Review: Avery Cockburn – Playing with Fire

27871814Author: Avery Cockburn
Reviewer: Wendy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: M/M Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

“I don’t want options. I just want you.”

Robert McKenzie has a secret. As the only straight player on an all-LGBT soccer team, he’s known to fans as “McWhatAWaste.” No one would guess Robert’s actually bisexual. At twenty-one, on the verge of a brilliant career in video game design, he’s finally ready to be his true self. The only thing keeping him in the closet is…his gay best friend?

Liam Carroll has a problem. His gorgeous best mate wants to kiss him and touch him and…everything with him. But for how long? With Robert embarking on a bright future—far from their rough-and-tumble East End streets—Liam may soon be left behind. He can’t risk falling in love with a man he can’t live without. His solution? Keep things casual, see what happens.

Aye, right. After one night together, “just mates” is no longer an option. Robert wants more than sex, but diehard cynic Liam won’t drop the barriers around his heart. As they push and pull each other, their lifelong bond—the heart of the Warriors team—is ready to rupture. With the bridge back to mere friendship well and truly burned, Robert and Liam must go forward together—or fall to pieces apart.

The continuity of characters is one of the things I love most about this series. While each new story focuses on one primary couple, the whole series is bound together through the re-introduction of beloved characters from prior books with a little more insight into their ongoing lives. In this particular story, the focus is on Liam and Robert, but I love the healthy dose of John and Fergus that is also featured here.

Two things make the relationship between Liam and Robert a little unique – one is that they’ve been lifelong friends and the other is that Robert is actually bi vs. straight. As the boundaries in their relationship became blurred, I loved watching them take on a whole new shape. I “get” some of the angst that Liam felt over learning Robert’s bi-sexuality (after all, once burned twice shy and all that), but still, this was his best friend and someone he should have been able to trust and believe without hesitation. On the other hand, I could empathize with Liam’s concern over holding Robert back or watching him disappear into the sunset upon graduation.

This story didn’t have quite as much focus on soccer or as heavy of a political theme based on current events as the prior books – both of which were fine by me. I quite enjoyed the greater focus on the couple, the excitement of the first foray into gay sex, and the pop culture references included in the story.

I know there’s more to come in the ongoing saga of the Glasgow Lads and I’m pretty excited for what I believe will be the next couple in the spotlight! Definitely recommended!!



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