Nicki gives 10/10 pots of gold for Cassandra Carr’s Hiding in Plain Sight (Safe Harbor #2)


Why I read this book: I read the first book in the series (to see my review of See the Light, Book 1: and knew I needed to read this book to see what the aftermath of Vladimir’s Olympic incident looks like and hopefully to find out more about where Jason and Patrick’s relationship is going.

hiding in plain sight image

Blurb: Book 2 of the Safe Harbor male/male sports romance series. Book 1 is See the Light. Each can be read as a standalone.

Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics the professional hockey player was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not homophobic, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail.

Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army.

Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.

Publisher: Loose id LLC

Publication Date: February 10, 2014

Page Count: about 150 pgs

My Review:

Cover: Great visuals for what I see when I think of Vladimir and Joe. Plus, have you seen the models? Yummy!!

Story: I absolutely loved this story! Even though you don’t have to read Safe Harbor #1 to get this story, I highly recommend that you do. I’ve read this book once before reading “See the Light” and once after and though I don’t feel I missed anything by this book first, “See the Light” did give me a nicer entry into the story.

This book is the story of Vladimir after he calls an opposing team’s player a “fag” at the Olympics. If you read “See the Light” first, you will probably start this book with a dislike for Vladimir just like I did. Yet by the end of the book, I was cheering for him and his choices.

After using the slur and being kicked out of the Olympics, Vladimir comes to the realization that he himself is actually gay, yet he knows what will happen if his family and country find out he is. Of course, he is also known around the world as the homophobic Russian jackass so trying to discover his “gay” side is obviously going to be a hard task! Luckily, when he walks into (or tries to walk into) his first gay bar, Joe, recently retired Delta Force soldier who is out, is there to help him with his confusion. Even though Joe recognizes him, he decides to take pity on Vladimir and goes after him to help him come to terms with his sexuality. I love that Joe was able to immediately put aside any anger he may have felt toward Vladimir so that he could help him. Vladimir didn’t exactly make a great first impression but Joe was so patient that I don’t think Vladimir would have ever been OK with his sexuality if Joe wasn’t there to help him. I’m sure that the way Vladimir looked also helped Joe get over his anger quickly 🙂

The ensuing friendship and relationship brought me joy to read and anger at what Vladimir had to go through. Even though I knew the controversy surrounding the recent Olympics that occurred not that long ago in Russia, I didn’t really understand the consequences for gays in that country until I read this book. I was able to understand why someone from Russia might go to such extremes to appear straight and it not only made me feel sorry for Vladimir but for any Russian athlete that is in the closet because of the trauma they face if their secret comes out. I know that in many parts of America there is extreme homophobia and violence is a big issue, but it seems that in Russia violence is not only an issue, it’s promoted! I’m so glad Cassandra wrote this story to help us all understand.

I think that if you are a sports fan, whether it be hockey or not, who enjoys reading stories that involve sports, hot sex, and angst in the form of fighting for safety and love, this is definitely the book for you. If this series continues along the same lines as books 1 & 2, I definitely see myself continuing with this series for years to come. Bravo Cassandra!

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Author Bio: Cassandra Carr lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on the computer.

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