NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.
Brash, loud, and gender fluid Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.
Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary… until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe… marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.
This was a bit more substantive story than I’d originally pictured. First, Isaiah is still pining for his dead husband, so that colors his “now” quite a bit. Second, Victor’s stance against Russia is a bit more political than just a story hurdle. Third, Victor’s “outness” is mirrored by Isaiah’s son’s own desires and it becomes something between father and son as well as between the two husbands.
On the one hand I wish Victor had been more Russian – besides his name there wasn’t a lot about him that felt like he was in fact from another country.
It sounds silly, but Isaiah and Evan and Ian – these names were all so easy to get confused over. I’d have chosen differently.
Victor and Isaiah’s chemistry was good and the difficulties facing their marriage was handled well. I did get tired of Isaiah’s reluctance after awhile, but I was glad when he finally does acknowledge that risk is part of loving.
Evan was awesome and Ian bugged me a lot – but maybe that’s just his job? I never warmed up to either MC as much as I wanted to and as a result I wasn’t that enthralled with the book. It was pretty good, but not great.
I’d recommend this to fans of bi-racial couples, “must get married” trope, opposites attract and single parent romances.
3.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review