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.
Here is an exclusive excerpt just for Bayou Book Junkie:
“Where did Esther find a wedding cake on such short notice?”
Victor stood alongside Isaiah, both of their hands gripping the handle of a long silver knife and hovering it over the cake in question. Positioned by the pool, they smiled for the camera, both acutely aware of everyone staring at them with huge smiles on their faces.
“The same place she found a wedding photographer and a DJ,” Isaiah answered through his frozen, picture-pose smile. “My mama is nothing if not resourceful.” He chuckled, the deep one that made Victor shiver in the best way possible. “But she’s also a master manipulator, and I think she carries pepper spray in her purse, so don’t piss her off.”
“Good to know.” Victor joined him in silent laughter, catching his husband’s eye as they shared this moment. His stomach tightened, desire warming him even more than the clear sunshine beating down on them.
Bodies pressed together from shoulder to thigh, they couldn’t have t a sliver of daylight between them, much less the distance he knew they needed to keep. At least the distance Victor needed. Every time they touched, he wanted more.
This was bad. Very bad.
“Okay, now cut the cake and we’ll get a couple pics of you feeding a piece to each other,” the photographer instructed with a smile. “You can be naughty or nice with it. I’ll just keep snapping.”
They sliced through the cake and moved it to a plate, both taking a piece and squaring off at each other with teasing smiles.
“Are you going to be nice?” Isaiah asked, his eyes flicking briefly to the cake in his hand.
Victor smiled, adding a sexy lift to his lips. When Isaiah’s gaze strayed to his mouth, he knew he had him. “I think you like me best when I’m naughty.”
He moved quickly, knowing Isaiah was fast, a trained professional. But he’d caught him off guard with the seductive remark and smashed the cake onto his lips. The icing squished through his fingers at the same time his husband let out a little gasp of shock. Isaiah’s reaction was so startling he didn’t pay close enough attention to his hand snapping forward to smash the cake into Victor’s face and mouth.
Their guests went wild, laughing and clapping at their antics. Victor laughed along with them, wiping cake and icing off his face, licking both off his fingers while Isaiah followed suit. With his goatee, it was a little more difficult and that only made Victor laugh harder.
“You’re so going to pay for this,” Isaiah growled in warning.
His tone was rough, sounding a lot like it did the night he’d begged Victor to put his mouth on him and swallow him down. He was looming over Victor, his bulk invading his personal space and giving off waves of heat and his own sexy scent. Remembrance and recognition flashed between them, and Victor felt his smile falter and then he was breathing hard, trying to dislodge the weight of attraction sitting on his chest.
“I look forward to it,” Victor responded, eyes zeroed in on his delicious mouth and thinking of all the ways he could make him pay.
The crowd around them was still whistling and catcalling, cheering them on enthusiastically. Suddenly, the sound of metal pinging off a glass joined the sound, echoed by another and then two, until everyone who had a glass in their hand was doing it.
“You have to kiss each other, mate,” Ian said, his accent making his voice stand out. “It’s a rule.”
“I think it’s a rule,” Victor echoed, his mouth suddenly dry, hands shaking a little. This was a bad idea, but he wanted it. Just one little taste.
Isaiah had the same idea; he shuffled forward the short distance between them, his own desire emblazoned across his face.
“I’m kind of a rule follower,” he whispered.
“We’ll have to work on that,” Victor said, his fingers brushing the curve of his husband’s hip and then gripping his shirt when Isaiah lowered his head and swiped a gentle kiss across his lips.
They both stopped breathing for a moment, gazes locked, before they both moved to step away from each other. But their guests weren’t satisfied.
“That’s not a kiss.” “Make it count.” Isaiah’s eyes were dark, his heartbeat pounding so hard
Victor felt it where his hand still rested against his body. He was going to kiss him, and Victor knew this was his last chance to stop the madness.
He leaned over and closed the distance himself, covering Isaiah’s mouth with his own. His husband tasted of sweet cake and even sweeter icing and underneath, his own special brand of delicious. One dip of his tongue inside wasn’t enough so he angled his head and dove back in for more, groaning when Isaiah’s hand circled the back of his neck and held him in place. It was hot and wet, and not appropriate for the public or company, but neither of them seemed to care.
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Victor is in LA as a guest dancer for a ballet company, hoping he'd be granted political asylum seeing as returning to his native Russia after being so publically out and opposed to the way gay people are treated there is tantamount to prison or maybe worse.
Isaiah is a NFL player and has been a widower and a single father of a teenage boy for the last 3 years. When he meets Victor sparks fly and they hook up, but Isaiah isn't ready for more. However, when Victor's petition is denied, he suggests a convenience marriage so Victor can stay in the States.
Victor hits it off with Evan, Isaiah's son, and with his whole family, and while Isaiah can't deny the attraction surging between them, he's determined not to give in to it.
I adored Victor! He was outspoken and sweet and perfect, determined to stand for what he believes in no matter what. I loved how he treated Evan and how Evan loved him back. I wish I could say I liked Isaiah, but really, up until the last portion of the book, I just hoped Victor would end up with someone else, anyone. He was so annoying with the whole not wanting to give love a chance again after his first husband died and I just wanted to slap him and shake him and maybe punch him to see if he saw how perfect Victor was for him and Evan. *sighs* Really, when a 14-year-old is more mature than his father it is not a good thing.
While, yes, Victor and Isaiah had great chemistry and their sex scenes were very hot, Isaiah's behavior just kind of ruined it for me. There's being stubborn and there's being a twatwaffle like he was.
If it wasn't obvious, I loved Evan. He was amazing! So mature for his age. Ms. Covington did a fabulous job with him. Same with Ian and Isaiah's mother. They were just great. Actually, I do hope the author writes Ian's story, he seems like a fascinating character.
Overall, the book was enjoyable. I'm definitely #TeamVictor and while I wasn't as invested in his relationship with Isaiah, well, I was happy enough that Victor got the HEA he deserved. Recommendable!
***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***
Meet the AuthorA 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.
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