Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: In the Penalty Box by Riley Shane

Title: In the Penalty Box
Author: Riley Shane
Series: Seattle Marauders, Book 2
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 5 March 2012
For four years, writer Landon Quinn has struggled to forget the one night he spent with Seattle Marauders defenseman Gregory Samson. Then Landon's life takes an unexpected turn, and he finds himself back in Seattle and face-to-face with the man who broke his heart.

Samson doesn't know what he did to run Landon off all those years ago, but he's sure Landon's leaving was for the best. The bright, beautiful young man Landon had once been was far too adoring, far too open, for the closeted hockey player's peace of mind. The intervening years have only made Landon an even sexier temptation -- and Landon's return presents Samson with a whole new set of problems.

Attraction sizzles between them, but having been burned once by Samson has left Landon twice shy. Even as Samson convinces Landon to let him out of the penalty box and into his life, Samson has to face the fact that his closely guarded secrets may come to light. Caught between the ghosts of his past and the promise of a future with Landon, the hockey star must decide if now that he's come off the bench, he's ready to come out of the closet.
After having read, and loved, the first book in this series (Two-Man Advantage) I was eagerly anticipating reading more. In the Penalty Box doesn't disappoint.
Landon became one of my all-time favorite characters from the very beginning. He hooked me in with his open, giving personality. I loved how he was willing to take a chance, even if it meant he might get hurt worse than he ever had before. His understanding and willingness to work with Samson on his own issues just strengthened the love I had for Landon.

Samson took me a little longer to warm up to. Mostly because I was pissed at him for what he did to Landon in the prologue. And what a gut-wrenching scene that was. Samson doesn't say a single word until the very end of it. And then it's the one thing that would hurt above all others. But Samson definitely grew on me and it didn't take me long to love him too. His reasons for staying in the closet were not only understandable, but heartbreaking. It added layers to him that I wasn't expecting at first. Plus the way that he absolutely adored Landon endeared him to me. When he decides that he can't live without Landon, I'm hooked into their HEA and have no doubts they'll make it. And the scene where Samson 'comes out' to his best friend - one of my absolute favorites, it was so well written.
There are some dark moments for the characters and, I admit, I wondered how this was going to end happily, but Riley Shane not only pulled it off, she had me grinning with joy by the end. I also really liked how Landon's family and the rest of the team were important parts of the story. They added so much, and rounded out the relationships. Neither man was an island and that made their coming together that much more believable.
Riley Shane is one of those few writers that can create characters that not only can I root for, but that feel real - who make mistakes and great accomplishments. Her writing has a depth that pulls you into the story and makes you lose time while devouring it. I've enjoyed each book I've read by her, and am definitely eagerly anticipating more. Highly recommended!!
Grade: A+
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