Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Title: X-Factor
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-935-4
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Game designer Henry Delloit is a bit of a loner and he lives in an isolated house on the outskirts of a close-knit mountain community. He enjoys his job, loves his home and spends countless hours during the snowy winter months walking through the area surrounding his house. He also enjoys watching X-treme snowboarding and when a competition comes to his area, he’s thrilled at the chance of meeting some of the participants.

Ecco Rasmussen loves snowboarding but has never worked him way into the top group of competitors. It doesn’t help that his manager Blake Dobbs is a mean, possessive jerk, who thinks he owns Ecco. It’s gotten so bad that he doesn’t even allow Ecco to have more than a few dollars and Blake gets abusive when he doesn’t get what he wants.

The attraction between Ecco and Henry is intense from the moment they meet and when the opportunity arises to get away from Blake and the games, they take it heading to Henry’s home. Can these two vastly dissimilar men change like into love and make a life together, or will Blake and the world of boarding get in their way?

X-Factor is the newest release by multi-published author Sean Michael and it follows the unlikely pair of game designer Henry and X-treme snowboarder Ecco. I must admit that I don’t know much about this dangerous winter sport, aside from what I saw recently on the Winter Olympics, so the blurb intrigued me.

I like Henry; he’s a genuinely nice guy, who seems resigned to spending his life alone and then he meets Ecco—and he’s smitten. It’s like a light comes on, allowing him to see the possibilities if he’ll just reach out and take a chance on a little happiness. Mr. Michael has done a nice job getting these two men together, even with numerous roadblocks in their way. The flirting is fun, the passion intense, and the sex sizzling hot (like in all of his books) and frequent.

Blake makes a great villain and being an abuser of someone so much smaller than him, makes him easy to dislike. The descriptions of his rages and physical mistreating of Ecco are heart-wrenching and that he managed to get away with them so long, nothing short of amazing. These scenes add not only intensity and suffering to the story, but interest, color and depth.

I loved the vivid descriptions of the snowboarding events and the wintery-snow-capped scenery; they really brought the setting of the story to life. The ending is equally enjoyable but for entirely different reasons, and while I won’t divulge what happens, please know that it’s intense, fast-paced and gives a fitting ending to the story.

Ecco, while being in his late twenties and experienced in many things, talked like he was ten years younger. I found it both a little annoying and very distracting. At times, I even found it difficult to take his love for Henry seriously. As a trained athlete, Ecco had numerous options open to him. I don’t get why he didn’t report Blake and get away from him. It wasn’t as if he loved him, or didn’t run away from time to time. This part of the story just didn’t have enough explanation for me.

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