Review: Enforcing Emory by Mickie B. Ashling
Publish Date: May 27, 2015
Reviewed by: Heller
How I got this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Olympic figure skater Emory Lowe falls in lust the moment he lays eyes on his new neighbor, hockey player Nikolai Vetrov. On the surface, Nik is a typical badass enforcer, intimidating and dangerous, on and off the ice. The only son of Ukrainian immigrants, Nik has been groomed from childhood to fulfill his father’s dreams of seeing him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Igor guides his son toward that goal with a controlling—and abusive—hand, steering him clear of anyone who might ruin his chances.
Although Emory is the US National Figure Skating champion, he’s in-your-face gay, and his audacious persona rubs Nik and his family the wrong way. Raised by supportive and loving parents, Emory is Nik’s polar opposite in every way but one—his desire to succeed. Underneath the fluff and glitter beats the heart of a fierce competitor, and this side of Emory’s personality begins to close the distance between the two athletes.
While the attraction is one-sided in the beginning, Nik finds himself responding to Emory’s flirting. But before the incongruous pair have a chance at any sort of relationship, they must survive the pressures of career, separation, and most importantly, Igor’s ruthless homophobia.
This was a lovely little sports romance, very Cutting Edge with a figure skater and a hockey player. I will say that it got off to a rough start for me but action ramped up quite quickly and I loved it.
Emory is cheeky and I loved his bold love of life and dedication to his sport. He exasperates his father but there’s a solid foundation of support and love there. This is in direct contrast to Nik’s upbringing. He’s drowning under the expectations and abuse his father puts on him. It was lovely to see him spread his wings a bit once he was on his own and away from his family. I enjoyed reading how Emory’s family basically just adopted him. Very sweet.
There was an interesting dynamic between Nik and Emory’s father Tom. The relationship which started out rough developed into a protective father/son one that I really enjoyed reading. Nik deserved that support from Emory’s family.
There’s a lot of back and forth between Emory and Nik. Great chemistry both on and off the ice and I liked that there were hints of both sports but the story wasn’t dominated by them. At its core it’s about these young men being influenced by each other, grounding each other…growing and changing and falling in love. Love is hard work but they’re athletes and that’s second nature to them.
The story gets very intense when Nik’s father Igor finds out his son is gay. Scary intense. Maybe a bit over the top but I ate it up with a spoon. This read had a great story with strong personalities both the main and secondary characters. The build-up of the relationship is tense and funny and sexy. I had a blast with this read and I’m going to go look for more from this author.
I’m giving Enforcing Emory a B+