The Greatest Journey Isn T From England To The States, It S The One That Two Men Take On The Way To Find Each Other Sebastian Brown Is On A Mission To Rescue The Arizona Raptors And A Vow He Made To A Friend In College Either That Or He S On Vacation He S Not Entirely Sure That He S Made Up His Mind Yet Either Way, Traveling From England, To The Arid Desert Of Arizona Isn T Exactly A Picnic, Particularly With The Doubts And Worries He Takes With Him He S Turned Even The Worst Of Companies Around, But Faced With The Challenge Of Improving The Reputation Of A Hockey Team That Everyone Seems To Hate, He Knows His Work Is Cut Out For HimFocus Is Key, But That Is Easier Said Than Done When Seb Is Sent Into A Tailspin By The Intriguing Alejandro Seb S Entire Marketing Plan Hinges On Making Alex A Poster Boy For Equality And Fair Play But With Alex S Utter Dedication To The Game, And His Dark Secretive Eyes, The Gorgeous Alex Is Stubborn, Opinionated, Doesn T Want Any Part Of Being The Team Focus, And Worst Of All, Doesn T Appear To Like Seb At All It Takes Everything That Seb Has To Keep His Hands Off Of Alex, But Things Get Out Of Hand And Seb S Life Might Never Be The Same AgainAlejandro Garcia Has Had To Work Hard To Get Where He S At Born To Mexican Immigrants, His Siblings And Himself Have Never Had It Easy In This New Country Their Parents Dreamed Of Calling Home A Native Son Of Arizona, Alex Has Always Been The Odd Man Out On The Ice But He S Not Going To Let A Stupid Thing Like His Heritage Get In The Way Of His Dreams He S Now A Raptor And He Plans To Put All That Training And Collegiate Hockey Experience To Good Use Working Hard Comes Naturally To Him It S Something His Parents Have Instilled In Him From The Time He Was A Toddler Being One Of A Handful Of Latino Hockey Players Makes Him Strive For Success With Even Determination His First Pro Season Has Had Some Ups But A Lot Downs, But Alex Is One Stubborn Young Man And Failure Is Not An OptionAs The Raptors Struggle To Rebuild Not Only Their Team But Their Core Values, Alex Finds Himself Drawn To One Of The Owner S Friends, A Tall, Lanky Brit With The Face Of An Angel And An Accent And Attitude That Bewitches And Befuddles Him Sebastian Is Everything He Thought He Would Never Be Attracted To But He Can T Push The Sexy, Older, Fun Loving Man Out Of His Thoughts If Ever There Were A Man He Would Not Be Able To Take Home To His Parents Not That He Can Bring A Man Home Since He Is Deeply Closeted It S Sebastian, But Desire Knows No Socioeconomic, Age, Or International Borders The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants And Alejandro S Wants Sebastian This didn t go at all like I was expecting it to but it was still an enjoyable read.It was a lot quietly angsty than I thought it would be and, surprisingly for this author pair, most of the relationship intimacy was developed off page There is a mutual blowjob handjob on page at the start of their relationship, but the next time we get the full visceral experience of them in bed together, it s almost at the end of the book.That really surprised me to be honest, as RJ and Vicki have such a talent for getting the emotional balance between the heat of a sexual encounter and the growing level of trust it needs in a relationship It doubly surprised me because Alex coming to terms with being gay and how that affected him because of both his Mexican American heritage and his Roman Catholic upbringing and his own beliefs is a massive part of the plot and he s an inexperienced virgin, worrying about it.So to skip over the first time he and Sebastian commit to extending their trust into a deeply emotional sexual intimacy just felt odd.Still, that s pretty much my main niggle with this otherwise lovely romance between two people who are as different as night and day.I really loved how Seb s Englishness was played to the hilt, it made me laugh a lot each time a typically British saying or word was dropped into the dialogue.Alex blew hot and cold for me for a while, I liked him and I sympathised with his inner turmoil, but I also felt frustrated a lot of the time at what was going on with him and Seb.There were a couple of times it felt like I d missed something happening, as they went from attraction to boyfriends without much discussion and time jumped along with them.The fallout from Henry s accident is still being felt throughout this book, and we see both Alex and Ryker trying to deal with what s happening with their friend A lot happens in this book, I m not sure if everything perfectly hits the mark, but I think some of those plot elements will carry through into Henry s story which is up next.All in all, I preferred book one a smidgen but I m really looking forward to seeing Henry recover and move on ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review. 2nd book of the Arizona Raptors series following the fate of a Hockey Team and the MM romances of some of the members of the team Just like with their previous series, The Harrisburg Railers , these authors play with the team spirit and friendship, it s low on angst and with the right amount of sweet for me Going into these books is like spending a nice evening catching up with good friends.The team is still internally struggling to be on top again, despite the efforts of the management, of the new coaches and some good promising recruits, one of them being the young Alejandro, very well liked, bitter with the racist comments against his heritage, and deeply into the closet Here enters Sebastian, flying from England, a good friend of one of the team owners and taking the task of improving the reputation of the Raptors.The part that kept me the most interested the slow rebuild of the team and following Henry s struggle after his accident from book1 I was less invested on the romance between Alejandro and Sebastian, maybe because it felt a bit like a YA romance, like a lot happened out of page and felt unfinished.Tepid enthusiasm for this specific romance, but a nice tease for the next gathering featuring Henry I will be ready ARC of Across the Pound was generously provided by the author publisher in exchange for an honest review. Sebastian Seb and Alejandro AlexSeb is traveling all the way from England to Texas to help the hockey team The Raptors get a better image He is a nice guy Taking care of his mom, who was left alone by his dad, the moment she told she was pregnant.For the time being, he will stay in the pool house from Jason, the co owner of The Raptors.He wants to use Alejandro Alex for his marketing plan Alex, twenty two, has a secret as a good catholic Latin American boy, he just can t show his true colors.With this, he doesn t want to get involved with the big plan He can t even stand Seb now does he Alex was very vulnerable and Seb very reasonable Very cautiously Seb tries to get closer.It seems Alex is the one who wants to get closer, only he has to face all of his religious family.A lovely story, a lot about working out how to upgrade the imago of the team and a lot about the lives of other team members I preferred the moments where it was exclusively about Seb and Alex The struggle was hard Alex had a somewhat stiff family Sebastian was way too mellow I would have loved to see him give some thrill and emotions, some resistance, fight or even a break I m bad I know, I can t have it all.Maybe that s why I couldn t wholeheartedly commit to both men, that s on me The moments both men were together were nicely put down so it was easy to visualize them.Overall a good, well developed, smoothly written story, a nice addition to the series. I am so on a roll with this writing duoso far for methey can do no wrong Full review to follow soonish When Coast to Coast ended we were left with a hockey team that seemed to be on the brink of destruction there was a new coach that no one seemed to know what to do with lucky for them he knew what he was doing because as the story moved along some things got better but other things well not so much and now here we are back in Arizona and the Raptors are still picking up the pieces and as part of that effort Jason Westman Reid has called on Sebastian Brown a close friend from his uni days Seb s a fixer, he takes companies that are hot messes and turns them around making them profitable and if anybody needs fixing it s the Raptors.Seb s giving his friend s team 3 months and he s going to get them sorted out during that time or at least he will if he can keep his focus on the team and not just one player in particular Alejandro Alex Garcia beautiful, dedicated, mouth wateringly gorgeous Alex Seb is so screwed and Alex isn t doing any better where Seb s concerned.But Alex comes with his own challenges you see Alex is not only in the closet, he s nailed the door shut Growing up the son of Mexican immigrants and raised in a Catholic household the one thing that Alex knows for sure is being gay, out and proud is a guaranteed way to lose your family.Along with playing hockey, Alex has put a considerable amount of his free time and energy into showing the world that he s just another straight dude, but as he and Seb become closer he begins to resent the charade that he s been leading and dreams of being able to be himself even with his family start to eat away at him until he s no longer comfortable with the pretense of being something that he s not until he s ultimately faced with a choice.I really liked Seb s character right from the start He s mature there s a 10 year age gap between him and Alex , Seb s kind and confident and most importantly has a wealth of patience not just money although he seems to have a fair bit of that too In spite of the fact that Seb and Alex have very different backgrounds there s much about what Alex is facing that Seb understands and has dealt with in his own way.Alex for me was a little of a challenge to warm up to There were times that he seemed to be blowing hot and cold in rapid succession, but all things considered it made sense This is a young man all of 22 years old and while in many ways he s very mature for his age, he s also dealing with a lot of pressures both externally and internally He s one of a handful of Latino hockey players in the NHL and this my friends is very much based on fact I spent a few minutes on google and as near as I could ascertain there are maybe 6 players who are Latino in the NHL out of a total of 713 players 31 teams each allowed 23 players on their active roster if I was a Latino playing in the NHL I d find that to be than a little bit intimidating add in his family and team dynamics and running hot and cold would be the least of my issues hell, I d just be running So at the end of the day when I sat back and tried to imagine the pressures of being Alex well all I can say is he s one brave young man and he really deserves to have a Seb in his life.And that was when I fell a little bit in love with this story when I sat back and looked at it objectively or at least as objectively as any of us can Sure there were some quirks and quarks that maybe would have worked better if they were a little different but at the end of the day maybe not I don t know I do know that as it stands this story was sweet and these two characters worked Initially the attraction felt very lust at first sight but truthfully, I m ok with that I ve even ok with the fact that the connection between Seb and Alex came from the little things the kisses, the touches, the quiet talks, the small gestures that showed their support of each other and the big gestures.I also really liked getting to see Henry and I m so freakin happy that he s getting his own story and we ll get to hopefully share in some happiness for him because damn, if he doesn t deserve some happy I m not sure who does now with any luck after Henry we ll get Colorado s story because ain t no one going to convince me there s not one hella good story waiting to be told about that boy An ARC of Across the Pond was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review. I don t know just what Sebastian Brown s official occupation title is perhaps I just missed it , social media expert extraordinaire, PR, image consultant, whatever the official wordage is, the Raptors are in desperate need of his services Personally, I m still in complete awe of Scott Locey being able to showcase a team that came from such horrible history in their Harrisburg Railers series and make them the heroes of their own series, for me that is just another example of not only their individual talents but also their storytelling chemistry.Alejandro Garcia, Alex, is a man twisted inside over who he lets his family see, who he lets his teammates see, who he lets the Raptors fans see, and who he really is The fight to keep them separate and all in their place is beginning to take its toll on him and his playing Meeting Seb only stirs the inner pot but maybe he s actually the right ingredient that s been missing to make it all come together For that you have to read for yourself and trust me you won t be disappointed.One thing I loved and it is a minor point, only a few scenes really but they stood out for me and that is the connection between Seb and Jason, co owner of the team who brought Seb in to work his magic We learn that Jason went to school for a time in England and that is how they met and it is the scenes that show Jason using British English and slang from his time there Now I have never been to the UK but it is near the top of my bucket list but I have been watching British television shows and movies pretty much my whole life, first on the local PBS stations when I was little and then with the explosion of digital and streaming services, it s safe to say that 75% of what I watch is from across the pond see what I did there Even though I have never been there I often use British terminology so those Jason Seb moments were an added bonus for me.As for Alex s family, well a couple of them are complete and total gems that I just want to give them a huge Mama Bear hug and then there a few who I really just want to whack sense into them and by whack I mean that quite literally and then never speak to again I really don t know how Seb can be so civil to them but that is probably down to his occupation than anything else I wish I could be like Seb but my Irish German Dutch temper is on the line of Alex so I have very little patience for people like those in his family I wanted to whack sense into.On paper, Seb and Alex shouldn t work but once you get to know them there is no doubts whatsoever that they are a perfect fit By perfect I don t mean all unicorns and roses When I think of perfect fit in relationships I think of fighting and making up, arguing and hugging, or what I have recently come to label snark and cuddle Not to throw around cliche s but they really do complete each other This isn t spoiling anything because Across the Pond isn t a question of HEA, the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs, the meat and potatoes of the story is in the journey getting from page one to the last.One last note if you are wondering about reading order I highly suggest reading Coast to Coast first For the main purpose as to see how the friendships between Alex, Ryker, and Henri formed but also to see just what happened to Henri For me, the Arizona Raptors all of Scott Locey s hockey series Harrisburg Railers Owatonna U are all part of an ongoing saga where each entry is just that much better having known the previous ones This is just my opinion because you won t be lost if you don t read in order of publication, the authors recap just enough to keep the reader up to date. I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads This is the second book in the series, but closely linked to the other two joint hockey series by this talented duo of authors I would recommend them all to you and would certainly suggest that you read the first Raptors book, so that you understand the environment and team that you are reading about here Alex is an NHL anomaly as a tall, talented Latino hockey player As we discover, he is subject to considerable racial abuse from fans and opponents whilst in player mode, but even in his daily life he deals with unwarranted racial slurs He has learned to behave calmly and allows it to pass over him as best he can It is a reminder of how the world remains an unequal place for many The fact that he is fairly certain he is attracted to men not women is something that he can never imagine revealing to anyone, so his whole life is based on a falsehood I found the passages where he thinks about his different selves engaging as he travels from one environment to another hugely compelling The good news is that he does get some peace in his life, but he definitely has to fight for it, even against himself Seb comes to the Raptor team as a favour to part owner Jason, to see if he can turn it around He plans on hanging around for a few months to try and revitalise the business and give the team a chance to continue playing into the future Whilst reviewing the details of the squad he is blown away by his attraction to Alex, and irrespective of boundaries, cannot help but hope to get to know him better And so starts a journey for both men that is led by the confident, out and proud Seb, and the very uncertain Alex It is full of all the very best elements of a team the caring for each other, the cheekiness, but the loyalty, and the desire to win I thought this was a lovely romance surrounded by some serious issues, and doing both of them justice I am looking forward to seeing what happens next clearly Henry is due some good fortune soon. This is another solid installment to this series, although this one doesn t see very much ice time Seb has come from England to lend his skills to college friend and co owner of the Raptors in an attempt to better their public image as they continue with their rebuild He brings with him his British flair and hits the ground running with the idea of using the rising star rookies as the new face of the Raptors Between the three Ryker, Alejandro and Colorado , it is Alejandro who catches Seb s eye On the outside, he seems like the perfect man for the job.Unfortunately, Alex is not the confident outgoing man he appears to be He is hiding the big secret which, in and of itself, would be a big thing However, for Alex, it is much bigger due to the fact that he comes from a very large, close knit, religious Mexican family His biggest fear is that he will lose the family he relies so heavily on if they find out Little by little though, it is eating away at him and starting to affect his entire life, including his hockey Needless to say, he has no interest in becoming the face of the Raptors.The turning point for Alex is the appearance of Seb As much as he doesn t want to like him, he is drawn right away, the attraction undeniable Seb doesn t push, allowing Alex to go at his own pace but supportive nonetheless It is clear that he only ever wants what is best for Alex There is also the issue of Seb only being in the US for a few months while he is helping the team But, things don t drag out too long and while things don t go as well as one would hope, Alex had the support of his siblings and Abuela who were total rock stars in my book.As with the previous books, this was a thoroughly enjoyable installment with appearances by the teammates, etc to make it even entertaining As always, I m left looking forward to the next one Review written for Love Bytes Reviews. I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads This is the story of the relationship that develops between Sebastian, the Raptors new business consultant and Alex, a closeted hockey player The chemistry between these two is instant but their complicated lives make an actual relationship feel impossible When we first meet Alex, he is trapped between worlds He s a Latino hockey player in a very white sport He s a gay man in a conservative Catholic family Alex doesn t quite fit anywhere and he s exhausted by all the pretending I think Alex s personal journey is the best part of this story When we first meet Seb, he s confident and comfortable in his skin We don t see the same growth in Seb as we do in Alex Seb is a solid, supportive presence in the story but this is mostly the story of Alex growing into himself I really enjoyed the characters and I like the focus on Alex s experiences with his Mexican American family but I felt like the pacing was a bit wonky in this book I feel like some of Alex s decisions were completely unexpected and didn t quite fit his character We get snapshots of moments in his life but not always the ones which would have made readers understand him fully The end comes too soon and too easily the tidy HEA tacked on at the end doesn t sit well with the complicated romance that comes before it So far the Raptors books haven t captured my imagination or my heart quite the same way the Railers books did I like the slow team rebuilding happening in the background of these books but I feel like the books are missing a bit of the magic that made the previous two series really special. Across the Pond is the second book in the Arizona Raptors series, a tie in to the Harrisburg Railers and Owatonna U series As part of the continuing efforts of the owners and coaching staff to turn the Raptors around, Sebastian Brown is brought over from England to raise the team s media profile and is immediately bowled over by gorgeous 22 year old player Alejandro Garcia, thinking he would be the perfect poster boy to repair the team s tarnished image Alex loves his close kind Catholic family, but struggles with the toxic machismo so many Latino males grow up with and is absoulutely terrified about coming out to his family Alex copes by acting cocky, macho, and above all straight Fuck I so hated this Hating it didn t keep me from doing it, though I wiggled into the skin of a straight Latino man, pasted on the smile the ladies liked, and sauntered into party central But no matter what he does, sexy and foreign and whiskery Sebastian intrigues him and once Alex admits to himself that he is gay, his relationship with Sebastian very slowly evolves as he tentatively explores his sexuality There are kisses, frottage and a sexy shower scene, but Alejandro still has a firm grasp on his v card.The plot also keeps us up to date on Ryker, their goalie Colorado Penn, Henry recovering from a horrific car accident and Sebastian s efforts to rehabiliate their image I like the character development of the secondary characters who I imagine will soon star in their own books in the Arizona Raptors series and the glimpses into Alejandro s strong family, but around 75% through the book view spoiler the plot takes a turn in my opinion that feels way too abrupt and harsh Alex s announcement of his sexuality is way too sudden and ill conceived Finally the epilogue starts with a very passionate scene showing that Sebastian and Alex have definitely progressed beyond blow jobs and frottage, but given the way the authors carefully unfold Alex s acceptance of his sexuality, it all feels too rushed and without the emotional background that gets the characters to this stage hide spoiler I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.Sebastian travels from England to Arizona to help get the Raptors image back on track But Sebastian has his eyes on Alex before he even arrives in America It isn t long before Alex notices the hot Englishman around the rink The problem is Alex is very firmly in the closest.A lot of this story revolves around Alex and coming to terms with his sexuality and trying to decide if he should come out He is terrified of the reaction from his traditional catholic Mexican American family if they find out he is gay I really felt Alex s stress and terror about people learning about his sexuality I loved the way that Sebastian support Alex all the way and never pushed him to do than he was ready or be anything but who he is The is really good chemistry between the couple but I would have liked to have seen a bit of the romance between the two of them and experience of them falling in love I guess I just wanted I really liked the way the story ended and I felt like Alex had really grown up and I was left with warm, happy feelings This gets a solid 3 stars from me.