X-Factor by Sean Michael


Title: X-Factor
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: Novel (166 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Lily

BLURB

Game designer Henry Delloit loves his life, his mountain community, his isolated dream home and the snow. He also loves that the X-treme Games blow into the area for a month every year, bringing with them hundreds of athletes.

Ecco Rasmussen loves boarding; he needs it in fact. He knows he’ll never make it to the big times but as long as he can get on his board and go he doesn’t care. The only fly in the ointment is his manager Blake Dobbs. The man is possessive and mean and believes he owns Ecco. Given the way he’s isolated Ecco and holds all the money, not to mention the way he treats the boarder, Ecco figures maybe he does.

When Henry and Ecco meet at the Branchberry Games, it’s lust at first sight. An injury on Ecco’s qualifying run gives them the opportunity to spend some quality time alone together at Henry’s home, away from the crowds and out from under Blake’s thumb.

Will lust have the opportunity to turn into love? More importantly, what will Blake do when he finds out?

REVIEW

Henry is a game designer who lives a somewhat isolated life in his mountain home. He’s an avid winter sports fan and is looking forward to the next few weeks as the X-treme Games are coming to town. When he sees snowboarder Ecco he’s immediately drawn to the cute blond and  strikes up a conversation. They make plans for dinner that same night and Henry goes home looking forward to spending more time with Ecco but a bit concerned about the man he saw Ecco with just before leaving.

That man is Ecco’s abusive and possessive manager, Blake. Holding onto all of Ecco’s important documents and controlling all of his moves, Blake constantly makes it clear to Ecco that he owns him. After getting away from him with only a bump to the head Ecco meets Henry for dinner. The guys have a wonderful time flirting and getting to know each other and by the time the night is over they’ve made plans to get together after the Games are over.

But things go from bad to worse for Ecco after a fall during the qualifying runs results in Blake breaking into his room and beating him. The next day, bruised and battered, he meets up with Henry after his turn on the course. When Henry sees Ecco and notices his reaction to the obviously angry Blake he offers Ecco a place to rest up and heal for the next few days. They manage to leave without Blake following them and Henry takes Ecco to his home on the mountain.

From this point on the story is trademark Sean Michael with practically every other scene being a sex scene. I did like both Henry and Ecco and the development of their relationship was nice as they were able to spend a lot of time alone together before the latter part of the story which brought Blake back into the picture. There are a few very minor supporting characters in the story as well but for the most part it’s just Henry and Ecco and a few scenes with Blake.

This leads me to what I didn’t like which was Ecco and the abusive relationship he’s been in for years. It just didn’t make sense to me. He appears to be a smart strong man yet has allowed Blake to control and hurt him for a long time. Normally an abusive relationship is centered on the victim being in love with the abuser but that’s not the case in this story.  However, by the end of the story he does recognize that he needs to stand up to Blake and while the resolution to the storyline was a bit too convenient it did work with the overall storyline.

While I enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing throughout the story as he ‘shows us’ the beautiful mountain scenery and the exhilaration of extreme sports I wasn’t quite as happy with Ecco’s way of talking. He’s in his late 20s yet talks almost like a teenager with his constant use of words like ‘cool’ and ‘dude’. Aside from Ecco’s relationship with Blake and the way he talks I did like this story. It’s fast paced, the characters are developed enough to be engaging and the sex scenes, while quite numerous, are well written and hot. The plot is rather predictable but the flow of the story is good making this a quick and easy read.

If you don’t have a problem with abusive relationships and enjoy reading contemporary erotic romances featuring likable characters who meet, quickly fall into bed and then in love this story should appeal to you. Fans of Sean Michael will enjoy reading the author’s latest story as well.

2 comments

  • Hmmm. Pretty much what I expected but not as bad as I feared. There does seem to be some plot in there, a few pages anyway. 🙂 As for the way of talking thing, I’m not X-factor expert but from what I’ve seen at the Olympics those guys who board and do extreme sports seem to be perpetually stuck at about age 16 or 17, so lots of duding and cooling even in late 20’s is likely more accurate than we’d hope to believe. LOL

    When I’m in the mood for a Sean Michael like that I’ll keep it in mind but won’t rush out to get it.

    • I wondered if the way he talked might be because of the sport but since I’ve never been into it I wasn’t sure. I guess then it makes sense.

      Tam, I think when you get into a SM mood you’ll like it. 🙂

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