Title ~ Training Season
Author ~ Leta Blake
Genre ~ M/M Erotic Romance, BDSM
Published ~ 3rd December 2013
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?
If I had to choose a word that described Training Season, I think it would have to be SURPRISING . I know I could have gone with Awesome! or Amazing! or Fantastic because they're stock words that tend to come out when you want to really enthuse, but as much as I felt all those when I was reading it, I also kept thinking " WOW, I wasn't expecting that! "
It was almost like reading two different books, (its actually split into four parts and an epilogue) when I first started I thought it was just going to be a fun, lightweight, opposites attract romance between a sparkly, flamboyant, outré gorgeous little twinky skater and the drop dead gorgeous, hunky, macho Montana Rancher. He would shake up our little twinks life and put him in numerous comedy 'out of his comfort zone' situations until true love would negate all the differences between them, and skater twink and rancher would settle down on said ranch and end up living happily ever after. Well there was a teensy bit of that scenario going on but then ...SURPRISE!!!!!! Suddenly it kicks into gear and how wrong was I? Expectation flew out of the window and I was reading a different type of book completely!
There is SO much more to this story than funny opposites attract. More depth, more conflict and tons of emotion, that was so close to the surface it was palpable. As characters, Matty and Rob also kept on surprising me. Yes Matty ( who I adored) is all about the lip gloss, swish and Sashaaay but his drive and strength of will to push himself to the extreme limit for his skating and the internal turmoil he carries, but buries because of fear of failure, is at times painful and heartbreaking . Watching him struggle to choose between his love for Rob and his other boyfriend 'Figure Skating' wasn't always an easy read and the last quarter of the book had me biting my nails. How the hell was Leta Blake going to give these guys a HEA because I just couldn't see it happening. I admit to some tissue useage!
Then there's oh so loveable and fabulously named Rob Lovely. Another character with layers that you don't see coming. Starts with a bit of an "Aw Shucks" personality that would suit the lighter weight side of the story, but as you get to know him and learn about his past, meet Ben his son, and watch as he breaks down Mattys barriers with his easy acceptance of Mattys flamboyancy, you begin to realise that once again ...SURPRISE!!!! This is not the man you expected from his first introduction in the story. When the two of them take their relationship to the next level and we learn that Rob is a Dom and they start to explore that side of their natures.... there goes the S word again! My god those scenes were unbelievably hot and sizzly but at the same time the feelings and sensations were so raw and real they practically jumped off the page. This isn't just an odd spanking here and there, its pretty full on intense play which doesn't pull any punches but I have to say that if you haven't dabbled in BDSM before, somehow I don't think you'll find it a hardship to read - just don't expect it to be light and fluffy. There are a couple of scenes that might have you gasping a bit but push through those because its so worthwhile.
And that was it throughout the whole journey, the story taking sharp twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat, meeting secondary characters who added the needed touches of witty banter and sometimes laugh out loud humour, which luckily are well balanced against the angst, and who also act as emotional support to Rob and Matty's roller coaster ride relationship and thankfully that realistic but still hard won HEA that makes it so worth going through the heartache for!
Now I know why, this is getting all the attention it deserves and like everyone else all I can say is, read this and be surprised.... In a good way of course. Now I'll say it. Awesome!!!
After I finished I went on you tube and watched some of the lovely Johnny Weirs performances ... He is just adorable and I can understand now why Ms Blake used him as inspiration for Matty. Watching him skate just added the finishing touch to the book and made it feel real. He'll be in my head when I read this again.