Title: Enforcing Emory
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 226 Pages
At a Glance: Enforcing Emory is a sweet coming of age love story that is rich in detail and full of hope.
Reviewed By: Janet
Blurb: 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.
Review: One of the best things about this author is her abundant knowledge and her authenticity in developing her characters. I loved this story and it is in no small part due to the feeling of completeness I had throughout each step of the storyline.
Emory is a shining star in the world of men’s figure skating, a glittering star! He has qualified for the Olympic Games in Sochi, and has some intensive work to do to be ready. He has a new neighbour move in across the street who is a rough and tumble hockey player. They are at odds immediately, and their little conflicts continued throughout the story, much to my enjoyment. Nik is Ukrainian, by way of Canada, and starting on the Chicago Wolves as a junior on his first pro hockey team. Hopefully it is a stepping stone for him on his way to the majors.
Mickie B. Ashling has set the stage for a very emotional story that sucked me in and blew me away at the same time. There are so many layers of ideas and conflicts at play that the story should be jumbled – or awkward. But it isn’t. It is a sweet ride on a rollercoaster that grabbed my heart and tickled my brain. There is much humour in these pages, as well as some gentle pokes at our perceptions. There is also some intense action on the ice and some very scary moments of acute homophobia that made my skin crawl.
Mostly what there is is a sweet coming of age love story that is rich in detail and full of hope. You cannot help but feel for these young men, and hope for them, and worry for them, for they are real. Their characters are so well built that from the first page they are believable, and you are invested in their hopes and dreams immediately. One of the very best things about this author’s skill is that the supporting characters are fully fleshed out people who add so much depth to the overall story. Her world building is also strong; the characters live and play in real places that I can recognise. All of these factors help to make this novel resonate with the reader, and gives you a very satisfying reading experience.
I really can’t recommend this author highly enough. Every one of her stories is a delight to read, and Enforcing Emory is no exemption. The pace is quick and the story flows so well and so vividly that you are drawn into the world right along with the characters. There is no better feeling than finishing a book and knowing that you have been a part of a great story, carrying the world that you read about in your head and heart for days afterward. This is what a good author does, through skill and talent combined, and Mickie B. Ashling is a very good author indeed.
You can buy Enforcing Emory here: