Title: His Convenient Husband
Author: Robin Covington
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: October 9th 2017
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.
Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.
Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary… until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe… marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.
As a cis het woman, I don’t think it’s my place to say how a gender-queer character should/could/must be. However, I read Victor as a slightly effeminate man who identifies as male, and by the time I write this review the word “gender-fluid” doesn’t exist in the blurb anymore, so take that as you will.
Now that this is out of the way…I really liked this book. And I LOVED Victor. Loved, loved, loved him. On one hand, Victor is loud and bold regarding gay rights in Russia. I loved his activist side. On the other, he’s like a quiet force. Very put together and kind, but forthcoming and honest too.
Isaiah is the polar opposite. He hates confrontation and chooses to live quietly, without provoking others. Thumbs up for the great POC representation too. He’s also a widower and pretty hung up on his late husband too, which is where most of the conflict comes from.
“It was truth time here in the moonlight, standing on the deck of the home he’d shared with the man he’d loved, and the truth was that he was looking at a man he could love just as much if he let go.
And that scared him.”
I know that a lot of readers will want to smack Isaiah’s head upside down. He really, really, REALLY pissed me off at some point when he started lashing out and blaming Victor for things that were really not his fault. But you know, I can see where he was coming from. He led a peaceful life, trying to provide a stable environment for Evan, and Victor came and changed all that. Add the fact that he started developing serious feelings for Victor and there you have it.
There is a lot of tension and the relationship angst that I adore. The fake marriage trope doesn’t do much for me, normally. I always have to suspend disbelief, and although I felt the same here too, I found that it was done way better than most of the stories I ‘ve read.
The problem for me (thus the one star deduction) was that I felt that Isaiah’s change of heart, or rather realisation of his feelings, wasn’t that smooth. He went from pushing Victor away to “I love you” way too fast for me. Had the story been longer, there would have been more page time for Isaiah to redeem himself and come to terms with his feelings for Victor in a more natural way.
That said, I loved the grand gesture and the lovely epilogue, a strong HEA. The story is very steamy, and the sex scenes are scorching!
The side characters were great. Evan stole the show and I’d really love to read his story in the future. And Ian is begging for a story as well.
Overall, I liked the story. Looking forward to more MM from Mrs Covington.