Title: His Convenient Husband
Series: Love and Sports, Book One
Author: Robin Covington
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2017
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ
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.
Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.
Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.
The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.
This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.
Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.
The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.
Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.
Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.
And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.
“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”
“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.
The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.
They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.
The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.
But he knew he’d be falling alone.
3 of 5 Stars
2.5 Stars so rounding up to 3*
Man I wanted to like this book…but for the most part it was OK at best. This is my first read by this author and I don’t know if I’ll be back for seconds on this series. The story is very predictable even though the premise is unique for me and one I liked very much.
I try to start my reviews with what I liked unfortunately this list will be a little short.
– I liked Victor mostly (I explain why it’s not wholly later in the review). Him standing up for the injustice in his country was amazing. He’s great with Evan. He’s a ballet dancer. The history of his life is heartbreaking and he’s surprisingly upbeat, positive and happy despite the pain he’s endured.
- I liked Evan. He’s a complex character with amazing potential if written right when he’s older.
I’m assuming Ian will get a story. He was another favorite character of mine. He’s a great friend, funny and unapologetic but he’s hiding behind a façade that I hope translates into a fantastic story.
Esther is another valuable side character in the story.
Now for what let me down in the story.
– Isiah was not likeable at all. He was so awful to Victor to the extreme that I’m not sure Victor wouldn’t have been better off taking his chances elsewhere. He is a black, gay football player. I’m guessing he knows bullying and bigotry. He lacked compassion. He was a bully to Victor. The only time he was half way decent to Victor was during the sex scenes and even then, he was pretty closed off emotionally. He is still clearly in love with his dead husband and still hurt by his death. He has decided he doesn’t want to ever go through that again…and then magically he changes his mind and is ready to commit – after being dreadful to Victor repeatedly. The grief and pain he is still holding onto is never resolved…it’s just gone one day and he realizes he needs Victor. His apologies (yep, you read that correctly – there were repeated scenes that required one) were weak and uninspired.
- While I liked Victor overall, my major problem with him was his weakness. Isaiah treated him poorly, walked over him like he was a piece of trash on the ground and Victor’s forgiveness was INSTANT. I was mad longer than he was…and by the time I was fully geared up in my anger it had already happened again. He showed glimpses of strength, perseverance and a spine of steel only for all that to be thrown away with his instantaneous forgiveness of Isaiah’s repeated, blatant disregard for him as a human.
Victor and Isaiah seem to only be compatible between the sheets and when Victor was trying to embrace being in the family he always wanted and going along with whatever Isaiah wanted. I never saw their relationship flourish. Their big ‘reunion’ scene near the end was a bit forced and unbelievable (it also happened in front of a very large audience and their private conversation probably wasn’t as private as they thought which didn’t work for me). The sexual and physical chemistry notwithstanding I don’t see how they work.
This story had potential but never lived up to that so it was disappointing for me.
Meet the Author
A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.
A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.
She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)
Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – she always writes back.
$25.00 Amazon Gift Card