Monday, November 18, 2019

Review Tour: Across The Pond (Raptors #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey

Length: 57,600 words approx.
Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Arizona Raptors Series
Book #1 - Coast to Coast - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.

Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.

Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn't appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.

Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.

As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents - not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted - it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

Karen's review:

When “Coast to Coast” ended we were left with a hockey team that seemed to be on the brink of destruction…there was a new coach that no one seemed to know what to do with…lucky for them he knew what he was doing because as the story moved along some things got better but other things…well not so much and now here we are back in Arizona and the Raptors are still picking up the pieces and as part of that effort Jason Westman-Reid has called on Sebastian Brown a close friend from his uni days. Seb’s a fixer; he takes companies that are hot messes and turns them around making them profitable and if anybody needs fixing…it’s the Raptors.

Seb’s giving his friend’s team 3 months and he’s going to get them sorted out during that time or at least he will if he can keep his focus on the team and not just one player in particular…Alejandro (Alex) Garcia…beautiful, dedicated, mouth-wateringly gorgeous Alex…Seb is so screwed and Alex isn’t doing any better where Seb’s concerned.
But Alex comes with his own challenges…you see Alex is not only in the closet, he’s nailed the door shut. Growing up the son of Mexican immigrants and raised in a Catholic household the one thing that Alex knows for sure is ‘being gay, out and proud’ is a guaranteed way to lose your family.
Along with playing hockey, Alex has put a considerable amount of his free time and energy into showing the world that he’s just another straight dude, but as he and Seb become closer he begins to resent the charade that he’s been leading and dreams of being able to be himself even with his family start to eat away at him until he’s no longer comfortable with the pretense of being something that he’s not until he’s ultimately faced with a choice.
I really liked Seb’s character right from the start. He’s mature (there’s a 10-year age gap between him and Alex), Seb’s kind and confident and most importantly has a wealth of patience…not just money although he seems to have a fair bit of that too. In spite of the fact that Seb and Alex have very different backgrounds there’s much about what Alex is facing that Seb understands and has dealt with in his own way. 
Alex for me was a little more of a challenge to warm up to. There were times that he seemed to be blowing hot and cold in rapid succession, but all things considered it made sense. This is a young man all of 22 years old and while in many ways he’s very mature for his age, he’s also dealing with a lot of pressures both externally and internally. He’s one of a handful of Latino hockey players in the NHL and this my friends is very much based on fact. I spent a few minutes on google and as near as I could ascertain there are maybe 6 players who are Latino in the NHL out of a total of 713 players (31 teams each allowed 23 players on their active roster) if I was a Latino playing in the NHL I’d find that to be more than a little bit intimidating add in his family and team dynamics and running hot and cold would be the least of my issues…hell, I’d just be running. So at the end of the day when I sat back and tried to imagine the pressures of being Alex…well all I can say is he’s one brave young man and he really deserves to have a Seb in his life. 
And that was when I fell a little bit in love with this story when I sat back and looked at it objectively or at least as objectively as any of us can. Sure there were some quirks and quarks that maybe would have worked better if they were a little different…but at the end of the day maybe not. I don’t know. I do know that as it stands this story was sweet and these two characters worked. Initially the attraction felt very ‘lust at first sight’ but truthfully, I’m ok with that. I’ve even ok with the fact that the connection between Seb and Alex came from the little things…the kisses, the touches, the quiet talks, the small gestures that showed their support of each other and the big gestures.
I also really liked getting to see Henry and I’m so freakin’ happy that he’s getting his own story and we’ll get to hopefully share in some happiness for him because damn, if he doesn’t deserve some happy I’m not sure who does…now with any luck after Henry we’ll get Colorado’s story because ain’t no one going to convince me there’s not one hella’ good story waiting to be told about that boy.

An ARC of  “Across the Pond” was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

About the authors:
USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing 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.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two 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 one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.


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