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Training Season by Leta Blake

December 17, 2013


Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

My Review:

I am stunned. I am shocked. I am bewildered, beholden and breathless at what I have just read. What did I just read? A wonderful story? The most complete love story that I have come across? A gorgeous tale of love, hope, loss, acceptance, forgiveness and just a stunning tale…all of the above? You bet your sweet ass.  Your sweet bruised ass or at least my bruised ass as I feel it has taken a beating of beautiful words that are so raw it’s as if I my own soul has been scoured by this book. What’s that? A bit intense, Sara? Maybe? Maybe not. This book has wrung me dry, I am all cried out, my heart is in shreds, in pieces and yet there is needle and thread on the shelf to mend it but I don’t want that. Not yet.

There is a lesson here. I’m not sure just what, though.

Training Season, oh my. I saw this book flying across my Goodreads time line at super speed and knew it would be a book for me but I usually stay away from books when they are this popular. But…I was drawn to it. I wanted to wait, I wanted to dive in, and I couldn’t decide what to do.  Thank goodness a lovely friend made the decision for me and sent it to me, damn she knows me well! I was thrilled to have the gah-whor-geous cover sitting on my Nook waiting for me. Have you seen that cover? *swoon* Can I crawl inside that coat with you, Matty? Pretty please?

So…as I was saying.  I saw the book, read the blurb, knew friends loved it but per my usual stayed away from status updates/reviews so I would have my own take on the story. From the first chapter, hell the first page I was hooked. The words flew off the page in such vivid detail I could see it happening. I could hear Matty talking to his mother about the job with possibility, I could see the landscape as he saw it headed up to the Page’s ranch, I could feel the cold, and I could feel Matty’s anxiety. I could FEEL it all. Isn’t that why we read? To feel? That is why I read and the feels I got with this story were beautiful, intense and overwhelming and raw. Oh so very raw.

Matty Marcus…where have you been all my life. You young man tore my heart out. Your passion for skating, for being the best you can be at you sport and in life was remarkable.  Your passion, love and responsibility for your family earned my utmost adoration. Well, that along with your fondness for a fine vacuum cleaner. But it wasn’t just you. I loved you when you were alone but the minute, the second, that one word that brought you to Rob that is when you really came alive.

“Well, Mama, I have met a man.”

“Does this man have a name?”

“Rob Lovely.”

His mother started laughing. “You’re not kidding, are you?”

“No. It’s a delightful name for a delightful person.”

Delightful? No I would say miraculous. I would say courageous. I would say Resplendent. I would say that Rob Lovely is one of the top men I have read in books…ever. Regardless of genre, that man is everything, the very thing I read romance for. I wanted to highlight everything that came out of his mouth. If he teased Matty, I went to highlight it. If he spoke to Ben, Bing, Bill or even the damn cows I wanted to highlight it. When he spoke the beautiful words to Matty I wanted to crawl inside the book, into his lap and cuddle with him. I have never read someone as strong, as kind, as giving and just as wonderful as Rob Lovely. The hills are alive with the sound of music and it’s is ME singing his praises!

The relationship with Matty and Rob had me on edge through this whole book. Not only was it simply gorgeous but with the time frame of Matty being in Montana I was worried. I hoped for the best but expected the worst. When it got tough, I did the same thing. When I started part three? Ugh. If I expected the worst I wouldn’t be hurt right? Yeah…that is a pile of cow patties right there. This book killed me. It ripped every possible emotion I had and I couldn’t safe out. I wouldn’t dare! How could I? It was wonderful, it was heartbreaking, it was sexy, hot, smart, and funny, it was hopelessly romantic and what the hell was I even saying?

He still felt shaken. It wasn’t anything he had experienced before and it felt so precious. He didn’t know what to say, or what to do. Fuck. It was all too intimate to break into words.

That right there. That sums it up with me and this book. This story was so damn good. Just so good. I am having a hard time putting my thoughts together. I loved the story, I loved Matty. I adored Rob and who he was and how he loved Matty. He just loved him, he accepted him and gave him so much even when he didn’t agree with what Matty was doing. He took care of him. He knew what Matty needed and Rob needed him. Their love was what I read for. It was exactly what I needed. This book has shot its way up to my favorites list and one of my top ten reads of the year.

Training Season, this story, it is written so vividly, the beauty of IT ALL, every bit of it just hit me in the gut and brought me to my knees… I cannot think straight trying to process everything that I have read. From first meetings of brought wood, to brownies, to eating soup, to rope, whips, shopping, skating on frozen ponds and lakes, declarations, heartbreak, uplifting acceptance, surprise appointments, inappropriate conversations at the table and…*sigh* this book, it was gorgeous.

Now let me hop on my soap box for a brief moment:

The kink in this book was so well done. So often kink is played out in dungeons, clubs, and playrooms what have you, but there are times when the kink is simply the rolls of dominance and submission and those rolls can be played out in so many ways. You don’t need a special room for a scene to happen; you need the trust, acceptance and the power play for them to happen. There were two scenes in this book that floored me; completely reduced me to Charlie Brown style sobs with the beauty of the submission, the confidence of the dominance and the absolute trust between two partners. You cannot have a relationship without trust and these men have it in abundance. When it comes to kink; you have to understand that while they physicality of the scene is important, it’s the mind set of both the Dominant and the submissive that is most important. The ultimate submission is what gives both parties the euphoria. The trust and acceptance of the submissive that the dominant will take care of them, to push them farther than they have ever gone but also be aware and in tune to recognize WHAT their submissive needs is nothing short of amazing and the two scenes I speak of show that immensely. The words they are what drove those scenes. The play by play and the emotional connection you get to the story, to the characters and to their mind set was beyond anything I could have hoped for. It had purpose, it had substance and it had beauty. It was again, so well done. I applaud the author for that.

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating

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