The Winning Edge - Keira Andrews
Reviewed for Sinfully.
It seems like the Winter Olympics brings out the ice skating fan in everyone, so what better time to read an ice skater romance. The Winning Edge is a rivals to lovers story about pairs skaters Mikhail (Russia) and Dev (US).
Fiercely competitive on the ice, the US can never seem to beat the Russian champions. Dev and Mikhail dislike each other so much, even though underneath there is something else bubbling which explodes in the locker room after a competition. This one hook-up proves to be an unforgettable distraction for both men and a repeat is in store for theme the next time they meet regardless of what a bad idea it is. While everything is heating up in private, the men need to keep their competitive façade up. Neither is out in the skating world which is something that would affect both their careers, but they are out to their skating partners and families. The danger of being caught is very real and could be a detriment to both their careers and be devastating for Mikhail/Misha in particular.
The story follows them through a year of competition, from the lead-up to the Olympics, to their life afterwards in the off-season as the two deal with the latent homophobia in the skating world, the danger Mikhail faces in his home country and his feelings of responsibility to his partner Kisa and their families. Both have some big decisions to make as far as their careers and lives afterward go. Mikhail’s story is particularly worrisome and his sense of responsibility to everyone around him is the biggest stumbling block in his relationship with Dev. On the other hand, Dev is afraid of what his family will think of him being with Misha and what coming out would do to any opportunities he and his partner might have in the professional skating world. Dev’s partner, Bailey does her best to set him straight and is a fantastic support to him. Misha’s partner Kisa is likewise supportive and he has a strong family rooting for him as well.
The first part of the story focuses more on the two getting into the physical relationship while the second part of the story deals with the emotional drama of their decision to give a real relationship a try. What gives the story its tension is the real consequences that could befall not just Misha but his and his partner's families in Russia if he is outed. For Dev the professional consequences are less certain and his real fear seems to be what his mother will think of the relationship.
The story has a bit of everything, competition, secret romance, hot dirty-talk and sex, family issues and characters you’ll enjoy. I wasn’t always a big fan of the time jumps, but it didn’t change my enjoyment of the story. There is enough detail about skating to put you firmly in that world and feel the tension during the competition scenes without it becoming too technically bogged down.
If you’re one of those people who want to enhance their enjoyment of the Olympics with a skater romance or just like the rivals to lovers or secret relationship storyline, this story will definitely satisfy those cravings.