December 11, 2016 by Valerie Ullmer
Favorite Reads – December 11th, 2016
Favorite Reads – Elaine Ashford
I’ve been reading different sub-genres of romance over the past year and while they aren’t typical hero/heroine romance, they do have the same feel of exclusivity and love that other romances contain. It started with a Charlotte Stein and her book Doubled. The book is about twin brothers who fall for their female best friend and decide to take a chance at a relationship together. I started to look for books in the same genre, and while there are just a few that appealed to me, I decided to write one along the same lines. (More on this later!)
Because of the atypical relationships that I started to enjoy in the books I’d read, I expanded my reading into the male/male relationship genre. It seemed the next logical step. While some of the books don’t have the connection between the couples that you find in a typical male/female driven book, I found an author who centered on the relationship and the characters, and I have enjoyed her stories.
Elaine Ashford is a relative new find for me. I read her first book last week and I’ve been devouring each book since then. I think that I have five or six left to read, but I will get to them soon. What drew my attention to her books is the relationship between her two main characters, one of whom is usually discovering himself and learning that he’s attracted to another male. The relationship in her books develop organically, and when they fall in love, you love the HEA.
Can two friends find a way to be something more?
Hockey captain Parker Gagner is straight. Isn’t he? He’s always thought so, but there’s something so compelling about Eli Martin’s pleading eyes that it makes him step into an argument between Eli and Eli’s asshole ex-boyfriend without thinking. Pretending to be Eli’s new man is only supposed to be a protective gesture, until spending time together becomes more important than pissing off Eli’s ex.
Eli isn’t sure what to do about his growing attraction to Parker. They’re doing a lot of fake dating, and he can’t help wanting more. Making a move is out of the question, though, unless he wants to risk destroying their friendship.
An unexpected late-night encounter leaves both men conflicted and avoiding each other. Can they find a way to talk about their feelings before it’s too late, or have they ruined their chance to really be together?
My Rating and Review
Eli and Parker are perfect for each other. While Parker keeps his feelings for Eli hidden, he has to step in with Eli’s ex decides to get handsy, and their relationship develops from there. I love this book from beginning to end, and while it’s another straight man falling in love with another man, Parker’s genuine feelings for Eli from the beginning and you feel that as your get to know both of them. It’s a sweet and sexy book that I loved!!
They want the same thing…and it could tear the team apart
A competitive pair…
Connor’s played left side defense since he was a kid, and he’s determined to get that top left side spot on the college hockey team this year. But Coach picks Luke, who’s been a pain in the ass since their first year, and, on top of that, he pairs the two of them up!
Success on the ice…
Luke’s not a big fan of Connor’s either, but when the two of them tumble into bed, he has to admit it’s not half-bad. Add that to the team’s winning streak, and things are turning out better than expected.
But the cracks are starting to show…
When a rival team tries to poach Connor away, Luke realizes he has more feelings than he was letting on. Is it too late for their love to come into bloom? Or can Luke convince Connor that there’s more to the two of them than a spot on the ice.
My Rating and Review
Connor and Luke are both sophomores who are trying out for the same position, and when Luke gets it and both of them have to be partnered as defensemen, Connor decides that he’s going to make Luke’s life more difficult. One night during an away game, Connor is excited about the win and he starts wrestling with Luke, which leads to more. When they realize that they don’t hate each other anymore, Connor is thinking about leaving schools, and their true feelings come out. Another great couple and story!!
If it looks this good, can it be real?
A prize on the line…
Photography student Piotr needs a model to help him win five grand, and straight-boy Josh seems like the perfect choice. As emotions rise in the studio, these two grope their way to a more personal relationship…and get closer to that prize photo.
Tension in the dressing room…
Josh’s rowing crew isn’t too impressed by this modelling gig…or how gay Piotr seems. Josh can’t tell them what’s really going on, but if his photo’s hanging in public, how can he hide it?
Can this culture clash find its way over troubled waters?
The prize is too near for Piotr to leave the chase, but Josh’s secrets are tearing him up inside. Can they find their balance, or was that image of their love just a mirage?
My Rating and Review
Piotr needs a model for a photography class and he hires Josh, a rowing athlete. When Josh has a reaction to Piotr, he questions what he’s always known about himself. That he was straight. The more he works with Piotr, the more he can’t control his reaction for him, until Josh kisses Piotr, which leads to more. I love the connection between Josh and Piotr and it’s a wonderful story!!