Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don't come cheap, and Matty can't afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
I am a huge figure skating fan, so when I saw this book come up on NetGalley, I jumped on it. It didn’t take me too long to figure out the main character, Matty, is inspired by Johnny Weir--one of my all time favorite male skaters. It made me love the book a little bit more, actually. As soon as I finished reading, I hit up YouTube to re-watch some of Johnny’s best performances. No man has ever matched his artistry on the ice. But Matty isn’t Johnny, and this is fiction, so enough waxing poetic about J.W.
When the book opens, Matty is at a turning point in his career. Just coming of a disastrous performance at the Olympics and a rough injury, he retreats to Montana to get his head back on straight and focus on his comeback. Rob is the hot rancher next door, who in addition to being “practically perfect in every way” is also gay. I found the character of Matty to be well-rounded and full of depth and flaws. And while I liked Rob, he never felt real to me. He was too good, too sweet. It made the scenes where he plays the Dom unrealistic.
Yes, I did say Dom. Nowhere in this book description does it mention this is a BDSM relationship. Not that I mind reading about BDSM, but there were two things that Rob did that made me squeamish, and readers should be warned (The corn maze and the bathroom. That’s all I’ll say.). Other than those two things, I found the romance sweet and sensual. My favorite scene was one where Rob threw Matty into his jumps. I felt like I was there in this beautiful place, watching this beautiful love story play out.
The supporting characters were well-written. Elliot was a party boy with a heart. Bill and Angus were fabulous comic relief. Matty’s family were way more supportive than mine would have ever been. Even Rob’s ex-wife Anja was cool. In general, I’m not a fan of overly precocious children, so there were a few scenes where Rob’s son Ben bugged me, but he grew on me.
The best part of this book is the lesson it teaches about the balance of dreams and reality. It’s something I think we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Watching Matty learn it is rough, but necessary.
Overall, I give TRAINING SEASON...
Plot - 4/2 bookmarks
Character development - 4 bookmarks (Again, Rob needed to be a little more human, but Matty was fab!)
Love story - 5 bookmarks
Sex Scenes - 4 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Johnny Weir, of course (Matty), Alan Ritchson (Rob), Kevin McHale (Elliot), Michael Fassbender (Bill), Diana Argon (Anja)