This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.
Single Dads: Promise – R.J. Scott
Leo Byrne is a cop, Jason Banks is an ex-con. Even after one stolen kiss, something has to give before Leo can convince Jason that falling in love is even an option.
Adopted at a young age, Leo is part of the sprawling Byrnes family. With his dog Cap, three siblings and a whole mess of nieces and nephews, he is never lonely, and his life is full. Love is the last item on his to-do list, but seeing his best friends Sean and Eric happy and making new families makes him want things he doesn’t think is possible. Kissing Jason at an event to honor his bravery was one thing, but anything other than that is off limits. Until Jason has no one left to turn to, and it’s Leo who helps him at his lowest. Taking Jason and his daughter into his home is one thing, but falling for the ex-con is something else altogether.
Jason made a deal to keep his daughter safe and spent years behind bars as a result. Volunteering as a convict firefighter was as much about helping the community as saving his sanity, but now that he’s out, he doesn’t even have that. He’s lost his future, his self-respect, and has no friends or a place to call home. Worst of all, even after rescuing his daughter he still can’t keep her safe from the man who wants to use her as a bargaining chip for money. Meeting Leo might give Jason a way to keep Daisy safe, but falling for the stubborn cop means the truth has to be revealed, and he could lose everything all over again.
Prepare for a chockful of ex-con+cop tension and sweet father-daughter moments in this moving contemporary romance by R.J. Scott.
Promise is the third book of Single Dads, a series featuring three best friends who work as emergency responders and the men who came into their lives. I started this series with Today, the second book about Brady and Eric, the firefighter and one of Leo’s bestfriends.
Jason was introduced as the convict working alongside the firefighters in a big forest fire incident where he saved Eric’s life. Eric and his friends promised they would do everything to help shorten his sentence.
Jason immediately piqued my interest. My gut told me he was a good guy who was dealt a bad hand. I knew there’s some big story behind his imprisonment that’s worth checking out.
Fast forward to the present time, Jason is out of prison and on the run with his 3 year old daughter, Daisy, in tow. Daisy’s mother, who came from a rich but shady family, was involved with an abusive boyfriend who was demanding money and threatening their lives. The man is wanted by the FBI. Jason and Daisy aren’t safe until he was caught.
Leo found Jason and Daisy outside his doorstep. His protective cop mode immediately kicked into high gear. He didn’t hesitate to take them in.
Jason’s backstory was indeed interesting. There were mob connections, drug overdoses, stint in bands, hacking and so on. However, most of these were told rather than shown. I wanted to see more of Jason’s life before he showed up at Leo’s house.
Leo and Jason had a history of sharing a kiss neither of them forgot. When they saw each other again, the attraction was still there. I liked that the story took time to build the trust and connection between the characters before things got physical. For sure, there were a lot of internal angstyings and things left unsaid. It would have saved them the agony if only they talked. But it took a while to gain Jason’s trust.
The book focused primarily in developing the romance, establishing the bonds between Jason, Leo and Daisy, and helping Jason and Daisy heal from their ordeal. There were plenty hurt/comfort to warm the heart.
And we also have Daisy lighting up the story by being her adorable self. Also lovable doggie antics courtesy of Cap, Leo’s black Labrador.
Narrator Sean Crisden hit the right emotional notes and I generally enjoyed his narrations. My only niggle with his speaking style is that when he reads, the words kind of run together, like he’s reading them a notch too fast. They’re not as enunciated as other narrators. I mentioned this too in my review of his other audiobooks. This could be a me problem since I’m not a native English speaker.
IMHO, pure contemporary romance of the heartwarming variety could get pretty sappy sometimes. Promise has a good balance between the emotional elements of the story. It’s the book to read for tales of angsty men with trouble on their heels, conflicted cops falling for ex-cons and precocious toddlers ready to save their dads.
Thank You to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Hockey Allies Bachelor Bids: Guarding Garrett – R.J. Scott
A hardworking, competitive, and skilled hockey player, Garrett is the cornerstone of the Burlington Dragons hockey team and one of the league’s most popular playmakers. Blessed with a face that delivers millions in endorsements, he has a legion of fans, and a future so bright that he is the envy of many.
When his internet fame puts him in danger, and a stalker threatens his life, the team hires Jason, a quiet but deadly former marine, to protect him. Danger is always close, but forced proximity means sparks fly, attraction burns, and somehow, resentment turns to love.
When Garrett’s stalker ups their game at a charity bachelor auction, there is a real chance it could mean the end for Garrett, but Jason refuses to leave his side whatever the risk.
These two stubborn men will have to fight to walk away from this alive, but their newfound love is worth every sacrifice.
Ever since Rachel Reid‘s fantastic Game Changers series, I developed a thing for gay hockey romance despite not knowing anything about the sport. And there are a lot of MM hockey romances out there. I don’t know what it is about hockey players (maybe because they’re so damn cute?) but there something about them that’s so shippable to each other.
Guarding Garret is your tough, uber-popular athlete needing protection from a stalker. Who you can guess the identity right away because they’re the only person described with some negativity. The romance itself, you already know how it will play out.
But what I really liked about this was that R.J. Scott was still able to deliver an entertaining falling-for-the-bodyguard romance that’s a breeze to read and satisfying to finish. The story felt like of those beloved rom-coms you’ve seen a million times but can still make you smile every time. And even better, we are spared the requisite big fight commonly deployed in the genre.
Garrett is pretty much obsessed with hockey. He’s a social media darling with a meme to his name. He’s known as that naked guy with the hippo. He’s also driven, kinda sullen but when he talks about his advocacy, supporting LGBT youth in sports, you could really see how passionate he is about it. He’s like the ideal athlete every sports agent dreams of. I had a fun time going through his thoughts and it was even more fun when he and his bodyguard started bantering.
Jason was the bodyguard assigned to him. We only see him from Garrett’s POV. Jason is straight-laced, hard to read and kept his distance for as long as he could. For which I’m glad because the man was clearly keen on doing his job properly. I liked how smooth the transition from bodyguard to boyfriend was executed and even after that, Jason was still very profession. This gets a mention because I really hate it when pros fuck up when all of a sudden they’re emotionally involved.
Guarding Garrett is part of the shared-world Hockey Allies Bachelor Bid. The common thing that unites the books are hockey and a charity auctioning off the players for a date. Garrett was one of the organizers of the event.
For me, this is a great book to start off the series. It gave a nice backgrounder to the bachelor bid part and introduced the other characters who will appear on the other books. Recommended if you like a straightforward sports romance about a hockey player who broke the internet and his bodyguard who tried to resist.
The books can be read in any order.
Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
“My job, Mr. Howell, is straightforward. I’m the one who will keep you alive.”