#BlogTour — Racing the Sky by Layla Dorine including guest post & review!
Welcome, Layla Dorine!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today and giving me a place to talk a bit about Racing the Sky. I’ve always loved watching Supercross and I’m a huge fan of freestyle competition. A few years back, I was sitting in the lodge at the KOA campground in Estes Park, Colorado, waiting for my laundry to be done, watching a freestyle competition on the television, notebook beside me, when the idea for Racing the sky began to take place. For the rest of the day I jotted down and notes and sketched out scenes, staying up beside the campfire well into the night, writing, and even after I retired to my tent, I couldn’t stop thinking about Nicky, Gray, Vic and Terry.
Over the course of the rest of the trip, the outline came together, snippets of conversations and possible pairings, until I was finally ready to start working on the story itself. For 16 hours, while I was stuck at the bus station waiting to head home, I wrote, napping on the notebook on occasion, watching the early scenes take shape and come to life.
By the time I got home I was obsessed, I dove into their story, shaping, exploring, finally turning a first draft in to my betas a few months after my trip. Unfortunately, their comments and suggestions for revision came at an extremely busy time in my life and ended up shelving the manuscript for a while, taking nearly a year before I could revisit it.
I’m pleased that now, it’s finally ready to be shared. Racing the Sky isn’t just about what happens on the track, but what happens off of it too. The friendships made and ruined, the dreams crushed and reborn. It’s more than a racing story, more than freestyle tricks and the thrills that come with them. It’s about trust and hope, jealousy and love. It’s about finding ones strengths even in moments of darkness, and learning that more than one thing can define someone.
About the book
Title: Racing the Sky
Author: Layla Dorine
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Page Count: 317
Nicky dreamed of Cliffhangers, Suicide Cams and the Kiss of Death, wanting more than anything to make it to the professional motocross circuit and dazzle fans beneath the bright arena lights.
His bike was his life, his world, especially after his boyfriend, Terry, dumped him for earning a sponsor when Terry couldn't.
It's still devastating, being cheated on and cast aside by the only man he’s ever loved, but there’s little he can do about it now but go out there and win, if only to spite Terry.
Enter Gray, and a chance meeting at a roadside diner that leaves Nicky with something more to focus on than the Coffin and Lazy Boy and how impressive a backflip he can pull off at the end of the next event.
As the sting of Terry’s betrayal begins to fade, Nicky finds himself drawn to the older man, returning to the diner, and Gray, in every free moment he can spare. It’s almost perfect, but nothing ever lasts, not in Nicky’s world and Terry isn’t quite done making him pay for his success.
In the aftermath, Gray is left helping Nicky pick up the pieces once again, only this time, nothing will ever be the same.
Will Nicky be able to see beyond his dreams of twisting in the air and dangling from beneath his bike.... to learn that when you Race the Sky…gravity always wins?
Nicky woke with a throbbing pain behind his eyes and an awful crick in his neck. Not to mention he was pretty sure his left leg was asleep, and he had to piss. With a groan, he opened his eyes and instantly regretted it when sunlight from the living room’s bay window assaulted him. Shielding his eyes, Nicky stumbled to the bathroom, leaving the lights out while he took care of business. His body ached from having spent the night in the chair and his brain screamed that it needed coffee.
He washed his hands and headed to the kitchen, slamming his shoulder into the doorframe on the way. Cussing, he considered just stumbling upstairs to bed when a loud beating on the door caused him to swear more and change directions. Yanking the door open, he cringed at the light, sun spots erupting in front of his eyes and blinding him to who stood there. Terry’s electric blue gaze scowled down at him, framed by his stylishly spiky black hair.
“You look like shit,” Terry commented, practically pushing past Nicky to step inside.
Nicky grunted, unsure of how to respond to that, and not sure if he really wanted to.
“We came for the rest of my things,” Terry stated flippantly, already crossing the living room as Dirk stepped past Nicky.
Of all the fucking nerve. Nicky saw red and closed his eyes, willing himself not to slam the door and throttle Dirk, or, better still, throttle Dirk, toss him out on the lawn, slam the door on him, and then spend the next hour cussing at Terry. Taking a deep breath, Nicky paused, then blew it out slowly as he counted to thirty. Only then did he finally close the door. His head felt like broken glass and he desperately wanted a drink. He even considered detouring to the kitchen to get one, but Dirk and Terry were already upstairs in the bedroom, and Nicky wasn’t about to leave them there alone.
Rubbing his temples, Nicky followed them, stopping in the doorway as Terry pulled a suitcase from the back of the closet and began to pack.
“Hey,” Nicky piped up. “That’s my T-shirt.”
Terry scowled and threw it at him.
“Those are my jeans too.”
Terry held them up, looking them over before he tossed them to Nicky. “They look better on me.”
Nicky seethed as he counted to thirty and then counted to thirty again, holding his tongue rather than going off on Terry.
Terry had turned his attention back to packing and picked up the rune necklace from the dresser that matched the one he was wearing and put it in his pocket.
Nicky’s eyes widened as he did, and he could feel himself getting clammy and cold. “Why are you taking mine?”
“Because I bought them,” Terry reminded him, not even turning around to see the look of hurt on Nicky’s face. Every race since sophomore year when Terry had purchased the runes for them, they’d worn them as good luck charms. It was hard for Nicky to believe that Terry was actually going to take his away. It was more than a prized possession; it was a symbol of failures and triumphs.
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes it's aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
Layla Dorine can be found at:
Racing the Sky is a book that I wasn't expecting to knock me sideways but it did, almost immediately, and I couldn't turn the page fast enough. Layla Dorine is a new—to me—author but her writing is beautifully done and she had me captivated, struggling several times, to keep my own emotions in check.
The story opens with Nicky reeling over the shock of Terry, his longtime friend, and lover, walking out on him and calling it quits. We don't get to see their relationship before the breakup and it's probably wise as you would probably hate Terry even more.
Some back history—Nicky, Terry, and Vic are all friends who live together in the same house and have known each other since childhood. Nicky and Terry race motorcycles and Vic is finishing college and spends most of his time studying but he secretly has always had feelings for Nicky, but would never act upon them because of Terry.
Nicky and Terry also work together at a garage when they aren't racing where their other friends, especially River, hang out with them at the track and the house for fun.
When Terry shows his true colors and breaks up with Nicky it affects a lot of people because they are all closely interwoven with each other. They take sides, accusations are made that can't easily be undone, doubts begin to fester of who to trust and friendships begin to strain.
Needing a break from life, Nicky starts driving and ends up at a little diner where he meets Gray working the counter. Nicky has a sweet tooth and Gray, who loves to bake, assures Nicky his pies will cure his ails.
Gray is older and wiser but he immediately sees something in the broken young man eating the pie like his life depended on it. Not sure why but he invites Nicky to his home after he gets off work and he accepts.
Nicky hasn't been with anyone other than Terry but he feels safe and protected with Gray. They have instant chemistry that leads to Nicky coming back seeking friendship, comfort, and love with Gray.
However, Nicky's troubles only intensify when Terry's jealousy and insecurities over Nicky winning the sponsorship—instead of him—lead him on a dangerous and downward spiral of depression and a long journey of healing.
Through Nicky, Vic, and River, we get the back history of Terry and Nicky's relationship and see the destructive behavior of Terry that eventually cost them almost everything. Terry has a longstanding jealousy that stems back to his childhood that before he can make amends for his transgressions he will have to learn to forgive himself and understand why he does what he does.
He seeks solace and redemption in the mountains with his family. The family who once cast him aside for the same reasons, but who now open their arms to him in hopes that the man they once knew will find himself again.
As Nicky travels down his own road of redemption and recovery, he too must make peace with his nightmares and the toxicity and truth of their relationship. He just hopes that if and when he makes it to the other side that Gray will still be there waiting with open arms.
Racing the Sky is so much more than two characters. Each person in the book is vital to the story and the outcome. Layla Dorine has written a touching and heartfelt story that will move you on many levels as she uncovers the depths and peels back the layers of each person. Even Terry, whom I despised—with good reason—moved me to tears causing me to change my opinion and wanting him to succeed.
There are so many things going on in this book besides Nicky but the author handles them all efficiently and I never felt lost or pulled out of the story. Gray was a shining star, selfless and patient, and he came into Nicky's life when he needed him most. Vic, also, was another prime example of amazing friendship and putting others before yourself. My heart broke for him for a few reasons but I think he finally has his moment, as well.
I can't recommend this enough. The writing is beautiful and I was pulled in almost from the get-go and I couldn't stop reading until the very end. Nicky must go on a long journey of healing... physically, emotionally, and mentally. He must find himself and realize he is more than racing, he is more than living in a bottle of alcohol, and that he does have something beautiful to offer not only for himself but to Gray. A beautiful story of friendship, forgiveness, and love.
* My thanks to the author who provided a copy in exchange for an honest review *