Title: The Brick Yard
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound
Pages/Word Count: 203 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage.
On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard.
Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addict mother made it too dangerous to return home.
Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted.
Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.
With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.
Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?
Review: Carol Lynne has written so many different books it would seem that she has covered every sub-genre there is in M/M romance. I mean, there have been shifters, cowboys, bikers, poker players, and now MMA fighters. I am not usually a big fan of books with fighters, but it was Carol Lynne, so I decided I had to give this one a chance. Not only was the fighting handled well, but this story turned out to be simply amazing.
This book is filled with some very real, down to earth, gruff men who practice that old school version of tough love. I adored the MCs, Lucky and Dray, but Tony Brick really ends up being the star of this book. In a low income neighborhood in Chicago, Tony opened up a gym. You know the type of gym, where boxers train and fighters are born? Yeah, that’s what Tony has, not some gym full of treadmills and weight machines.
One other thing The Brick Yard provides is a little less known outside of his circle of friends. Tony has this habit of taking in kids who need a helping hand, a break from their abusive homes, or just a safe place to sleep. He had some partners in crime who helped him out also. Flint and Mac helped the kids out in their own way also.
Lucky Gunn was one of those boys who needed a safe place to sleep and a break from an abusive home. He started training with Tony when he was about sixteen years old, and he also put the storage room to good use when he needed a place to sleep. While training at The Brick Yard, Lucky watched Dray train and fight, and that was when he realized that not only was he gay but he was completely infatuated with Dray. When Dray’s sexual orientation is exposed, Dray quits fighting, quits the gym and leaves town. Lucky is devastated, but he holds Dray’s last piece of advice close to his heart for years, and it damn near costs him everything.
Due to the abuse Lucky suffered his entire childhood, he uses the cage as a way to vent his frustrations, and he uses Tony Brick as a surrogate father. When said father admits to having terminal cancer, Lucky reaches out to Dray for help, even though he hasn’t seen or spoken to the man in eight years. Dray loves Brick as much as Lucky does, so there is no way he can stay away if he is needed. He’s just going to have to figure out how to be around Lucky without ruining the man’s chances at a career in MMA the way Dray’s career was tanked when his own secret was revealed.
Dray tries his best to keep distance between himself and Lucky, but that doesn’t last for long. Soon they are involved, and Dray finds himself falling in love with Lucky. Lucky, however, has never had love and doesn’t know how to show it let alone recognize it. The closer Dray and Lucky get, the more Dray finds out about Lucky’s past and the more he realizes Lucky needs help. He knows it’s going to take a lot of work to get Lucky to do the right thing, but he also knows that it is going to be so worth it when Lucky decides to work through his issues.
Carol Lynne worked her magic with words yet again in this story. I found myself drawn in immediately, and I didn’t stop reading until the book was finished. Dray and Lucky were both damaged in their own ways, but they weren’t broken. Their healing came from more than one place, and that made it so much more believable for me. Lucky began to find his path by helping a young man who sought help at The Brick Yard, and Dray found his purpose through Lucky. There was no quick fix, no magical cupcake, or any of the other easy peasy things that we see so much of in books. These two men had to put in some blood, sweat, and tears to get to their happy ending, and it was a journey that I would take with them anytime.