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 RussellSummary:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Defense #5
May 18 - Katie's Book Corner, We Three Queens, The Geekery Book Review, Gay Media Reviews, Bookaholic & Kindle
May 21 - MM Midnight Cafe, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, My Fiction Nook, My Book Filled Life
May 23 - OMG Reads, Jim's Reading Room, MM Good Book Reviews, RAM PA Group
May 25 - Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, Making It Happen
May 28 - Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews, Wicked Reads
May 30 - Book Lovers 4Ever, Padme's Library
June 1 - Book Review By Virginia Lee, Mirrigold, Bayou Book Junkie