Author: Kiera Andrews
Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 3 stars
Buy Links: LId and Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Gay figure skaters keep their relationship secret—and end up on thin ice
Misha Reznikov has an Olympic gold—and a secret lover who just happens to be the silver medalist. Now that their competitive days are over, Misha and former rival Dev Avira are setting up house in LA and giving their relationship a shot in the real world. They agree that keeping their romance strictly under wraps is best for their pro careers and Misha’s family back in Russia. So what if Dev hasn’t told his parents, and they never eat out for fear of being spotted? It’s not perfect, but they’re together.
But as they prepare for a special holiday skating show on Christmas Eve in Dev’s hometown, tension builds. How long can Misha and Dev keep their love secret—and what happens if one of them wants to stop hiding?
Review: Holding The Edge is the second book in the Cold War series. I hadn’t realised at the time that this book was a sequel, and to a book I haven’t read. I would recommend reading Cold War before reading this one. The story itself still made enough sense as a standalone to not feel lost at all, although I feel I would have perhaps had a greater connection with the characters knowing a bit more of their history together.
Misha, a former Russian figure skater and Olympic Gold Medallist, is finally free of the pressures of competitive skating for the first time in many years. He is now doing shows in the pro circuit along with his skating partner, fellow Russian Kisa. Having brokered a deal with the Russian government for his release if he won Olympic Gold, Misha now resides in the US and plans to move in with his American lover, former nemesis and Silver Medallist Dev.
With Kisa and Misha’s family still living in Russia, Dev and Misha decide it is best to remain in the closet and their relationship a secret only known to Misha’s family, Kisa and Bailey, Dev’s skate partner. Dev also fears his family’s reaction to him having a boyfriend – even though they already know and accept that he is gay – and a boyfriend who beat him to the Gold Medal! That would likely not go down well with his mother. There’s also corporate sponsorship and the pro skating bigwigs to worry about.
The first chapter opens with Dev, Misha and their respective partners ready to embark on a summer tour of shows. We see the four of them coming together again after a short time apart, Dev and Misha’s decision to keep things remaining on the down low, a bit of rehearsals while Misha loses concentration reminiscing about his and Dev’s previous encounters, and their passionate reunion in Dev’s room. Then chapter two skips to after the summer and Misha and Dev have moved into a place together in LA. Despite some realistic fears that their clandestine relationship may not translate to the everyday, their love has proven to stand the test and both are happy building their life there together. Fear of discovery keeps them from venturing out together too much, but it seems that the possible repercussions are still too great to take that risk. Until an accident on the ice leaves at least one of them wondering if keeping their love for each other hidden has become too hard.
I found Dev’s excuse for not telling his parents about Misha pretty lame. That was one of a couple of unbelievable plot points that stopped me from really sinking into this story. Another was their apparent lack of concern when Bailey (without any malicious intent – both Kisa and Bailey are very supportive), outs them in front of the other skaters in the show. After we’d just been told how gossipy the skating fraternity tends to be. There was some reference to the political persecution of gays in Russia which, seeing as Misha is Russian and still has ties there, I thought was an important inclusion, although the authors portrayal of an improvement in the Russian government seems to still be wishful thinking at this stage.
Holding The Edge was a mostly angst-free, feel-good short novella with likeable characters. While this isn’t a story that will stay with me, it was still a pleasant enough read to fill an evening with.