Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Highballer by Ava Hayden

What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?

Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.

Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.

Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.

They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

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Buy Links

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Every so often I get crazy homesick for Canada and this story about tree planters in Alberta brought me right back home again. Tree planting is almost an urban legend among Canadian students – for those tough enough to hack the grueling conditions, it promises the kind of money most students can only dream of. In this book, Levi and Remy are assigned to the same team. They both need money for tuition and they both have solid backwoods skills.

Remy is brilliant. I love that his alternative lifestyle parents would have been completely fine with his sexuality – but he is disowned for studying traditional medicine. Life beyond the cult-like community he grew up in is still pretty new for Remy, but he is fiercely proud and determined to finish school on his own terms. He may seem physically slight and effeminate when compared to the other tree planters, but his mental fortitude is pretty special.

Levi is physically strong but he’s a bit of an emotional mess. Dumped for being too gay, he is attempting a hyper masculinity that doesn’t really work for him. He is embarrassed by his attraction to Remy and not terribly honest with himself. I have to admit that I really hated him at times – especially when he wouldn’t stand up for Remy and when his own self-doubt hurt Remy.

I’m still not sure how I feel about these two as a couple. Levi does a whole lot of growing up over the summer and he is much more likeable by the end – but I still worried for Remy’s heart. The connection between these two is hot (especially the tent sex).

I loved the descriptions of the camp and Levi and Remy’s team. The author captures Canadian student culture perfectly – the author’s observations constantly made me smile as I recognised so many familiar characters. The mix of quinoa and granola eating liberal students and the redneck career loggers on the mountain also made me smile. The weather, the camp conditions, and the layers of ugly but functional clothing made me nostalgic for my own student days.

My reaction to this story is pretty personal but I hope readers with no connection to the Canadian Rockies will love it just as much as I did.

AVA HAYDEN lives and writes in Canada but grew up in the southern United States.

When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and LGBTQ+ romance, taking afternoon tea, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face-to-face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting (and doesn’t require her to carry bear spray), and she’s okay with that.

She is thrilled to be publishing with Dreamspinner Press.

Connect with Ava

Facebook  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden to read and review.


  1. I've done a lot of hard labor in my yard and my parents' yard, but that was unpaid. For pay, babysitting two rambunctious girls after school was the most physically demanding.

  2. I used to work in a store and there was one time when the lift on the lorry didn't work so we had to physically lift the boxes off the lorry it was funny becuase I'm quite small and can't carry a lot so I was forever sinking to the ground under the weight of the boxes.

  3. Fortunately for me, I haven't done anything physical/labor for work.

  4. My hardest job was the summer I worked in a creamery. It's the only job where I had multiple job related injuries.

  5. I've been disabled since I was 16, so I've never been able to work.

  6. I worked for a company that made airplane controls and hydroelectric control panels in the summer as a teen. The first two years I wored outside in their beautiful grounds. Cutting grass by push mowers, setting in sod, planting 6 foot trees, digging up broken irrigation lines and fixing them, etc. Lots of physical work.

  7. The only "work" I've ever done is helping my friend's parent with their shop. I would like to find a job though, but first I need to arrange my classes schedule.

  8. I worked in a bookstore and moved heavy boxes of books.

  9. Yardwork. I've been fortunate enough that most of my jobs have been office work.


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