Welcome to our second week of celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we're going to look at Training Season and Training Complex, plus five little-known facts about Leta. There's also a chance to win one of her books!
First up, Training Season
Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don't come cheap, and Matty can't afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who 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. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
Matty glanced in the mirror by the front door, smoothed his hair, wiped a stray bit of eyeliner away, and threw his chest out and his chin up. Matty Marcus was rocking the glittery glory on a ranch in Montana. Never let it be said that rural locales took any shine away from this bitch. He opened the door.
The man on the front porch, with his hand raised to knock again, was blond, and he might as well have been Montana personified — tall, strong, and heart-stoppingly handsome. He was also probably not a day over thirty.
“Uh…” The man cleared his throat and flung his thumb over his shoulder toward the hill. “Hi. I’m the neighbor. Thought I’d bring some… ah…”
He didn’t seem to know where to look. His eyes slid down to Matty’s bare chest peeking out from the fur coat and gold sequined vest, and then down over Matty’s track pants to his bare feet. The man swallowed and looked away. He kept talking, though.
“I brought some firewood up from the barn. Thought you might need it…or want it. It’s supposed to get pretty cold tonight. I figured you didn’t have any close to the house yet. George doesn’t bring it up unless he needs it. So I brought some. Up. For you.”
Matty felt his practiced “now we’re talking to the media” smile settle on his face. He stuck out his hand. “Thank you. That’s very kind of you. I appreciate you thinking of me.”
The man shook firmly. “Rob Lovely,” he said. “I live over the hill and a few acres over.”
The name was definitely fitting, Matty thought.
He supposed since he was dressed up in glitter and blue eye shadow, he should be glad the guy wasn’t running away to alert any local homophobic hicks with baseball bats that the Pages had a flamer living in their house for the winter.
Matty pulled his coat around himself a little tighter when Rob released his hand. “Matty Marcus. Nice to meet you.”
“So, are you from Missoula?” Rob said, his face revealed how much he doubted that.
“What makes you think I’m not from Polebridge?” Matty asked a little coyly, bringing up a town Margaret had mentioned was located almost due north of Whitefish and had less than 30 residents.
He waited for the guy to stammer through an answer that could be summed up as Matty failing the good ol’, pussy-loving, ranch-raised country boy looks test.
“Margaret said she was bringing in a friend’s kid from the city,” Rob said, rubbing his hands together, and keeping his eyes focused out toward the pastures.
“Oh,” Matty said, amazed at how sweetly the guy had side-stepped an awkward moment. He even felt a little guilty for trying to set him up to begin with. “Well, I think by ‘the city’, she actually meant The City, as in New York. She seems to think I’ve lived there, even though I haven’t. I’d like to, though. I will one day.” His nipples ached from the cold, so he pulled the fur completely around his torso.
“I’ve never been, but I’m sure it’s exciting,” Rob said, his eyes moving to where Matty had covered up his exposed skin. “Is that a mink?”
“As a matter of fact, it is,” Matty said, running a hand down its softness.
“My ex-wife’s mother had one of a similar style, but it didn’t look nearly so…” Rob flushed. “I mean…uh, it looks better on you. Well, um, I mean…”
“Thank you,” Matty said, putting him out of his misery.
“You’re welcome.” Rob said, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his coat. “It’s been a strangely cold October. Probably not the best of weather. Have you been able to get out and explore at all?”
“I’m still settling in,” Matty said.
“Right.” There was a silence as Rob swallowed hard and rubbed a hand over his forehead like he had a sudden headache. “Well, I piled the logs over there.” He nodded toward the side of the porch. “I, uh, should let you get back to…” He smiled and used his head to indicate Matty’s state of dress and state of being. “That. Or whatever.”
“Thank you. I’d invite you in, but I’m sort of in the middle of this, so…” Matty paused and Rob flushed again, looked away and cleared his throat.
Matty retreated into the house, closing the door partway as he spoke. “Thanks again for the firewood. It was very thoughtful of you.”
“Anytime,” Rob said, backing away a few steps. “Just give me a call if you need anything. Help with the horses. Or whatever you need help with.” He looked embarrassed for a moment, but then he offered Matty a fantastic smile. His teeth were white and straight and his eyes glowed. Matty noticed that they were green and very kind.
“I might take you up on that,” Matty said, putting one bare foot on top of the other.
The movement seemed to catch Rob’s eye. He looked at Matty’s feet again before clearing his throat again. “Please do. I’m the neighborly sort and I’m happy to help.”
Rob lifted his eyes again and a small wave of attraction washed over Matty. God, he needed to get laid if he was getting turned on by stammering Montana ranchers.
Rob nodded and lifted his hand and let it drop. Then he turned and trudged back through the front yard. Matty watched him walk, noting the sure, easy swing of his step as he crossed the lawn and then mounted the foot of the hill.
When Rob was a dark smudge against the sky, Matty shut the door and leaned against it. He glanced at himself again in the mirror and imagined being Rob Lovely from Montana. What had it been like to find this fabulous creature on the other side of a neighbor’s door? It must have been like stumbling across The Man Who Fell to Montana. He laughed softly at the thought, threw off his coat, and sashayed to the kitchen for a mid-morning cup of piping hot water with bitters to trick his still-hungry stomach.
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Secondly, Training Complex
Figure skater Matty Marcus didn't capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely's heart.
After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob's second career as a physical therapist should be everything he's dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.
Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.
Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.
Matty didn’t do things in half-measures. He was ambitious, driven, and, in Rob’s opinion, hopelessly drawn to careers that were destined to break his heart. So, of course he wanted to work with the older kids and become a big-shot coach like Valentina or Chuck Forenza one day. Matty’s egotistical striving was charming, inspiring, and sexy even, but figure skating was and would always be emotional ground zero for Matty’s worst trauma, and coaching hadn’t proved to be much different so far.
The children by the boards whooped, fixing Rob’s attention to Matty’s figure flying over the ice. A hot pink tee over a black thermal shirt and black leggings screamed everything a casual viewer needed to know about Matty: transgressive, classic, amazing, and effeminate. Perfection in Rob’s eyes.
Matty landed a fantastic double-Axel-triple-toe like it was as simple as breathing. His edge work fell in perfect rhythm and his arms lifted gracefully, fingers just so. His dark hair flew around his face, and his muscular ass was perfect in the tight leggings. Though he looked too thin, he was still strong. As the song moved into the bridge, Matty slowed into a bending, rolling move of such flexible, impressive agility that Rob swallowed hard, a curl of heat in his gut burning in answer to Matty’s beauty and skill.
As Lady Gaga’s “Applause” continued to pulse through the rink, Rob leaned against the boards watching Matty kill the routine he’d choreographed for himself the prior Christmas. It’d been for a charity show he’d done for his ex-agent, Joanna. But since firing Joanna due to lack of funds to pay her, he hadn’t had any opportunities for shows anyway. Matty’d been nailed so firmly to the wall between assistant coaching for Valentina and his intense, new head-coach relationship with little Sabrina that he hadn’t had the time to look for shows on his own.
Rob knew it lacked generosity to admit, but he wasn’t sure Matty acting as Sabrina’s head coach was actually a good thing. After all, what had her sudden blossoming brought them? A barely eked out bronze at Junior Worlds, even more tension between Matty and Valentina, and shit-tons of pressure from the Federation.
The beat throbbed on, and the kids added to the intensity of the building chorus by beating their hands against the tall safety glass along with the rapid drumbeat and recorded hand claps. Matty responded to their encouragement by throwing even more passion and expression into every movement. His hair swirled around flushed cheeks and his dark eyes stood out against his pale skin. His lips shone bright pink beside the pink and black of his training clothes and the white of the ice and boards. His hips swiveled and his back arched as he danced across the ice, and then he straightened, skated backwards to catch some speed, and went up for a triple Lutz, triple toe combination. He turned out on the landing, but no one cared; even Matty seemed too in the groove to focus on his mistake. The kids shouted encouragement.
As the song came to an end, he slid on his knees across the rink, his back arched and hair dragging along the ice, picking up snow. The last beat clipped off, and he stayed there, his chest heaving with exertion and eyes on the ceiling, his face flushed from the effort. The kids banged on the glass again in appreciation, and as Matty began to straighten, they all scampered off back through the doors to their parents and the final preparations they needed to make before the start of their lesson.
Matty didn’t stand immediately, though. He kneeled in the center of the rink, his hair wet with melting ice that ran down his neck, as his eyes ran the length of the stands. Rob could see memories playing across his face: the cheers, screams, applause, and the potential of an Olympic medal not yet snatched away. His chest felt hollow for Matty as he heard the echo of long-past thunderous roars of approval. He knew Matty still ached for the sound as much as he ached for the missing gold that would have proved he was as good as he could possibly be. Better than the best. Oh, sweetheart.
Rob clapped his hands enthusiastically but didn’t give in to the temptation to whistle, knowing Matty would take it as mockery instead of appreciation. Clapping was as good as he could give right now. Later when they were home alone, he could give something else to make Matty feel how very good he had been and always was. Something to interrupt the stream of negative thoughts he knew bombarded Matty at times like this. He’d give him something hard and difficult with a reward at the end to send Matty over the moon. That was Rob’s specialty.
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I’m a fairly open book, so I don’t know if any of these count as ‘little known’ or not, but here we go:
- My writing desk is…THE BATHTUB. Yep, I write in the bathtub most of the time. I fill the tub up about 1/8th full, just enough to keep warm, and balance my laptop on my knees. No, I don’t plug in! I don’t have a death wish! :P
- I have a third nipple. It is small and looks like a mole. Most folks don’t notice it because it’s beneath the fold of my breast. No, it didn’t make milk when I nursed my daughter. (Everyone asks! LOL)
- I’m married to my high school sweetheart. My husband and I are approaching our 30 year dating anniversary on November 7th. We started dating when I was 14 and he was 16. You can do the math on our ages now. :P
- I’m obsessed with yoga. This is actually becoming a well-known fact about me. Ha! I was very sedentary until my 41st year, when suddenly I was faced with a sense of my mortality. I challenged myself to taking two yoga classes a week. Now I’m obsessed and usually go to 2 – 4 classes a week, attend workshops, and can do headstands, crow pose, and cool arm balancing poses. Not to mention it keeps me sane and focused, which is really the best thing about it.
- I had three ghosts in my house. We had a little ghost family living in our house, but the dad ghost was a mean fellow, so we had to get my Hindu pals to consult with their guru at their ashram on how to get rid of them. They came at 2am during a full moon, chanted, wearing all white, and put papaya or maybe pomegranate seeds (I can’t recall?) around our windows and doors. When the final ghost left, the whole house exhaled, and everyone gasped at once. It was wild.
More about the author:
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
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Thanks for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Leta's books and another chance to win!
Until then, happy reading!