Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Page Count: 282 pages
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.
Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.
Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.
Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.
“I was proud to be seen. Proud to love him. Proud to even know him. And proud of my fucking self.
“I’m happy, Lucky. Are you?”
His answering smile set me free.”
This is why I love Garrett Leigh’s work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a chef, a sex worker, a cowboy or -in this case- a freaking closeted Premiership football player. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ordinary tale between two people who happened to cross paths with each other or an once in a million years situation; her stories always feel like a slice of real life. No sappy or fluffy -and basically empty- scenes in sight. No grand gestures or public declarations of love. Just two guys finding their soulmate in each other, fighting against the odds to get their hard won happy ending. Always delivered in the gritty and melancholic tone I ‘ve come to love so much.
This book is also important for another reason. However you look at it, sports is not a welcome place for gay/bi/pan + folks. History has proved it and -sadly- keeps proving it to this day. Being inside Dom’s head made me feel trapped and desperate sometimes and I’m just a reader. I can only imagine how a gay athlete must feel.
Dominic Ramos lives half a life. If he wants to keep doing the only thing he’s ever been good at (which is football), he must hide who he really is (which is gay). The thing is that after hiding for so long, the thing that he loved the most starts to feel like a noose around his neck and meeting Lucky will soon become his way out, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
Now Lucky…I freaking love this guy so much (and not just because he’s this blue eyed cutie with long blond hair). Life dealt him a shitty hand but he’s pushing through. He might live on the streets most nights or get himself high when things get too tough, but he’s not martyr, nor a whiner. And he definitely won’t be treated like trash.
“Use me or fucking lose me, yeah? Cause I’m not up for the bullshit in between”.
I loved the messages, the secret dates and the steady pace at which the romance progressed. I loved how Lucky slowly became Dom’s lifeline and his ticket to freedom. Other reviews mention that this is not a Cinderfella story and they ‘re right. Dom does not save Lucky. Lucky saves himself with Dom by his side. I LOVED that.
Heed the warning tags (suicidal ideation, self-harm, abuse, drug use) but know that the author did not delve very deeply in these subjects. Just enough so that we can get a satisfying background of the characters.
I’m thrilled that this is going to be a series. Recommended!