Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Across the Pond by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey Blog Tour

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.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Smashwords

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the story of the relationship that develops between Sebastian, the Raptors’ new business consultant, and Alex, a closeted hockey player. The chemistry between these two is instant but their complicated lives make an actual relationship feel impossible.

When we first meet Alex, he is trapped between worlds. He’s a Latino hockey player in a very white sport. He’s a gay man in a conservative Catholic family. Alex doesn’t quite fit anywhere and he’s exhausted by all the pretending. I think Alex’s personal journey is the best part of this story. When we first meet Seb, he’s confident and comfortable in his skin. We don’t see the same growth in Seb as we do in Alex. Seb is a solid, supportive presence in the story, but this is mostly the story of Alex growing into himself.

I really enjoyed the characters and I like the focus on Alex’s experiences with his Mexican American family but I felt like the pacing was a bit wonky in this book. I feel like some of Alex’s decisions were completely unexpected and didn’t quite fit his character. We get snapshots of moments in his life but not always the ones which would have made readers understand him fully. The end comes too soon and too easily – the tidy happily ever after tacked on at the end doesn’t sit well with the complicated romance that comes before it.

So far the Raptors books haven’t captured my imagination or my heart quite the same way the Railers books did. I like the slow team rebuilding happening in the background of these books but I feel like the books are missing a bit of the magic that made the previous two series really special.

This is the second book in the series, but closely linked to the other two joint hockey series by this talented duo of authors. I would recommend them all to you and would certainly suggest that you read the first Raptors book, so that you understand the environment and team that you are reading about here.

Alex is an NHL anomaly as a tall, talented Latino hockey player. As we discover, he is subject to considerable racial abuse from fans and opponents whilst in player mode, but even in his daily life he deals with unwarranted racial slurs. He has learned to behave calmly and allows it to pass over him as best he can. It is a reminder of how the world remains an unequal place for many. The fact that he is fairly certain he is attracted to men not women is something that he can never imagine revealing to anyone, so his whole life is based on a falsehood. I found the passages where he thinks about his different selves engaging as he travels from one environment to another hugely compelling. The good news is that he does get some peace in his life, but he definitely has to fight for it, even against himself!

Seb comes to the Raptor team as a favour to part owner Jason, to see if he can turn it around. He plans on hanging around for a few months to try and revitalise the business and give the team a chance to continue playing into the future. Whilst reviewing the details of the squad, he is blown away by his attraction to Alex and, irrespective of boundaries, cannot help but hope to get to know him better. And so starts a journey for both men that is led by the confident, out and proud Seb and the very uncertain Alex. It is full of all the very best elements of a team: the caring for each other, the cheekiness, the loyalty, and the desire to win.

I thought this was a lovely romance surrounded by some serious issues, and doing both of them justice. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next; clearly Henry is due some good fortune soon.

Sebastian travels from England to Arizona to help get the Raptors’ image back on track. But Sebastian has his eyes on Alex before he even arrives in America. It isn’t long before Alex notices the hot Englishman around the rink. The problem is Alex is very firmly in the closest.

A lot of this story revolves around Alex and coming to terms with his sexuality and trying to decide if he should come out. He is terrified of the reaction from his traditional Catholic Mexican/American family if they find out he is gay. I really felt Alex’s stress and terror about people learning about his sexuality. I loved the way that Sebastian support Alex all the way and never pushed him to do more than he was ready or be anything but who he is. There is really good chemistry between the couple, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the romance between the two of them and experience more of them falling in love. I guess I just wanted more.

I really liked the way the story ended, and I felt like Alex had really grown up and I was left with warm, happy feelings. This gets a solid three stars from me.

Also Available in the Arizona Raptors Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Coast to Coast Blog Tour.

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.

Connect with RJ

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
RJ Scott’s Facebook Group

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 Doctor 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.

Connect with V.L.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Vicki’s Vixens Facebook Group

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Across the Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey to read and review for this tour.

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