Lucky

Lucky

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...

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Title:Lucky
Author:Garrett Leigh
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Edition Language:English

Lucky Reviews

  • Cadiva

    There isn't anyone, imho, better at writing these gritty slices of British life than Garrett Leigh.

    There are trigger warnings for this one to be aware of but the narrative itself isn't overly angsty or too dramatic

    In this one, the first in a new series, we get a closeted Premiership footballer and a young guy down on his luck and hooking up on Grindr for enough cash to get off the. streets.

    It's not your usual fare though, as the hook up where Lucky meets Dom is his first time and he's not too go

    There isn't anyone, imho, better at writing these gritty slices of British life than Garrett Leigh.

    There are trigger warnings for this one to be aware of but the narrative itself isn't overly angsty or too dramatic

    In this one, the first in a new series, we get a closeted Premiership footballer and a young guy down on his luck and hooking up on Grindr for enough cash to get off the. streets.

    It's not your usual fare though, as the hook up where Lucky meets Dom is his first time and he's not too good at the keeping things professional lark.

    Both men find something unexpected in the other which leads them to question where their lives are at.

    There's the usual trials and tribulations of dealing with the fears of being outed - and let's not go there on how there's been less than a handful of top level footballers who've come out and one ended up taking his own life a few years later..

    As a Brit, what happened to Justin Fashanu is a very vivid memory from my 20s which still saddens me two decades later.

    But here all is handled in a completely believable way without over egging the pudding. Dom's fears are completely understandable and it's only as he realises his life is stifling and that his manager has already spent years falsifying his publicity trail that he starts to wish things were different.

    Finding Lucky acts as a catalyst for change but he has his own problems to deal with and watching the two of them muddle through attraction into friendship and then love isn't an easy ride.

    But the saying goes that nothing worth having comes easy and the fumbles and hiccups along the way only serve to strengthen feelings.

    I loved this, as I've loved all of Garrett's books and the sneak peek of book two has only intrigued me more!

    #ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

  • Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ & MANTIES Champion

    This is probably going to get lengthy since this book gave me

    and when I have

    I tend to get loquacious. So for those of you like me, who have the attention span of a hummingbird, here's the

    Now,

    The sports angle is what drew me to this book. I

    This is probably going to get lengthy since this book gave me

    and when I have

    I tend to get loquacious. So for those of you like me, who have the attention span of a hummingbird, here's the

    Now,

    The sports angle is what drew me to this book. It's no secret that I have a thing for athletes and sport. True, I'm American and thus not hugely familiar with soccer (football) but for me an athlete is an athlete is an athlete. Dom has worked most of his life to get where he is-an elite defender for a Premiership team. There wasn't an inordinate amount of sport mentioned but it did center on what I like best: dedication to the craft and interpersonal relationships.

    There are no two ways about it, Dom is fractious and grumpy. But his pain and weariness were a visceral and moving experience for me. He's been hiding who he is for years, hiding so long that it's made him vicious on the pitch and churlish off it. There are a few people that could

    be sources of support for him, but the fear of being discovered has rendered him paranoid and mistrustful of everyone so he lives a solitary existence. Years of hiding have aided the formation of well fortified defenses that are now force of habit. That’s the trouble with masks, after wearing them for so long it’s hard to remember what's real, the mask or what’s buried beneath. There are glimpses of the person he

    but they are rare. Until Lucky.

    As much as I would like to dismiss his fears as baseless, I cannot. Because it's not true. The evidence lies in the way

    was and still is being treated. Google Cristiano Ronaldo + gay. See how many hits you get. One word: relentless. Or what about Micheal Sam or any number of

    ? Too many continue to endure a harsh reality that forces them to live half-lives which engender depression, anxiety and suicide. I want to believe the tide is turning but it is the slowest fucking tide ever. So it’s my fervent hope that people, both young and old, will not only read this book, but people like Garrett Leigh will continue to write them, continue to pound at the gates singing Lin Manuel Miranda's now ubiquitous "love is love is love" anthem until it no longer needs singing. So people like Dom no longer have to hide in the shadows exhausting themselves whilst doing so.

    His furtive and anonymous hookups have never been satisfying, conjuring more anxiety and frustrated longing than anything. But they do provide relief and to that end he arranges a paid Grindr hookup with Lucky.

    Something happens in that run down room in Dalston, something that defies explanation. It's not

    but there is chemistry and dazzling attraction that is the beginning of

    for both of them.

    What was supposed to be a one-off turns into a two-off then regular texting then more.

    The progression of their relationship was like watching a colt try to walk for the first time. Neither of them have a whole lot of experience nor do they put a lot of stock into happily ever after. Both are rough around the edges but there is an ineffable force that seems to bind them together.

    Lucky is anything but, actually. His life is not unlike countless other queer kids who have homophobic parents but that doesn’t diminish his experiences or how affecting they were. Left to his own devices at a tender age he's developed some bad habits

    and simply put, he doesn't have much support. He has a best friend who does what she can but oftentimes he goes without. Pride is a factor but Lucky's world is riddled with poverty, drug use, violence, crime and prostitution, so the people he knows don’t have much to give in the first place. One would think that would make him bitter or dolorous, but he isn't; he verges on puckish at times.

    Both of these men have baggage and at one point I did think the narrative was going to be too bleak for me, but I couldn't put it down. They are both such nuanced, genuine and beguiling characters that I found myself helplessly at the mercy of Leigh's narrative. Fear not,

    is not all doom, gloom and angst. There are emotionally weighty topics obliquely mentioned-homelessness, suicide, child abuse, abandonment-that played a role in their formation, but this is not the focus.

    I won't claim to be a Garrett Leigh expert but

    is hands down the sexiest book I've read of hers. Ever. Maybe it was the emotional connection built between them or maybe it was the scorching desire they have for one another or maybe it was the fact that so much of what transpires between them Dom's never experienced before. I really don't care. Whatever it was it should be bottled and weaponized. For the good of mankind. What's more, their sexual compatibility aided in deepening their connection, so my face melting AND their was a purpose!

    could've easily become a bromide Cinderfella story with their disparate income gap and backgrounds, but instead Leigh contravened the mold and stayed the course. Both Lucky and Dom are prickly and independent in their own ways and their emotions and actions align with those characterizations. Yes, they fall in love and yes, that is a transformative event for them but neither magically morph into Disney characters that skip off into a technicolor sunset. Years of trudging through their pallid realities comes with an austerity that’s not easily reversed and I cannot overstate how much I admire that they are emotionally and behaviorally congruent; it's what elevated

    to unforgettable territory.

    Leigh's prose is above reproach; it's fluid and captivating. The usage of dual perspectives made them three-dimensional, subtly showcasing their differences and highlighting their similarities. Their lassitude was palpable without being burdensome and their triumphs were realistic without being banal, something that takes a sophisticated hand to accomplish.

    Before I tip over into obsequious, I'll just say if you are someone who appreciates tenacious, meaty and authentic characters finding a unique happiness unto themselves within a relevant landscape, I think you'll enjoy

    .

  • Ele

    This is why I love Garrett Leigh's work. It doesn't matter if it's a chef, a sex worker, a cowboy or -in this case- a freaking closeted Premiership football player. It doesn't matter if it's an ordinary tale between two people who happened to cross paths with each other or an once in a million years situation; her stories alw

    This is why I love Garrett Leigh's work. It doesn't matter if it's a chef, a sex worker, a cowboy or -in this case- a freaking closeted Premiership football player. It doesn't matter if it's an ordinary tale between two people who happened to cross paths with each other or an once in a million years situation; her stories always feel like a slice of real life. No sappy or fluffy -and basically empty- scenes in sight. No grand gestures or public declarations of love. Just two guys finding their soulmate in each other, fighting against the odds to get their hard won happy ending. Always delivered in the gritty and melancholic tone I 've come to love so much.

    This book is also important for another reason. However you look at it, sports is not a welcome place for gay/bi/pan + folks. History has proved it and -sadly- keeps proving it to this day. Being inside Dom's head made me feel trapped and desperate sometimes and I'm just a reader. I can only imagine how a gay athlete must feel.

    Dominic Ramos lives half a life. If he wants to keep doing the only thing he's ever been good at (which is football), he must hide who he really is (which is gay). The thing is that after hiding for so long, the thing that he loved the most starts to feel like a noose around his neck and meeting Lucky will soon become his way out, even if he doesn't know it yet.

    Now Lucky...I freaking love this guy so much (and not just because he's this blue eyed cutie with long blond hair). Life dealt him a shitty hand but he's pushing through. He might live on the streets most nights or get himself high when things get too tough, but he's not martyr, nor a whiner. And he definitely won't be treated like trash.

    I loved the messages, the secret dates and the steady pace at which the romance progressed. I loved how Lucky slowly became Dom's lifeline and his ticket to freedom. Other reviews mention that this is not a Cinderfella story and they 're right. Dom does not save Lucky.

    Heed the warning tags (suicidal ideation, self-harm, abuse, drug use) but know that the author did not delve very deeply in these subjects. Just enough so that we can get a satisfying background of the characters.

    I'm thrilled that this is going to be a series. Recommended!

  • Jewel

    4.5 Stars

    I sure do love Garrett Leigh's brand of angst. Her characters seem so real to me. No matter their situations, or social standing, I can always find something to relate to.

    had the perfect balance of angst and was I glad there wasn't a bunch of melodrama mixed in. What we get is a believable mix what I could see as real life.

    is about a homeless young man down on his luck and a closeted professional footballer desperate for affection. Neither expect to find anything beyond a r

    4.5 Stars

    I sure do love Garrett Leigh's brand of angst. Her characters seem so real to me. No matter their situations, or social standing, I can always find something to relate to.

    had the perfect balance of angst and was I glad there wasn't a bunch of melodrama mixed in. What we get is a believable mix what I could see as real life.

    is about a homeless young man down on his luck and a closeted professional footballer desperate for affection. Neither expect to find anything beyond a release, but they actually find a connection amidst the fear of discovery.

    Lucky is homeless when he decides to try a hookup for cash exchange. He's got acquaintances that do it and so he figures he might as well, too. He needs the money to try to get off the streets. He wants to find a job and a place to live and lead as normal a life as he can. A Grindr hookup for cash was a means to an end.

    Dom is in a completely different world. While he does come from more humble beginnings, he is way beyond that now. A professional footballer, with a contract and tons of endorsement offers, he should be living it up. Sounds great, of course, and it probably would be if he could be himself. But being in the spotlight means Dom has to hide the gay, like he's done his whole life. When he went pro, he locked it away, only acting on it when he was desperate for another person's touch. Being on guard 24/7 has also given Dom a bit of a rep as an asshole because he doesn't socialize or party it up.

    What starts as a one-time hookup, becomes two, and then all bets are off when neither of them can get enough. But life has a way of interfering with people and when one or both have something to hide ... longevity isn't in the cards. Dom's fears get the better of him and he runs.

    The story also touches on a segment of society the comfortably middle class just doesn't see. Not just the homeless, but those trying to find their way off the streets and how bad some of those situations can be. Even when Lucky finds himself a spot in a halfway house, he feels safer sleeping rough, and that broke my heart.

    Lucky and Dom are both very different and exactly the same. They both hide, they both hold their cards close to the chest, the both only reveal what they must when they must. But where Dom is emotionally closed off, Lucky is more comfortable in his skin. And in spite of the fact they are world apart financially they are also both stronger than they realize.

    Stories with characters experiencing self-loathing can be touch and go for me. I know that there are plenty of people that experience it, but my problems generally are because the character seems to get over it way too easily. I didn't feel that was the case, here. While Dom did experience plenty of self-loathing, it wasn't because he was gay, but because of the pressure to play it straight. Every time he gave in to his need for affection, he felt like he failed and his career was on the line. I never got the impression that he actually hated himself or the fact he was gay. He just hated that he could't actually BE himself. And that made the world of difference to me.

    Recommended.

    --------------------

  • Judith

    4 Stars

    ...He's fallen out of love with

    ....he might have wealth and unwanted fame but he's lost in a sea of bitterness and self hate.He's never had any kind of a relationship

    4 Stars

    ...He's fallen out of love with

    ....he might have wealth and unwanted fame but he's lost in a sea of bitterness and self hate.He's never had any kind of a relationship with a man.He can't due to the nature of the sport he's involved in....

    .I say unfortunately because this appears to be the world we live in today.I've been following football for years and in all that time there have only been a few footballers who've come out and one of those cases ended in tragedy.So,I felt Dom's struggle....it was all too real.He's gone to great lengths to keep his personal life secret but his resolve is severely tested when he meets Lucky.

    I adored

    and he's one of the reasons this book worked so well for me.He's got his demons but still knows right from wrong.I found him such an endearing,likeable character...and physically he pushed ALL of my buttons,

    I was practically salivating at this point...

    This Author never fails in creating a believable chemistry between her characters.

    I

    and,hello?

    ...you know when you have a good feeling about a character?...Can't wait for his story.

    Recommended read.

  • Jan

    What a heartbreaking and moving story. The pressure is unbelievably suffocating and it's absolutely surreal to think that this is happening to football players at the year of two thousand and fucking eighteen!

    I urge you to read

    **Available on KU ATM.

  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    For a Garrett Leigh book,

    isn't terribly angsty. It deals with the ubiquitous homophobia in men's team sports, drug abuse, and homelessness.

    But these themes aren't overwhelming, and the romance between Dom and Lucky is a beacon of light and hope.

    When they first meet in a seedy flat, Dom pays Lucky to suck him off, and then pays extra so he can blow Lucky too. What begins as a "rent boy" Grindr hookup develops into a genuine friendship, even though both men are keeping secrets.

    There

    For a Garrett Leigh book,

    isn't terribly angsty. It deals with the ubiquitous homophobia in men's team sports, drug abuse, and homelessness.

    But these themes aren't overwhelming, and the romance between Dom and Lucky is a beacon of light and hope.

    When they first meet in a seedy flat, Dom pays Lucky to suck him off, and then pays extra so he can blow Lucky too. What begins as a "rent boy" Grindr hookup develops into a genuine friendship, even though both men are keeping secrets.

    There is some serious steam in this story. Once Dom allows himself to enjoy sex with a man sans guilt or shame, the passion explodes. My favorite scene is when Dom begs Lucky to fuck him. That was insanely hot!

    Indeed, much of their relationship is lust-based. I wish the guys had gone on a date or something. Their interactions were rather limited.

    Dom plays football, but he could have been any athlete in any sport. There was almost no mention of the game. I didn't need every gritty detail, but we were told about Dom training/playing without really seeing it.

    I really liked the epilogue, which establishes a tentative HEA for Lucky and Dom, and the fact that the MCs stayed true to themselves throughout the story. The writing, as per usual for Leigh, is authentically British, evocative, and nuanced. I will definitely read the next book in this series.

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    A very solid Garrett Leigh story. Full review soon!

  • Christelle

    A case of “I expected something else”, so even if it was good – and good it was-, I was a bit thrown out of my chair. All on me.

    Dom is a professional football player (football as in “European football” - I’m not going to start a discussion regarding what “real” football is, LOL). Obviously, he’s very deep in the closet for good reasons, like being really weary of paparazzies. Add to that he’s not an out-going guy by nature and you can guess how lonely he is, even bitter. One night,

    A case of “I expected something else”, so even if it was good – and good it was-, I was a bit thrown out of my chair. All on me.

    Dom is a professional football player (football as in “European football” - I’m not going to start a discussion regarding what “real” football is, LOL). Obviously, he’s very deep in the closet for good reasons, like being really weary of paparazzies. Add to that he’s not an out-going guy by nature and you can guess how lonely he is, even bitter. One night, he meets Lucky for a quick blowjob, Lucky who is trying to get out of the streets without relying on anybody as much as he can.

    This anonymous encounter will have a dire effect on both their life. Not saying more for not spoiling the story.

    Usual GL…and at the same time, a bit different. Angst and melancholy poured out of the writing, both characters were well fleshed out and their inner struggles were potent. I even felt a soft spot for Lucky (yes, Judith, I adored him as well…no point in fighting that !).

    But I felt that the situations Dom and Lucky had to deal with each on their own were a bit glossed over, especially the rampant homophobia in the sporting world. In western Europe, there is still a long way to go regarding LGBT rights, and when it comes to male football, it’s plainly and simply a taboo subject.

    I expected more in this book, maybe because it’s a bit personal for me (football and struggling for a warm meal). Due to that (my bad only) and the “insta-lust” between Dom and Lucky, it took me a while to get immersed into this romance.

    However, once I was in it, I can’t deny, the development of the bond between Dom and Lucky was “something”. I loved the fight Lucky put into it, his caring for Dom and his strength in getting a life on his own, as well as Dom’s struggles to change his habits for Lucky and himself. And just for that, I don’t regret reading this book.

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