Maybe I can change your mind about which team to cheer for, Mr. Washington Fan.”

“Ben. My name is Ben.”

He nodded just once, his hand still keeping the door open. “Ben. I like that. Suits you. So, are we coming in or are we going to flirt here in front of Pete?”

A security guard peeked around the door and winked at me. I wanted to die. Right there.

“I don’t flirt,” I snapped. I stalked around Max and Pete and went off to find Layton Foxx. Determination hot in my breast kept me from looking back to see if Max was checking out my ass. I hoped he was and I prayed he wasn’t.

RJ Scott
RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

VL Locey
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, two dogs, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

RJ Scott

VL Locey

Last Defense #5


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Cover Reveal: Forever in Ink by Jude Ouvrard

Title: Forever in Ink
Author: Jude Ouvrard
Series: Ink #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: June 20, 2018
Editor: RE Hargrave
Kyle Layne has it all figured out. The perfect life, including a future with his dream woman, is in his grasp. Each day filling with more happiness than the one before, he couldn’t ask for a better existence.

But fate has other plans.

Like lightning from the heavens, Kyle’s dream turns into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. Lost, and filled with pain and anger, his once perfect life now resembles a broken mirror—shattered.

With the help of his best friend Levi, he finds a ray of hope in the depths of darkness. Kyle’s fragile shell is transformed into a work of art, freeing his mind and soul for a chance at a new future while memorializing his sacred past forever in ink. Kyle’s dream has died, but life starts making sense again after his tattooing career takes off and strong friendships help rebuild his sanity… until a one-night stand flips his world upside down, that is.

Can Kyle risk his battered heart in Destiny’s untrustworthy hands? After so much loss, does he dare to dream again?

Pulling me back a few steps, she tugged me closer to her, so our fronts were touching. “I don’t want you to worry, K. A perfect life doesn’t mean diamonds and designer clothes. It means having a roof over our head, being surrounded by love, and having our health. Things we already have.”

We had such a different vision of what we both wanted. Cassidy did deserve diamonds, plenty of them. One every Christmas, one every Valentine’s Day. She was right, though; we already had everything to have a good life, and I should consider myself lucky. What with all the broken families around town, the poor and hungry, even the unhappy, rich businessmen living in their offices.

I had everything, I didn’t need more.

What Others Are Saying:
As an editor, sometimes working through a manuscript becomes technical, and you don't necessarily get "sucked in." With Forever in Ink, I found myself having to stop reading to go back and edit. And, yes, I cursed Ms. Ouvrard a couple of times for making my heart race... in both good and bad ways. Kyle's story is as heartbreaking as it is uplifting. Everyone deserves a second chance. #EditorApproved ~ RE Hargrave

Author Bio:
"Drama, true love, tattoos...and everything in between!"

Jude Ouvrard is an author who writes from the heart, and reads with passion and devotion. Jude enjoys stories of drama, true love, tattoos, and everything in between. While writing is her therapy, reading is her solace. Life doesn't get better than books and chocolate, and maybe a little bit of shopping.

A romance lover, Jude writes about love, pain, heartbreak and matters that will challenge your heart. A book can tell an unexpected story, no matter which directions it takes. Jude embraces words that have haunted her for years.

Jude is a working mom who dedicates her time to a law firm and writing books. She has an energetic five-year old superhero son, and a supportive boyfriend of thirteen years. Her family is her rock; she could not survive without them. Born a country girl, she transformed into a city woman who now lives in Montreal, Canada. Although French is her first language, Jude decided to write in English because she liked the challenge.


Forever in Ink #4
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