Like You’ve Nothing Left to Prove (Breakaway, Book Two) by E.L. Massey - Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Angel says Like You've Nothing Left to Prove "is the most heartwarming book I think I've ever read, I really hope we get more books that are a part of this series."

From the blurb:

As the headline-stealing captain of the Houston Hell Hounds, nineteen-year-old Alexander Price has one goal: the Stanley Cup. He’s got the talent. He’s got the drive. But he’s also got an anxiety disorder and his therapist on speed dial. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. And he’s not willing to hide it anymore.

At eighteen, figure skater Elijah Rodriguez has already had his Olympic dreams crushed by an accident that left him with a seizure disorder and an existential crisis. Now a popular vlogger and freshman in college, Eli is trying to figure out what his new future will look like. Which is a little difficult because, oh yeah, he’s dating Alexander Price.

Eli and Alex are happy. It’s sort of a new state of being for both of them. But Eli is out, Alex isn’t, and their very visible “friendship” is already raising eyebrows. They have a plan: Alex will make their relationship public at the end of the season, hopefully with a Stanley Cup in tow. But what happens when that plan is derailed by an overzealous fan who outs them—right before the Hell Hounds’ playoff run?

Angel's Review:

When I read the first book in this series Like Real People Do, I was blown away. It was such a wholesome and heartwarming coming to age novel, about two teenagers from different worlds figuring out how to work together. And this book? Was just as good as the first, I almost want to say it's better than the first one.

It's rare when a book focuses on building the characters relationship without them falling into bed with each other. I'm so amazed by this story, along with the author's writing style. E.L. focuses on not only each individual characters's personalities, but also their stories along with their backgrounds, and how they all work together and compliment each other. 

In this book we got a more in depth view into Alex and Eli's relationship which I adored. They are so sweet together, and you can feel their love jumping off of the page. I really liked the part where Eli and Alex sits down with one another and talks about the rules for when they fight, along with scheduling monthly relationship meetings. That was just such a pivotal  scene in their story that really improved their communication with each other. 

I think this book series side character's are my favorite characters ever. Yes, I like Alex and Eli, but I loved how supportive and funny the other guys were. Jeff, Matts, Cody, James, Asher, Kuzy and Rushy, I adored each and every one of them. 

I hope we get their stories soon enough, maybe Cody and James's next? Or maybe Asher's? I'm just excited for future books by this author. 

Overall a really terrific book, I highly recommend you to grab a copy now!! 

(I just want to let potential readers now that you can't read Like You've Nothing Left to Prove without reading the first one, this book is a continuation of Like Real People Do.) This is not a standalone! 

Rating: 5 Stars

Miki J's Review:

I loved book # 1 and book # 2 does not disappoint – this series is quite simply, fantastic. The story continues straight off book 1 and Eli & Alex are now boyfriends... but they need to hide the relationship for now. Alex does have a plan on when to tell the world, but this goes out the window after a traumatic incident.  

The story is a perfect blend of romance, hurt/comfort, love, relationships, friendships family and found family. It took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride which was very well spaced with humor and laughter.  

OMG that team – I love Kuzy!!! I was cracking up left, right & center – it’s friggin’ hilarious!!!  Russian mafia… heheheheh… the impromptu sex-ed session… "Oh, the places you'l go with warming lube and a can-do attitude?".... are just a couple of examples.   

The main part though was the relationship between Alex & Eli – they are young, just starting adulthood really and they have dealt with so much at a young age and are still battling through their own issues on top of everything else – now they are learning to deal with them together, and that there is the sweet heart of the story.  

The compromises, the romantic check ins... it's just so adorable and there’s no steamy scenes – it's fade to black – which certainly doesn’t detract from the storytelling.  

This book is endearing and heartwarming and quite simply, beautiful!! This series is definitely one to be bought in paperback and added to your bookshelf!

Rating: 5 Stars

KjnRose's Review:

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really loved it.  Great characters and a wonderful story make this one you will not put down once you start.  I will definitely be going back and reading the first book and can't wait to see what comes next.

Rating: 5 Stars

Like You've Nothing Left to Prove is widely available in e-book and paperback formats.

Title:  Like You’ve Nothing Left to Prove

Series: Breakaway, Book Two

Author: E.L. Massey

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/14/2023

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 66200

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, gay, interracial, new adult, sports, ice hockey, uni student, ice skating, professional athlete, physical disability, anxiety disorder, coming out, service dog, cooking/foodies, stanning, social media, hashtags, homophobia

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Like You’ve Nothing Left to Prove
E.L. Massey © 2023
All Rights Reserved

The problem with dating a celebrity is that sometimes they have to do ridiculous things like take a call from their agent on Christmas Eve when they should be cuddling with their boyfriend.

Something about a sponsor and a New Year’s appearance and an upcoming photoshoot that had to be rescheduled? Eli lost the thread pretty quickly. He watches all of Alex’s games and has made an effort to actually understand hockey rules (though what actually counts as goaltender interference is still a mystery to him). He thinks his boyfriending duties are pretty well covered. He doesn’t need to know which jockstrap Alex is currently endorsing or whatever.

So Eli is reading Great Expectations, proud of himself for getting a head start on next semester’s readings, hoping his boyfriend comes to bed soon, and feeling very sleepy. Though that could be the Dickens. Actually, that’s not fair. He enjoys Dickens a fair amount. But Great Expectations is certainly no Bleak House.

He flips the page and glances up as Alex paces into the bedroom from the hallway, where he’s been in and out of earshot for the last half hour.

Eli’s parents are asleep at the opposite end of the house downstairs, and his sister, Francesca, is still awake next door if the music coming through the shared bathroom door is any indication.

“Hey,” Alex says, tossing his phone onto the top of the dresser. “Sorry about that.”

Eli waves Great Expectations at him in a conciliatory manner. “No problem. But since you’re up, I left my Chapstick in the bathroom.”

Alex gives him a fond look that Eli is still getting used to: a little squint, a little crooked smile, a raise of one eyebrow. “Is that a request?”

Eli tries to look as cozy and pitiful as possible. “Please?”

Alex rolls his eyes but slips through the bathroom door and switches the light on, painting the wood floor gold.

“I loved him against reason,” Eli shouts after Alex, “against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

“I already said I would get it,” Alex shouts back. “You don’t need to woo me with Dickens.”

“Ah, but I must always woo you, my love,” Eli argues, affecting a terrible English accent, “With Dickens or otherwise.”

“Can you do your wooing a little more quietly?” Francesca yells from her bedroom.

Eli stifles his laugh in the duvet.

Alex turns off the light, runs into the cedar chest, swears, and then crawls up to flop inelegantly on top of Eli. He tries, very ineffectively, to apply the Chapstick for Eli until, laughing even harder, Eli wrestles it away from him and does it himself while Alex pretends to pout.

“Hey,” Alex murmurs, smudging the words into Eli’s neck, “do you maybe wanna do that thing where you drag your fingernails up and down my back until I fall asleep completely blissed out on oxytocin?”

Eli slides his book and then the Chapstick onto his nightstand and moves his hands automatically to Alex’s shoulders. “How did you know? That’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

“Oh.” Alex makes a point of settling in further before going absolutely boneless. “Well, that’s perfect, then.”

The bruises on Alex’s side look particularly stark when painted in moonlight, and Alex is warm and sleepy and vulnerable. His curled fingers in the periphery of Eli’s vision make Eli’s chest ache in a way he can’t explain with anything other than love. This soft, tactile man, who smells like VapoRub and Eli’s detergent, is so far removed from the visceral, overconfident Alexander Price, whose skill and notoriety sell out hockey arenas. In the dark and the quiet of Eli’s childhood bedroom, it almost feels as if they’re two different people. Except Eli is the only one privileged enough to know this gentle night-time version.

“Mm,” Eli agrees, dragging his nails lightly, so lightly, up the expanse of Alex’s back. “Perfect.”


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

E. L. Massey is a human. Probably. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her partner, the best dog in the world (an unbiased assessment), and a frankly excessive collection of books. She spends her holidays climbing mountains and writing fan fiction, occasionally at the same time.

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