Title: The Winning Edge
Author: Keira Andrews
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 215 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: The Winning Edge was a lovely romance between two very different men who both had family pressures to overcome before they could ever come out to the world. It’s sure to come in first place with many readers.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Can figure skating enemies find love off the ice?
After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.
Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends?
This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.
Review: Two sweet novellas make for one great book that hits the scene right as the Olympics take over television viewing this year. Keira Andrews released these novellas in one compilation which made for a seamless story about two competitive skaters, Mikhail Reznikov and Dev Avira, enemies on the ice and secret lovers behind closed doors. Dev and his partner, Bailey, have only one thing standing in their way of the Olympic gold medal—the Russian team of Mikhail and Kisa. Their artistry and technical scores have certainly earned the Russians a top spot, even when it seemed that Dev and Bailey were just that bit much better. But politics and reputation often cause the judging of pairs to veer toward the Russian team fairly regularly, and that makes both Dev and Bailey work just that much harder.
Dev loathed the cold Russian skater, envied him his incredible ability to skate flawlessly, and despised the fact that not once had he ever seen anything but icy reserve on the man’s face. Then a brief moment in the locker room caused Dev’s world to explode—one passionate interlude and all Dev can see now is the man behind the icy mask—the skater who fears losing, which will mean returning to his homeland in disgrace, and to hiding who he is for the rest of his life. Dev wishes he had never heard Misha’s story, never discovered that if the Russian pair failed to bring home the gold medal, Misha would forever be locked in the closet, hiding his sexuality in order to safeguard his family. But Dev is addicted. Misha is his poison, and trying to keep it together in order to take the gold from them is now not nearly as important as not allowing anyone to know he is falling for the Russian—falling hard.
From the Olympics to their retirement television appearances, The Winning Edge relates the story of two rivals who fall in love and must hide it from the world. Even though the sport of pairs skating has come far, gay relationships are still frowned upon, particularly between the top two male skate partners in the world. Not only that, but even though Misha has secured the gold medal that will allow him to retire to the U.S. and see his family safe in Russia, there are still endorsements and skating appearances that mandate he appear as a straight partner to Kisa, and the same goes for Dev. Neither man is comfortable telling the world they are in love—not just because of the possibility of losing endorsements but also because Dev’s family has never had a fond spot for the Russians. For that matter, neither did Dev or Bailey until Dev fell for Misha. It will be a defining moment on the ice for Dev to see how much Misha means to him and force him to reveal their love to his family and the skating world.
These two novellas were really incredibly romantic and sexy. Given the fact it was just the most recent Olympics where we saw U.S. competitors brave enough to boldly come out and embrace their sexuality, this story rang with real sincerity. It wasn’t a stretch for me to believe or understand how fearful Misha was about returning to Russia and having to hide his true self. Nor was it in any way unthinkable that the two men might lose future endorsements and appearances if the world discovered they were a couple. I felt author Keira Andrews gave us the most realistic romance possible, and that made the story between Dev and Misha that much more exciting. I also appreciated that both Bailey and Kisa were supportive of the two men. For once, we had female characters who weren’t just arm candy or shrieking harpies, but genuine friends who were willing to give up their own chance at financial security to see their friends be happy. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see strong and kindhearted female characters in an m/m novel—often that is far from the case.
The Winning Edge was a lovely romance between two very different men who both had family pressures to overcome before they could ever come out to the world. With a well-paced and timely plot line, and some very steamy moments of intimacy, this story is sure to come in first place for many readers.
You can buy The Winning Edge here:
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