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Safe Harbor Series

The Safe Harbor series centers around hockey players who are forced to hide secrets that they're gay and their struggle for love and acceptance.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight cover

Published: February 11, 2014 by Loose Id


Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics he was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, in the aftermath of the Olympics, he is finally able to admit his true nature to himself. But he's been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, 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 parts puller in the maintenance department 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.

***Hiding in Plain site is nominated for a few Goodreads awards.*** You can still vote for a few more weeks. Please note: Voters must already be members of the M/M Romance group on Goodreads.

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Morgan from The Blogger Girls said: Book review: This is book two in the Safe Harbor Series, and it is so good it even surpasses book one! First, we see the homophobe from Book one is actually gay and hiding it because of the Russian Mob and threats to his family. Second, we see someone experience being gay for the first time in his life. Everything. Third, Joe is amazing. He is kind, sweet, sensitive and really grounded. Both men are fooling themselves if they think they aren’t invested, and it becomes clear that neither thinks of the other as merely a “fuck buddy”.

Politics moves Vlad into confessing his sexuality, and Joe does it proudly by his side, with the help of Jason and Patrick from book one. A very HEA is had by all.

Narrator review: The guy’s voice is just so natural in the role it feels like he’s telling the story to you personally, and those things happen in normal conversation. The narrator does a fairly awesome Russian accent that makes the smexy scenes to die for! Ooo la la. Wow! Scorching hot! (I loved that Vlad calls Joe “Joey” and nobody else is allowed to call him that… super cute!). I really, really loved this book and this narration and give them both a 5 of 5 stars. You are seriously missing out if you don’t give this one a try.

Lisa from Joyfully Reviewed said: The second installment in the Safe Harbor series features a powerful theme and an unlikely romance. Professional and personal lives are examined in Hiding in Plain Sight as passions are awakened and accepted. Joe could’ve been bitter, likewise Vlad, yet both deal and move on. Hiding in Plain Sight focuses on a realistic attraction and the ensuing chaos when sexuality and careers collide. Genuine and intense, cheer for Vlad and Joey, they deserve it.

Jay from World of Diversity Fiction said: Cassandra Carr has written a really good story with characters that are incredible. With Joe being a badass ex-delta force military man combined with Vlad being the rugged hockey player what’s not to love. The topic of the Olympics and being gay or supporting gays in Russia is front and center at the moment. Cassandra uses this to tell a story and speaks out against the unspeakable treatment that one faces to love in that country.

Lisa from Joyfully Reviewed said: The second installment in the Safe Harbor series features a powerful theme and an unlikely romance. Professional and personal lives are examined in Hiding in Plain Sight as passions are awakened and accepted. Joe could’ve been bitter, likewise Vlad, yet both deal and move on. Hiding in Plain Sight focuses on a realistic attraction and the ensuing chaos when sexuality and careers collide. Genuine and intense, cheer for Vlad and Joey, they deserve it.

TBird from Crystal's Many Reviewers said: This book is one that follows the story line from See the Light. The Russian that caused so much trouble during the Olympics is now back in this book and we get to learn about him and why he did what he did. Cassandra has given us two books (See the Light and Hiding In Plain Sight), both that show what courage is, first in admitting who we are, and second in exploring what we want. I really loved these books, they are more than stories about men loving men, they are about the human soul and spirit.

Terri from Night Owl Reviews said: 5/5 stars! Top Pick! The sex is well written and hot but the emotions that each shares is what will grip your attention and have this story stay with you well after you’ve finished reading it. Ms Carr does an exceptional job taking two men and sharing their lives, love and dreams. This is a second book in a series but you do not need to read the first to thoroughly enjoy this book. Each book stands alone. You also do not need to be a hockey fan to enjoy this book. I fell in love with the characters and hope to see more of them. This story is so much more than just two gay guys falling in love.

Jet from Book Devotee Reviews said: A great read for those who enjoy reading M/M romance. Though I hadn’t read the first in the Safe Harbor series, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this second instalment at all so it could definitely be read as a standalone and it has left me very intrigued to read the first in the series. Cassandra Carr is the name of an author that every avid reader who enjoys romance and erotic reads should know.

Evelise from The Jeep Diva said: A passionate read with macho men who weren’t afraid of their feelings. Ms. Carr took the reader into the world of politics and hockey without delivering sanctimoniousness and wrote what blossomed into a beautiful love story. The book was evenly paced and delivered the ups and downs of any budding relationship. The two men were loving and electric and I quickly fell for both of them. Ms. Carr has delivered a winner and I look forward to more books in the series.

Crystal from Crystal's Many Reviews said: The author has a way about her that she can write such amazing scenes, that are extremely detailed, but not over the top. It completely shocks me that this is the second M/M book that she has written, yet she writes them like she has been doing it for years. Overall, I did enjoy this book immensely and I can’t wait to read what she has in store for us next.

Donna from Sid Love Reviews said: The premise of this story kept me entertained as throughout the book I continued to vacillate between thinking “take that Russian anti gay laws” and feeling so sorry for any gay Russian athletes who for certain have buried themselves deep in the safety of their closets. Usually the closeted jock storyline leaves the reader drowning in angst but thankfully, as with the previous book in this series, I found it to be completely angst free. I really enjoyed the ending of this book. I don’t want to give away what happens but when the Russian’s recall Vlad to play for their national team again, I love the way he chooses to handle the problem.

Tams from MMGoodBookReviews said: Carr is quickly finding her footing as an accomplished M/M writer. I love how she tackled the issue of all the homophobia and hatred going on in Russia currently and wove it into her story. She really has grown immensely in just a short while between See the Light, book 1, and this installment. I loved how she showed the balance between Vlad’s inexperience and insecurity coupled with Joe being comfortable in his own skin and willing to be patient while Vlad figures everything out. It was so worth it in the end. And these two have an innocent sort of sexy passion that conveys well to the reader. This book could probably be read as a standalone, but having read See the Light first, I’d recommend starting with that one. Then you can more fully understand the issue at the start with Vlad and the homophobic comments he’d made, which were actually made in book 1. If you like sweaty naked men that like to boss each other around in the bedroom, and hockey, you’ll love this series.

Tootsie from Mrs. Condit Reads Books said: I was highly impressed with the author for how she told their story. She uses today’s problems and current events that are happening right now. Because of this, for me, it made the story much more believable. Cassandra Carr tells a beautiful story of honesty, trust, friendship and love. She allows the characters to develop feelings for each other before they take their sexual relationship too far. The author throws in a few twists and turns that definitely keeps you on your seat waiting to see how it will play out. If you read the first book in this remarkable series, then I highly recommend you continue on with this one. When it’s all said and done, this is a love story about two guys who find each other, despite the consequences, and continue to thrive even though they are a part of a sport that normally does not allow much lenience for homosexuality.

See the Light

see the light book

C-Squared Publishing (June 6, 2016)

Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction. The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. Then their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight. Will their love survive or be put on ice?

Note: Previously released by another publisher.

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Morgan from The Blogger Girls says: I thought the dialog between the guys felt very natural and masculine. Neither guy was overly “in touch with his feelings” much, and so the natural hurdles that would exist between two recalcitrant males felt organic. When the couple is in close contact during the Olympics, things really begin to heat up. All in all, the story was really very well written. The slow movements toward couple-hood felt natural and well-paced. The sex was super hot and the emotions were real and fulfilling. I thought the hurdles were realistic and tackled in a way that seemed authentic.

Review – Audio: The narrator did an excellent job. He has a very deep voice that really seemed to fit both Alpha Males and I really enjoyed his narration of their bantering dialog especially.

I hadn’t read the author or listened to the narrator before, but I will now be on the lookout! I highly recommend both the story and the audiobook and give both 4.5 of 5 stars.

Jay from World of Diversity Fiction said: [Cassandra] gives us a story where the main characters have locked themselves in the preverbal closet and thrown away the key which is painful and heartbreaking. See the Light is set in the world of professional hockey and focuses on the love of an early twenty something and a latter 30 something. The age difference was not an issue but the depth at which these guys are in the closet did tug painfully at my heart. I enjoyed these guys and their relationship was genuine. Their beliefs cause heartache but you really got the feelings they had for one another and understood them.

Angela from Crystal's Many Reviewers said: Patrick and Jason are virile, testosterone-filed men and their hormones finally get the better of them and it was HOT! The visual of these two hard-bodied men together is almost enough to short circuit my brain and fortunately, Ms. Carr attempted to put my brain into overload several times. The fact that the non-sexual aspect of Jason and Patrick's relationship continued to develop and deepen over the course of the book made reading it that much more enjoyable. See the Light is a well written sports romance that also delivers some hot man on man action. Ms. Carr's Safe Harbor series is off to a great start and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

TBird from Crystal's Many Reviewers said: 5 stars! See the Light is not just a book about two men falling in love; it chronicles the social stigma that homosexuals have to deal with not only in their jobs, but in sports, society and among friends. I really loved this story because it is such a vivid image of what people go through in society to protect themselves from the opinions of others. What should have been Jason and Patrick’s private business and their rights as humans was determined by the game and society. I really recommend this book to anyone. The message in this story will stay with me for a long time.

Crystal from Crystal's Many Reviews said: I really enjoyed the characters; they were really easy to connect with. I did like how the author added a bit of drama into the story because that just added more to it. There wasn’t a large amount of drama in the story though, which was great because you were able to spend time with the couple, and you weren’t lost in a bunch of extra stuff happening. There were some parts of the book that really brought forth emotions that I was not expecting from a book in this genre and I completely loved that fact! But I thought that the author wrote them very well and you were able to connect emotionally with the characters while they were going through something horrible.

Jeff from PuckBuddys said: Carr expertly builds the sexual tension between these two. The push and pull between these alpha males is exquisite. And, not only does Carr write great scenes for the men, she also writes their internal dialogue perfectly to give the reader the details on what they're feeling and not saying. See the Light is a page turner well before the finale because of how invested you get in the characters.

Clover from Long and Short Reviews said: This isn’t the first book I have read by Cassandra Carr and as ever her voice is an easy to read style that pulls you into the story. I liked both characters, their banter and dialogue particularly. See the Light is a great get-your-teeth-into m/m novel that ticks all the boxes and will leave you feeling like you really know the two main characters and have had a good romp in the bedroom with them. I recommend it for not just m/m romance fans but also sports romance fans. Great job.

Rebecca from Indulgent Bloggers said: Carr proves she can write romance and love regardless of gender. The evolution of their relationship was gradual and follows a realistic ebb and flow. Carr gives such fleshed-out characterization of the men that readers see their inner struggles. The sex scenes will melt an ice rink. I could smell the ice. That’s how descriptive Carr’s scenes were. The ending was fabulous, albeit a bit abrupt, and conveyed a message more people need to hear. The acceptance of the teammates might still be far-reaching in reality but is a place I’d like to see our world come to.

Lasha from Dark Divas Reviews said: What I liked about See the Light was the May-December romance between Jason and Patrick. Their chemistry was off the charts, and was the best part of the novel for me. Every aspect of their relationship was fascinating. Recommended for people who like May-December romances and an Out For You storyline.

Roux from Mrs. Condit Reads Books said: Sometimes you finish reading a book and you just know that the story and characters will stay with you for a long time because they made such an impression. “See the Light” is a fine example of such writing. I loved how we are shown the complete development of Jason and Patrick’s relationship, from initial attraction to complete love. This is not a long story but the growth of the romance felt real and complete. I adored the book, the character growth, the evolution of their relationship from sexual to secret couple to out-and-in-love partners. The really hot sex scenes made this sweet story spicy and that’s a terrific combination!

ELF from Night Owl Reviews said: 4.5/5 stars! Top Pick! A sensual m/m romantic tale that combines the excitement of the world of hockey with the challenges that face anyone who doesn’t conform to the conventional norm. The author does a wonderful job of presenting the dilemma that each man faces as well as the frequently harsh censure that they may have to overcome from family, friends and colleagues, let alone strangers. The sizzling attraction between the two men and the lengths that they go to, first to avoid one another and then to find a way to deal with their lust for each other is deftly portrayed and the deepening of the relationship is delightful to watch. Another enjoyable tale from a talented author.

The Jeep Diva said: The passion and love that Jason and Patrick felt for each other both saddened and warmed my heart. Ms. Carr described both men’s feelings with such color and angst that I felt my heart breaking for them as they struggled to overcome the separations in the budding relationship. I became emotionally invested through the author’s eyes as I read page after page, cheering for the happy ending that I so desperately wanted. I would love to see a sequel to this book.

The Romance Reviews said: Overall, it was an enjoyable, sweet and sexy read!

Michelle from We Love Kink said: Cassandra Carr really hit it out of the park on this one. I know wrong sports analogy, this is a hockey story after all, but seriously I couldn’t put this book down. This is one of those that you will end up reading straight through because you can’t wait to see what happens next.

Nikki from Close Encounters with the Night Kind said: I must admit, envisioning two completely sexy hockey players wrapped up in each other makes me hot and a little jealous. What I wouldn't give to see that...err.....close up? Cassandra Carr does a wonderful job writing a realistic alpha male who likes other alpha males. There is a lot of awkwardness and tension that is expressed quite well, along with some smoking hot sex scenes. Its a good build-up between the two and it has an incredibly sweet ending. This author can write some naughty cowboys, but does good on the ice as well! Great Read!

Tams from MMGoodBookReviews said: Oh, God. Damn, this book was good! I LOVE Hockey, and hot men, especially when said hot men are all over each other. This book is all about what happens when you mix all the aforementioned attributes into one story.

The character development in this book was fantastic. Patrick knows he’s gay and is open and out with his family and close friends. Jason hides his sexuality from everyone including himself to an extent, but Patrick gets under his skin. Patrick knows who he is and what he wants, or who he wants that is, he wants Jason. Both men have to overcome personal and professional obstacles to be together. Stolen moments hidden away in motel rooms are wrapped around not only some extremely passionate sex, but room service and long conversations that ultimately lead to love.

Michele from Seductive Musings said: I was rooting for Patrick and Jason all the way through See The Light and cried happy tears when they finally reached their Happy For Now ending.

Annette of RomFan Reviews said: 5/5 hunks I moved this book to the top of my “to review” list and had it read in one night. It is one of those cannot put down books that you just keep reading because you have to know what happens next and will Jason and Patrick hook up and will it last. Cassandra Carr is one of those authors that will always be on my “must have” list.

Nix from Scorching Book Reviews said: It is a very steamy ride and I really did get hot under the collar; Cassandra Carr always writes such delicious sex scenes. This completely believable storyline was quite heart-breaking to read about. I really enjoyed the characters. Both heroes came across as strong, masculine men and this made their tender moments even more precious. This is a very steamy read that I recommend you read with a glass of ice water. I hope that Cassandra Carr carries on in the MM genre as this was a very promising start.