Title: His Convenient Husband (Love and Sports: Book One)
Author: Robin Covington
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Length: 202 Pages
At a Glance: His Convenient Husband is a sweet romance and is sure to delight the dreamer in us all.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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 and loud, 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.
Review: Isaiah lost the one love of his life, and vowed never to get close enough to anyone else to have to endure that pain again. So, the last thing he expected was the physical and emotional reaction he had to the hot ballet star his artistic teenage son worshiped. When Isaiah and Evan attended the performance featuring Victor Aleksandrov, Isaiah was stunned at how beautiful the man was, and entranced by how kind he was to Evan. He was gorgeous eye candy, but nothing more. Or so Isaiah had himself convinced.
Victor was not only on tour, dancing in the U.S., but also seeking asylum from his homophobic country, for he knew that returning there once his visa expired meant, essentially, a death sentence for him. He used every photo opportunity to speak out on the injustices and crimes being committed against the gay community in Russia, which made him an automatic target should he return there. Needless to say, when Isaiah caught his eye, Victor was ready for anything the professional football player wanted to give—even if it was a casual one-night stand. What neither man planned on was Victor’s request for asylum being denied, nor the shattering reality of the consequences that presented for Victor.
Isaiah was never impulsive. He was out to his fans but quietly reserved about discussing his sexuality, which he felt was no one’s business but his own. Since the death of his husband he has barely dated, so imagine the surprise of the entire world when Isaiah Blackwell announced he was marrying Victor. The two men had struck a bargain; they would live as a married couple long enough for Victor to gain citizenship and secure his future. What neither intended on was the growing realization that the contrived marriage they’d agreed upon could be more than in name only. But Victor pined for the reality of a real home and a lasting love, while Isaiah ran from it with everything he was worth. He simply could not expose himself or Evan to losing someone they loved again… Or, could he?
Author Robin Covington offers up a sweet romance in her latest release, His Convenient Husband. Both Victor and Isaiah have good reason to avoid being involved with another man and opening themselves up to the reality of possible failure or rejection. Victor, in particular, truly longs to have a family again, especially since he was forced to leave his own when he became a dancer in training in Russia. But it’s Isaiah who really balks at the idea that he will ever love again, as he did his first husband. The incredible sense of loss haunts him daily, and he can’t even bring himself to think of any other man sharing his life. The two men live inside their own heads way too much and, over and over again, Isaiah fails to see how hurtful his comments and decisions are to Victor, especially when it comes to accusing Victor of failing to shield Evan from the spotlight that seems to follow Victor everywhere.
It is fascinating and frustrating to watch Isaiah fumble his way through this novel. He is actually desperate for someone to fill the void left by his deceased husband, but too busy denying those feelings. He misconstrues shielding Evan with the reality that he has, in actuality, been denying the fact that his gender-bending son has already endured large doses of a homophobic world thrown in his face. When he is confronted with the fact that Evan has been dealing with racist homophobes at school, Isaiah realizes just how much he has failed to see while wrapped up in his own grief. The tender scene that then follows between he and his son, that morphs from an angry confrontation, is really lovely to read.
I think there are really only two elements to this story that made me question the author’s choices. The first was Isaiah continually thinking of Victor as his husband. I understood completely why that was done, for the sake of the press and to fool others when they were out in public, but Isaiah’s internal dialogue always had him calling Victor husband as well. I felt that was in direct conflict with how he actually felt and what he was fighting against throughout a good portion of the novel. It got to the point where, in my opinion, it was a bit overdone with references to “my husband” constantly surfacing in Isaiah’s inner monologues. The only other trouble I had with this story was the quick resolution of the final conflict between our two main characters. Some fairly damning and harsh statements were leveled by Isaiah, the final salvo of which would be the reason for Victor to flee to New York earlier than expected. Even though it was well established that Victor loved Isaiah deeply by that point, the way in which he glibly forgave the man was a bit too easy and hard to swallow.
In the end, however, the redeeming qualities of this lovely romance outnumbered the problems and made the story one that fans of second chances and romance will really enjoy. Robin Covington presents two strong men who find in each other a safe place to call home. His Convenient Husband is a sweet romance and is sure to delight the dreamer in us all.
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