Reviewed by Kat
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 166 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 27, 2016
Game designer Henry Delloit loves his life, his mountain community, his isolated dream home and the snow. He also loves that the X-treme Games blow into the area for a month every year, bringing with them hundreds of athletes. Ecco Rasmussen loves boarding; he needs it in fact. He knows he’ll never make it to the big times but as long as he can get on his board and go he doesn’t care. The only fly in the ointment is his manager Blake Dobbs. The man is possessive and mean and believes he owns Ecco. Given the way he’s isolated Ecco and holds all the money, not to mention the way he treats the boarder, Ecco figures maybe he does. When Henry and Ecco meet at the Branchberry Games, it’s lust at first sight. An injury on Ecco’s qualifying run gives them the opportunity to spend some quality time alone together at Henry’s home, away from the crowds and out from under Blake’s thumb. Will lust have the opportunity to turn into love? More importantly, what will Blake do when he finds out?
This is my second book by Author Sean Michael and I liked this one even more than the first one I read. That’s not always the case with repeat authors for me.
I’m a snow bunny, have been a skier since I was 14 (so a really long time), and I was anticipating reading about a snowboarder that participates in the extreme games of the sport. Although I don’t know much about the sport itself, except what I have had the opportunity to watch, I do know that it is extremely physically demanding. What I didn’t realize was that, like skiing, there were many different types of competing forms of snowboarding. This book took me through a new-to-me area of the sport and it was fascinating.
In X-Factor we get the story of a “local” Henry Delloit, a game designer, who loves to come see the extreme winter games that are held in his neighboring town. His eyes land on the attractive snowboarder, Ecco Rasmussen, a popular competitor in the sport. They meet, talk, flirt, make a connection and agree to have dinner at the local gourmet restaurant. But, Ecco has a dark secret. One that could cause harm to anyone who tries to get near the beautiful man. We also get to learn all about the snow games and its gorgeous locale.
But X-Factor is more than just a story about snowboarding. It is the story of a connection of two men who were attracted from first sight. Lust is easy to find, but this story takes you through the paces of what must be endured in order to achieve love, which isn’t nearly as easy as lust. I became instantly attracted to both men. I was a little put off by their lack of their own self-worth. They thought so highly of the other but never saw what a catch they personally were. I can understand a bit of this with Henry. The author alludes to the fact that he might be a bit older and not as fit as he once was, or would like to be but, we never know how old he really is. It is obvious that he doesn’t lack for money. I don’t know anything about game designing but it must be very lucrative given his lifestyle. And poor Ecco! My heart hurt for how much he has endured at the hands of one of the people he should have been able to trust most, his manager Blake. I have read that people who are abused don’t know how to even get out of a destructive relationship let alone even try anymore. That is what hurt the most. It was like Ecco felt he had to endure abuse. That he didn’t deserve anything better. No one should ever have to endure abuse, but you only hope that someone strong finds them and helps them find their way out.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that there is sex? Yes, red-hot, light-the-sheets-on-fire sex! These two men have chemistry in spades and it shines brightly in this book.
This book came at just the right moment for me. It had action, secrets, blistering sex scenes, gorgeous locale and romance. What Ecco has endured will be a bit difficult to read but is an important part to the book. If you can get past it, you are in for one good run. Highly recommend this story.