Lucky, by Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.
Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.
Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.
Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.
Pansexual and Gay Characters
In the Closet
Professional Athlete/Sports Celebrity
Content Warning for: Drug Use, Past Suicide Attempt
As a dedicated follower of English Premiership football and Garrett Leigh’s writing, I had high hopes for this release. What can I say, Lucky was a win for me – definitely scrappy at some points but still a win. It was a highly intense sports romance – with the intensity firmly on the romance but with enough football-related scenes and references to appease my footy-loving heart.
I do wish I was more enamored by Dom the footballer, but he was a particularly tough nut to crack. I loved that he was a true professional and a straight up beast on the soccer pitch (which you’d never have guessed by his self-deprecating POV). Sure, I had expected him to be a deeply closeted character (check) suffering from depression (see content warning) and internalized homophobia (not quite), but the thing is, I was not prepared for just how joyless he was as a person.
At only 26, Dom was already apathetic to the beautiful game along with the riches and comforts it afforded him. Not to say he was a spoiled rich brat – I’ve always loved the way Leigh portrays wealthy characters – down to earth and unassuming – and except for the fancy armor he donned and drove, Dom was really no different. But he absolutely detested the gilded cage his world had become.
The thing that really struck me was how he had no family life, no friends (or people he readily considered friends) and no interests outside of keeping himself perpetually match fit. While I sympathized with how empty his life was, I do wish there was something more to him than just a blank slate – a hobby, a quirk, a kink, anything.
Despite not connecting with Dom as much as I’d like, I could totally relate with him in one regard – I too was a complete goner for Lucky from the word go. As the story progressed and the many layers that made up Lucky were peeled away, I only fell deeper and deeper – and alright, I may or may not have warmed up to Dom too as a result.
Despite his shitty circumstances, Lucky was a beautiful character inside and out and I loved his bright (albeit weary) spirit and hidden depths. I especially adored his relationship with Jamila and their unwavering dedication to one another. Most importantly though, he and Dom were pure electric and I adored the two of them together. In wildly differing ways, they were both living on a knife’s edge, and it was a sight to behold watching their unlikely bond grow over time.
Dom and Lucky’s road was rocky to say the least, but the HFN was wonderfully promising with no cliched “rags to riches” ending for Lucky, thankfully. Readers should be aware that Lucky self-medicates pretty consistently throughout the story – his drug use is ultimately addressed but is only a small part of the overall resolution to his and Dom’s story. I should also note that some of Dom’s decisions at the end of the book had me scratching my head at first but ultimately I was satisfied that it made sense for him.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, especially if you enjoy Garrett Leigh’s works and/or are on the lookout for some quality footy-flavored romance. What’s more, this book is the first in a new series, so that’s definitely a resounding win for all of us.
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.