Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage.
On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard.
Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addicted mother made it too dangerous to return home.
Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted.
Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.
With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky finds that his past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.
Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?
Reader advisory: This book contains themes of terminal illness and child abuse.
I am a big Carol Lynne fan. I have read all of her Cattle Valley series. She is one of my go to writers when I want something short and uncomplicated with a warm, fuzzy HEA. But this one was totally different from her usual style and I LOVED IT. The writing was more mature as was the subject matter. The characters were human and likable even with their grittier sides. The story was rough and dark and drug me through emotional gamut.
The Brick Yard shows the seedier side of life. It shows just how influential a parent can be whether for good or for bad. It shows those kids who are forced to endure the pain delivered by a parent who should have never been allowed to have a child in the first place. Parents whose addictions mean more than their own flesh and blood. I hurt for those children, but even more, I hurt for the adults they turn into when they have no way to heal. I am so grateful for those real places like The Brick Yard, where these children can learn to be the best they can be and learn that their parents are not a fair representation of what is out there in the world.
OK so just a warning, this book is set in the world of MMA fighting, but that is not the point of this story and it takes a back seat to the overall message. If you are looking for some sports novel, this is not it. This story uses MMA as a backdrop because of the attitudes present and what it represents rather than for any actual plot. The fighting is a way for Ms. Lynne to develop Lucky and Dray and show the reader their issues.
I do not really want to talk about the story itself because that is not what got me here. I was drawn in by the characters and by the emotions. The story was simply there to make way for healing and love. It was there for movement, but the message the author portrayed stole the show. We need more love in this world. We need more caring and selfless acts of kindness. Brick represents all that is right with today and the parents of these children represent most of what is wrong. If only we had more Brick’s as parents a fewer addicts having children just for a paycheck, then can you imagine where we could be? Could you imagine the love that lift us up?
I applaud Ms. Lynne for this gritty and dark story. It was well written, well edited, well planned, well developed, and any other good description I can think of. This is her finest work yet and I will recommend this to everyone out there.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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