Monday, June 29, 2015

Reviews: Black Jack Gentleman Series by Liz Crowe

Book Title: Man On. Book 1 in Black Jack Gentleman Series
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release Date: August 10, 2013

Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.

Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.

Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.

All eyes are on the fledgling team in its debut season. It’s crucial that the Black Jacks prove all the doubters wrong. They must make a good showing in the league and with new fans. But player drama, club dynamics, and misplaced priorities may tear it apart before it even begins.

Book Title: Red Card, Book 2 in Series
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release Date: August 2013

Free will makes us human.

Choice makes us individuals.

Love makes us unique.

Metin Sevim has it all. At the pinnacle of international soccer playing success, he has managed to craft a perfect world for himself along the way.

When fate strips him of free will and the ability to choose his own path, he retreats from everyone and everything, destroying his hard-won career in the process.

Dragged back from the brink by his desperate family, Metin reluctantly agrees to coach the Black Jack Gentlemen Detroit soccer team but remains debilitated by memories and loss. When a surprising friendship emerges, it renews his passion for life, providing much needed solace… and extreme complications.

A saga of family dynamics and gender politics that cuts across cultures and circumstance, Red Card illustrates the human capacity for forgiveness through the life of one man as he attempts to rebuild his shattered existence.

Book Title: Shut Out
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release date: September 2013

A submissive once, a submissive forever?

A man on the run from the only life he’s ever known, Brody Vaughn is poised to accept the Black Jack Gentleman’s newly vacant goalkeeper’s position. It’s a desperate move, but one he must take to regain his emotional equilibrium. Reeling from his Mistress’s rejection and on the ragged edge of a total breakdown, he arrives in Detroit. Numb with thinly veiled grief, he walks into the club’s front office completely unaware that an encounter with true destiny awaits him.

Sophie Harrison has seen it all--as Domme, sub, and victim. Now that her complicated circumstances have landed her as legal counsel for the expansion Black Jacks team, she holds herself aloof in body and spirit. Nothing and no one gets past her fiercely guarded walls. Until the day she looks up to greet the new goalie standing in her doorway, his raw combination of vulnerability and strength making her breathless.

Two people, horribly scarred by the excesses of the BDSM lifestyle and hiding from their true selves, meet across a desk over a simple contract. All bets are off.

Each of these books is a quick read. They all have the same base plot revolving around the Black Jack Soccer team and its players. But each story differs from teh previous with a subplot revolving around one or more of the characters. 

Man On, the first book in the series, introduces us to the team, and also the main characters for the book, Parker and Nicco.  Nicco is the bad boy of Soccer, and found his way onto the Black Jacks because it had become his only option if he wanted to continue the game.  But What Nicco really needs is to figure out his life and work on  himself.  Parker gave up everything in his life to continue with his dream, to be a pro-soccer player.  He's also coming to terms with other things in his life. 

Parker and Nicco had a lot of struggles, both individually and together.  Their story wasn't always easy, but it was real, and it showed a lot of changes and growth for both of them.  There were also a few twists, I did not see coming which added an alternative angle to the overall story and made it richer. 

Red Card, book two in the series, took a way different turn from book one.  First it took us back to before parts of book one to give us the full story.   Red Card is so many things, its a story of second chances, both for people and relationships. It's an emotionally charged story of picking up the pieces after your life has been shattered and you find yourself wondering if there is anything left to live for. 

Metin suffered devestating losses and lost himself to booze and drugs, but an unlikely person finally draws him out of himself and gets him to clean up his act and try to find a way to carry on.  Moving to the states and taking over as Coach is just the start to turning things around. 

Melanie hasn't had an easy life, and she's not always the nicest of persons. But something forces her to put aside her personal feelings and attempt to get Metin back on a respectable path.  It was hard for me to like Melanie because of her behaviors in the book from the past and present parts of the story. It really took most of the book for her to grow on me.  I understood, in a way, why she was the way she was, but it felt a bit excessive at times and things she did just made me mad.  

In the end, Metin and Melanie are able to work things out and I was happy to see him get a Happy ending. 

Shut Out is book 3 in the series. Again we find ourselves with a different set of characters, not just in name, but in personalities and the sub plot changes.  

Sophie is working as part of the legal team for the Black Jacks and in doing so she meets with lots of the teams players while going over contracts or other legal necessities.  She's also got a secret second job.  Sophie has has been through a lot and her past has shaped her into who she is.  

Brody is struggling to get over changes in his life, the most prominent being the loss of his partner, though she was more than that.  He sees something in Sophie though and the two have an almost instant connection. 

Since they've both been through heartbreaking struggles, its takes a while for them to really open themselves up.  There are a lot of things that happened in this story that bothered me, either made me confused, angry, or just left feeling emotionally raw.  I like when a book can pull strong emotions out of me, but I was also happy to find some sort of resolution at the end. 

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