Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Second Chance Romance
Release Date: 07.23.19
Cover Designer: Natasha Snow/http://natashasnow.com/
When your life revolves around a single goal, is there room for love?
Christian King is a rising star in English football. He’s talented, devoted, and on the road to glory. He’s following the path that’s been laid out for him since he was four, and he has no plans to deviate from it. Christian’s life revolves around a single goal—to be the best… until he runs into his first love and former best friend, David.
David Cade is just trying to survive the final year of his PhD intact, while battling long hours, unmotivated students, and the idea that academia might not be for him. But a chance encounter with his first love’s twin sister changes everything, and suddenly David is faced with the realisation that he can’t leave the past behind.
When David and Christian are drawn back together, sparks fly. Soon, Christian is forced to confront his deepest insecurities. Can they break away from their fears for a second chance at true love?
Breakaway is a 79,000 word contemporary gay romance featuring light angst, glittery bath bombs, a ginger-haired roommate/pet, shared Star Wars love, and a meddling twin sister.
Universal Book Link: http://mybook.to/breakaway
What if you’d never really moved on from your first love—that teenage boy you were certain you were in love with? And what if you saw him years later when you were a rising star in the sports world, closeted and set on a path you’re not sure you ever really wanted to be on but were still locked into despite your overwhelming fear you will never really measure up? Then what if you see that boy you loved and he has secretly never gotten over you either and is willing to take a chance—a second chance at making it work between you but you are buried so deep in the closet there is no way you ever think you will deserve this guy you love with all your heart?
Welcome to Christian King’s life. He is one of the best players in English football--destined for greatness—gay, in the closet, afraid, alone and unhappy. But he never really took the time to analyze any of those emotions because every time they got to be too big for him he simply shut them down or ran from the source. But David is back in his life and he doesn’t want to run any more. Christian wants a second chance but can’t find it in himself to feel that he deserves it. David is in it for the long haul. Closeted or not, surely Christian will eventually feel brave enough to come out—at least to his friends—surely they will not spend the rest of their lives being “just old football friends” to everyone while being lovers in the dark.
Charlie Novak has released the first in a new series entitled Breakaway. With everything from a closeted gay virgin to a second chance at love, this novel explores how to make a relationship work when one of the partners has no real clue as to what he wants but instead treads a path mapped out for him by a deceased father who was living his dreams through his own child. If Christian is not the perfect example of tortured soul I am not sure what is. He has lived his life locked into a “plan” of his father’s making by denying his emotions in order to become the world’s best footballer—all so he can live up to the dream his father had for him. That means hiding who he really is and refusing himself what he really wants which in this case is to love David. At first, David is patient but when Christian begins to really psych himself out and convince himself he is never going to be the person David deserves, David pushes Christian to choose—the sport or their relationship and he loses.
This is a slow moving romance and for many reasons that was actually a really good way for this story to progress. It made the idea that Christian was a shy virgin of a man who has never really explored his sexuality other than in his teen years with David something that is both reasonable and believable. It also gave the time needed for David and Christian to really fall in love with each other allowing the author to craft an intimate and emotional story as opposed to some insta-love trope that was more about sex than building a relationship. I really liked David. His patience, his desire to make a life with Christian and be willing to wait for it along with his wonderfully fun relationship with his roommate, Kit, made him a fully fleshed out character who I could easily enjoy.
I wish Christian had come off as a little bit less whiny and wishy-washy. I got his fears about coming out and I understood his faithfulness to his dad but everyone around him was telling him to let loose—to trust and confide about his sexuality to at least his two closest friends on the team. The fact that it took nearly the entire novel for something to give in that area made for a bit of repetitiveness that began to wear thin after a while. One can only read the same internal conflicting arguments from a character for a time before they become mundane and boring—slowing the pace of the story rather than furthering the plot. I felt Christian stayed in one place emotionally for far too long. While I could appreciate the author using the time to build the relationship between Christian and David, after a while Christian just came off as whiny and immature.
So I am a bit conflicted about Breakaway. On the one hand I loved these two characters together and how their relationship built. On the other I felt a bit of editing might have served the story and Christian quite well. I do think this was a lovely romance and despite the feeling that bits of it got too repetitive, I liked the story overall.
We were still chatting after dinner, so we took our pudding into the living room, while Christian sang Monika’s praises and practically danced on the spot about being allowed pudding during the week. He’d always had a phenomenal sweet tooth, and I guessed that being a professional player was seriously at odds with his desire for sugar.
“Do you want to watch a film?” Christian asked as he flopped onto the sofa, carefully holding his bowl of lemon tart while searching for the remote.
“Sure,” I said, settling next to him and taking in the details of the room. It was light and airy, with large French doors at one end that I assumed opened up onto the garden, although it was too dark to see. The room was lit with the soft glow of lamps, which gave it a warm feel despite its size. The two sofas were scattered with a large selection of colourful cushions and throws, and in one corner a large television stood on a wooden stand. There was a unit beside it filled with Blu-rays and games as well as random knick-knacks and photos, and I was sure I could see a scattering of trophies in amongst them. I was dying to be nosey, but I also knew that wasn’t polite.
“What do you fancy? I’ve got Netflix and Amazon Prime,” Christian said. He gestured at the unit.
“Or there’s lots of Blu-rays up there. Take your pick.”
“I’ll have a look,” I answered, seizing my chance to satisfy my curiosity. I placed my bowl on the solid coffee table and meandered, over but before I could look at any of the photos, something on the floor behind the coffee table caught my eye.
It was a giant LEGO set, half assembled and spread across the carpet, the carefully numbered bags laid out neatly next to the large instruction manual.
“Holy fuck, is that the Millennium Falcon?” It was still more of a frame than anything else, but the shape was still recognisable.
“Yeah,” Christian said, his cheeks tinting again which made something funny pulse in my chest. “I, um, I like building them for fun. They’re good to take my mind off things, help me focus on being in the moment instead of dwelling on stuff. And I like Star Wars.”
“Do you have others?”
Christian nodded, chewing his lip and smiling. “I built the Death Star in the spring. That was fun, but it took hours. It’s upstairs so I don’t knock it over.”
My inner geek was dancing. I’d always loved Star Wars, and Christian and I had spent hours watching them as kids. My mum had even taken the two of us to see Revenge of the Sith for my birthday. As an adult I’d always longed for a couple of these sets, but they were so fucking expensive I’d never imagined getting one. I mean, this Millennium Falcon kit was worth nearly seven hundred quid.
“Can—can we build it now?” I asked, trying not to hold my breath.
“Really? I mean, you’d be interested in that?” There was a note of astonishment in Christian’s voice, while mine was barely controlled excitement.
“Of course! I’ve always wanted to get my hands on this.”
“Okay,” Christian said with a nod. “Let’s do it. Do you want to put a film on in the background? Maybe The Force Awakens? I haven’t seen it in a while.”
Ten minutes later we were sitting on the floor, the opening credits of the film playing in the background while Christian talked me through what he’d done so far. It was obvious that he took his building seriously, and I had to admit it was adorable. After my pep talk, he handed me a bag and showed me the instructions he wanted me to follow.
“You know, I’m sure there’s a terrible joke about inserting things somewhere in there,” I said, watching the way Christian’s face flushed as my words filtered through.
“Probably,” he added. “But I’ve never thought of it.”
“Me neither, I’m not good with words.”
“I find that hard to believe—you’re doing your PhD.”
“Nah, that’s all smoke and mirrors,” I joked.
“So, tell me more about your work,” Christian said, picking up his own pieces. “I don’t know much about academic stuff beyond what Lily’s told me.”
I smiled, opened my bag, and began talking. And I didn’t stop. Well, not until the early hours of the morning. By that time, we’d covered my degree, Lily, our mums, the Champions League, and the new Star Wars and Marvel films. The only thing we’d avoided discussing was our relationships, but I figured that was because neither of us had much to tell. Plus, talking about new partners with exes is one of those weird grey areas I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to avoid.
With every word, I could feel Christian slotting back into my life like he’d never left, but at the same time, this wasn’t the same Christian as before. It was a new version—older, smarter, and sweeter. He was driven and determined and had a desire to know as much as he could and actually seemed interested when I spent another hour talking about my work. He talked non-stop about how proud he was of Lily and how much he loved her, and he was so endearingly serious and charming that I couldn’t help but be bowled over by him. And he was so disarmingly handsome that every time he smiled or chewed on his perfect, pink lips, the hot ball of desire in my chest burnt hotter and hotter until it felt like there was a supernova inside me.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt this way about anyone.
It had probably been six years.
Charlie lives in England with her husband and a severe lack of dogs. She spends most of her days wrangling other people’s words in her day job and then trying to force her own onto the page in the evening.
She loves cute stories with a healthy dollop of angst, even more fluff, plenty of delicious sex, and happily ever afters – because the world needs more of them. Charlie also believes that love comes in all shapes and sizes.
Charlie has very little spare time, but what she does have she fills with cooking, pole-dancing, reading and ice-hockey. She also thinks that everyone should have at least one favourite dinosaur…
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