Review: The Brick Yard by Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound
Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out Now
“For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage. On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard. Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addict mother made it too dangerous to return home.
Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted. Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.
With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?”
I wasn’t really feeling the UFC angle here and I guess I’d classify it more a MMA-lite story than anything. Although their world revolves around the fighting there just wasn’t enough details for me to really be invested in that aspect of the story .I also was surprised to see Dray leave that world he loved so desperately when he was outed without any kind of fight. I think length restrictions here impeded a lot of Dray’s history and
character as the focus seemed to be more on Lucky.
I liked that the men knew each other when they were younger but the time jump that lead to Dray watching fight videos of Lucky and then crushing him didn’t really feel authentic. Although Lucky’s feelings for Dray when he was younger did translate well as he aged.
The men had some good chemistry but the relationship dynamics were a bit skewed because a kind of virulent jealousy reared its ugly head several times and that made me wonder if they have a strong foundation to build on. I did like the stories that were surrounding the MCs and their romance. A bit gritty and bittersweet but that worked for me. Their desire to help the man who was always there for them was touching. They, in turn, looking for ways to pay it forward within their community touched me as well.
Although it provided a hot and steady chemistry with interesting characters I found the pacing didn’t quite work for me and that combined with a few dropped threads (what happened with Dray’s farmhouse that he was stressing over?) and a shaky relationship foundation resulted in a read that didn’t engage me.
I’m giving The Brick Yard a C-