Release Review: Rites of Passage: Catherine Gayle

Rites of Passage (Tulsa Thunderbirds #4)
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Expected November 10, 2016

Where do you go once you’ve hit rock bottom?

With his world already in shambles, Andrew Nash’s life plummets even further after a freak accident on the ice exposes his deepest secret. Still unsure if he should ever return to the game he’s devoted his life to, the future Thunderbirds captain knows he isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel. Meeting a talented and sexy artist changes everything for Drew.

But Ravyn Penn’s past is darker than his, and her wounds cut deeper. Drew’s looking forward, but Ravyn is stuck dwelling over a life that leaves her guilt-ridden and full of regret.

Drew’s a fighter, and he knows they need to claw their way out of the past—together—even when the future promises no guarantees. But can Ravyn let go and blindly trust him—taking a rite of passage through the darkness—to find the life they both deserve?
Drew Nash is already facing some challenges and the whole world is now privy to his secret. He has been struggling and in a dark place, but his friends and team mates are determined to kick his butt and get him back to living his life. His newest challenge is a woman in his support group. Her appearance is quite vibrant, but she would like to shrink into the background and keep people away. Ravyn Penn is in an even darker place and has more issues than Drew...and really has limited support.

They have a passionate encounter, but then she shuts him down. He chases, she resists, then lets herself get caught.  But she is all about getting physical and not being emotional. She is guarded and depressed. She has secrets, guilt, shame, regret, and poor coping strategies. But eventually Drew begins to start chipping away at her walls and getting her to slowly open up.

Both have been broken and in desperate places. Both have closed themselves off and tried to hide. She especially is a runner, and he also has been avoiding making a big decision. She doesn't like him pushing, but at the same time secretly likes he cares. They make each other feel alive. They challenge each other. He encourages her to unlock her secrets and wants to help her heal. She's not used to anyone really caring that much or wanting to be with her.

They both are flawed and fighting demons. But is it easier to fight with a partner?

This is not a quick or easy process. Her issues are harder to deal with. But gradually Drew begins to get in there and help her believe and trust. He just wants to help her deal with her past in more positive ways so she can move on, hopefully with him. It was interesting seeing these two who were totally not looking for love unexpectedly fall into such a connection and realize that maybe they could actually hope for something more out of life.

Drew was so sweet, patient, and protective of her. He was really her knight-in-slightly-dented-armor, but he was determined to break down her walls and keep her in his life.

Ravyn was fragile and plagued by guilt, loneliness, and unhappiness.  But she had an inner strength and the potential to thrive with support and understanding.

They seemed opposite in some ways, but were alike in others. They had great chemistry and I loved seeing them become more attached. Even though they were a 
bit addicted to each other it was healthier in that they were also a support, sounding board, and cheerleader when needed.

I enjoyed this installment and liked this couple. It was told in dual points of view. Many of the series characters made appearances from previous stories and I enjoyed catching up with them.  I really liked Ethan "Huggy Bear" Higgins and I am looking forward to his story in Rain Dance. And a new team mate was introduced near the end and it sounds like he might bring more drama the Thunderbirds way.

This was a story of finding love, hope, and healing when least expected. They had potential to fall deeper into distress if they could not be pulled out of their darkness. These two had challenges and struggles, but they weren't quite as debilitating when they had someone to lean on. They needed to not be afraid to fall or break, and to believe that someone would be there to catch them if they did. 

I felt like Catherine Gayle took a very current and sensitive subject and spread light on it. She educated in a gentle way, but made her points. The dedication of this book touched my heart because I was equally inspired by the person she dedicated it to. I applaud her for taking on this subject and doing her part to increase awareness and show that it does not have to stop life and love.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Bury the Hatchet (Tulsa Thunderbirds #1)

He was poised to be an elite goalie for a contending team.

Hunter Fielding has long since proven himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. The problem? His former team had another (slightly better) backstop. They left Hunter out to dry, the upstart Tulsa Thunderbirds claimed him in the expansion draft, and he made a few stupid comments about backasswards Oklahomans. Now the T-Birds say the only way he can redeem himself is to make nice for the media with some local goody two shoes who’s made some mistakes of her own.

Oklahoma’s sweetheart could do no wrong until she could do no right.

Tallulah Belle Roth was the reigning Miss Oklahoma USA until a night of out-of-control drinking, a naked foray in a hot tub with very bad boy, and a bunch of lowlights on TMZ. Now she’s been stripped of her crown and is facing the censure of the same people who made her out to be Little Miss Perfect. Tallie won’t ever get her title back, but her life is another matter—and the only way the public will allow her to do that is if she presents herself as happily settled with someone else under Oklahoma’s eye.

The marriage is to be in name only—one year of sickeningly-sweet lovey-dovey PDA, all to get their detractors to bury the hatchet. Those kisses and tender moments for the cameras take an emotional toll, though. Can in name only be enough?

Smoke Signals (Tulsa Thunderbirds #2)

Desperation changes a person. Leads them to do things they never would have dreamed.

Thanks to his mother, Ray “Razor” Chambers knows what desperation can lead a person to do. But as a defenseman for the Tulsa Thunderbirds, those days are long in the past for both of them. His best buddy is about to get hitched in Vegas when a woman whose eyes are filled with an all-too-familiar haunted look approaches Razor. She makes him a proposition, and he knows he’s witnessing yet another act borne of desperation.

Viktoriya Dubrovskaya knows all about desperation, too. She came to America to study ballet and escape a fate no one should have to bear. She can never go home again. She’s broke and broken, not to mention in survival mode. Viktoriya turned to the only help offered, but in the end it stripped her of everything she was and all she wanted. Now she’s out of time, money, and options…until she sees Razor.

There’s no chance he’ll take her up on what she’s offering, but he suggests a counter-proposal—one involving a ring, a green card, and the chance to reclaim her body. It’s an opportunity she can’t pass up, but for Viktoriya and Razor, learning to live together as husband and wife is as foreign as interpreting Smoke Signals. And where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

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Kim's 4.5+ star review

The best night of Dmitri Nazarenko’s life quickly turned into the worst night of his life. In a few short hours, he went from winning hockey’s Holy Grail to making a decision that nearly ended both his best friend’s life and his own. They each still bear scars, but some wounds never heal. Dima’s body is now a shrine to his memories, with a beard meant to hide ugly scars and tattoos designed to prevent ever forgetting the mistakes he’s made.

London Hawke knows all about incurable injuries, but she’s never let hers get in the way of living her life. Seeing a man haunted by the ghosts of his past is a surefire way to trigger her annoyance, and that’s exactly what she finds in Dima. He’s able-bodied, but he acts like he should be the one in the wheelchair instead of her. Someone needs to slap some sense into him, but London doesn’t want to be that someone even if it’s fun to butt heads with him when they face off.

Trading barbs leads first to flirtation and then to dancing between the sheets. London won’t accept sharing the bed with his past for long, but Dima can’t remember how to live in the here and now. He’ll have to figure it out or London will leave him to dance with his ghosts alone. 
Catherine Gayle

Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five contemporary hockey romance and Regency-set historical romance novels and novellas. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.
If you want to know more, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. She can also be found at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.


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