“Playing for Keeps” by Avery Cockburn


Rule One: No Drama!

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?


Wow….this was…just…wow. *gathers wits and tries again*

Fact: I am not a sports fanatic.

Fact: I avoid heated debates involving religion and politics.

Fact: This story includes both and I absolutely adored it.

Wait, really? How did I love it when it’s comprised of things I don’t love? Simple. This new-to-me author has mastered the art of compelling emotive storytelling. Avery could weave a story about anything and I think I’d willingly bite the hook. I was merely halfway through this book when I raced to buy the rest of the series. I was that confident I wouldn’t be able to get enough and my instinct was right.

The writing is spectacular, the characters are endearing and the story is sensational.


The Warriors are a LGBT soccer (football) team consisting of college mates who are deadly serious about the game. They have been on the up and up the past few seasons and just when they were ready to soar to the top, they took a piercing blow. Their captain abandoned them when he ditched him long-term boyfriend, Fergus, and fled town with another man. The team is crushed but forges ahead when Fergus is forced into the vacant leadership position. Even when the world is shattered as Fergus knows it, he picks up the broken pieces of himself for the team. The game nourishes their soul and whether Fergus wants to admit it or not, brings joy to his broken heart. As I said, I’m not a big sports fan but I was vested in their success and held my breath during their games. It was exciting!


Loads! I don’t want to spill all the details. I went in blind and was swept off my feet and I wish the same for you. I’m just grateful I finally read it despite the fact it patiently waited for me on my kindle for nearly a year. So please allow me to give you a slight push, you don’t want to miss these lads.
Nudge number one:
Delightful drama. Yeah, yeah, there’s supposed to be no drama. Let me tell you a not so big secret, they didn’t listen. It’s not just a little theatrical moment, it’s an impressive strike to the chest. In the midst of the tantalizing romance I was soaking up the Scottish educational bits. Which leads me to…
Second bump:
John and Fergus are born rivals, forbidden to be together. What shines through the darker scenes is the message to think for oneself. Family, heritage and history are layers we cannot shed but they don’t make us who we are, they are simply a key component. Fergus is a born Catholic but not active with his faith. John has a painful secret which he believes he can hide from Fergus until he can demonstrate his burning desire to change his future in spite of his past. He attempts to ignore  a part of himself, wishing it would disappear. He fears Fergus could never love the ugly bits of John Burns but discovers denying him the choice is his biggest mistake of all.
Third (not so gentle) shove:
They fall in love against all odds. Love cannot erase differences but it allows us to embrace them with unconditional strength. Love is not perfect. These Glasgow lads are not perfect. Yet, they are perfect for each other. *sigh* I am utterly smitten.


Lots of brogue (some deliciously filthy) and a couple of sinfully HOT kilt men. The opposites attract theme is done fabulously and though you might think their biggest challenge is social status, religion and postal codes, you would be wrong. Their greatest rivalry is….nahh, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

bookisforEveryone! I know, I know, cliché right? But you see, Cockburn proves that consequences of racial/cultural/religious hatred can be severe and  true love can still survive, tarnished but solid. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Now, pardon me while I dash into the fray of more striking Scots.Cannae wait for book two!



TITLE: Playing for Keeps (Glasgow Lads #1)
AUTHOR: Avery Cockburn
PUBLISHER: self-pub
LENGTH: 326 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 17th, 2015
BUY LINKS: Amazon, AmazonUK

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