Title: Training Season
Author: Leta Blake
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Run Time: 12 hours and 12 minutes
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: There is just so much about this book to love. Michael Ferraiuolo is definitely a narrator I will look for again. His ability to weave a story through a multitude of voices and impeccable delivery was first rate and worth a repeat performance.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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?
Review: The Story: Matty is recovering from an injury and defeat at his first Olympic outing. He is determined to return to the spotlight and capture the gold, no matter what the cost. His family has sacrificed a great deal to support him, and while his being out and proud doesn’t help his standings in the skating world, it’s his brash attitude and unwillingness to listen to his coaches that hurts him even more. But his take-no-prisoners attitude on the ice hides a real insecurity beneath—one that, more than anything else, has kept him from achieving his goals. When he takes a lucrative job in Montana that will enable him to pay for a top coach, little does he suspect that he will find more to do than skate and feed the horses. His neighbor is quite the surprise, and gay to boot.
Rob Lovely knows two things right off the bat: Matty is gorgeous and bound to break his heart. Regardless of that, he is drawn to the skater who speaks to his dominant side. Before the snow can settle on the pasture, these two men are heating up the countryside together. Despite the stated assurance that they both know Matty will be leaving at the end of his housesitting stint, Matty and Rob fall in love. But the Olympics are calling, and Matty refuses to throw the chance for the medal away despite his feelings for Rob. The real question is, can Rob wait until Matty fulfills his dreams to finally have the man he loves?
There is just so much about this book to love. Rob is gorgeous. His personality, his patience and his intuitiveness made him so attractive a character. Matty was a wounded bird in so many ways. Tortured by his own self-loathing and insecurities, it just broke the heart to see him seemingly throw away a chance at happiness with Rob for something he seemed to hate more than love—namely, a medal. Training Season is a story that draws you in and wrings out your heart, over and over again.
The Narration: I was immediately struck by this narrator, primarily due to his voice being nearly perfectly matched to the main character in the story. With his normal tone slightly higher pitched than other artists I am familiar with, the crisp, clear delivery was spot on and, at times, there was a hint of sarcasm inherent in his cadence which really embodied Matty’s personality and lent an air of authenticity to the performance. There was definite sass sprinkled in his prose passages that made them stand out. This extra attention to detail made it feel as though Matty was speaking throughout the story, and not just during his dialogue bits.
I was also greatly impressed by Mr. Ferraiuolo’s ability to differentiate the various voices—particularly the women—as this was a large cast of characters, and each one most definitely had their own pitch and delivery style. But it was Rob’s sexy, low voice that was equally outstanding to me. I fell in love with Matty and Rob all over again, simply due to how Mr. Ferraiuolo brought the two men to life with his vocal talents. Honestly, this man’s voice gave me shivers during the intimate passages in this novel, and it was really stunning how the narrator was able to create both sexual tension and that necessary domineering tone with just a mere variation in tone and speed of delivery.
Michael Ferraiuolo is definitely a narrator I will look for again. His ability to weave a story through a multitude of voices and impeccable delivery was first rate and worth a repeat performance.
You can buy Training Season here: