With a Kick Collection No. 2

Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This collection includes Clare London's second two charming London-based novellas of the With a Kick series - Pluck and Play and Double Scoop.

With a Kick: A new and enticing ice cream franchise, with a unique blend of full flavor, mischief, and romance. Patrick and Lee are struggling to make a success of their alcoholic ice cream shop in the center of tourist London. At the same time, their business partnership may take a turn toward the personal - if either of them can find the time and nerve to go for it!

Meanwhile, they cater to the wild and wonderful range of customers in the area, many of whom have their own romantic agenda. Will ice cream be the final ingredient they’re all looking for?

Each story is a self-contained romance but will follow the history of the shop throughout.

Pluck and Play: Curtis is a cheery young entrepreneur secretly licking his wounds after being beaten up by his ex-lover. Handsome cowboy Riley is stranded in London without money. His consolation is his music, and his fascination is Curtis. Their music brings them together, Riley’s guitar and Curtis’ poetry. But when Curtis is threatened by his ex-lover, Riley intends to be the man to help.

Double Scoop: A sudden disaster strikes the novelty ice cream shop With a Kick, threatening the livelihood of its owner, Patrick, and also his assistant Lee. The last thing in the world Patrick wants is to hurt Lee, but deeply held insecurities prevent him from confessing his love. And how long will Lee wait to make his own move? Hopefully, the disaster brings a new opportunity for them to make a go of things.

Collection No. 1 has also been released, featuring Clare London’s first two novellas, A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle, and also the two bonus short stories "Nice and Snow" and "Smack Happy". 

©2015-2018 Clare London (P)2019 Jocular Press
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely 2 stories, and finally Lee and Patrick!

I have really enjoyed all of these stories that take place in and around With a Kick, a charming ice cream shop in London run by Patrick and Lee (more on them in a bit)

The first story, Pluck and Play, is about Curtis and Riley, and you gotta love a cowboy. Curtis runs his own delivery service, making deliveries and also sourcing and finding things that his various accounts need. Riley is a true cowboy, although he's in England to settle his mother's estate. I really enjoyed these two together. I also really loved how their friends - all the patrons of With a Kick, came in to help out when they needed it. Curtis has more friends than he ever realized, and I loved that.

Double Scoop is - Finally! - Lee and Patrick's story. Patrick owns With a Kick, although Lee has been with him since day one and is the true heart of the shop. Their world is shaken when some fault equipment causes a major accident, injuring Lee and putting the future of With a Kick in danger. These two have been dancing around each other since the first book, both wanting more than just a business arrangement but doubts and fears keeping them from speaking up. It takes some help from all of their friends to realize that they need to speak up and not risk losing the great things that they have together.

Joel Leslie, as always, brings his A game to narrate this story. His accents are just divine, and we get British, western American, Turkish, eastern European, men, women, you name it - and you can tell who everyone is. Excellent job!

I have loved these boys from With a Kick - and there's a new story that features Karel that I'm gonna have to get, too! These stand well on their own, but I think you'd get more enjoyment having read the other stories in the series since these guys all hang out with each other. I admittedly didn't read Sue Brown's entries to this series, but have read all of the ones written by Clare London.

I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The With A Kick Crew are back!

With A Kick is a café in London’s trendy SoHo district. They serve ice cream mixed with alcohol. In other words, dreamy treats with a kick. Each dessert has a special name and is created either by owner Patrick or server extraordinaire Lee. The names and concoctions from the first collection were cute so I was curious what would be dreamed up this time.

The first story, Pluck and Play, features Curtis and a mysterious cowboy. Curtis is a go-to guy in SoHo. He knows where you can get just about anything and he’s turned that knowledge into a business. He has a nice little concern and although he’s not wealthy, he does have a good thing going including friends and flatmates who don’t drive him bonkers. Well, perhaps Phiz does drive him a little nuts, but listeners from the first collection will remember the adorable guy whose mouth tends to run ahead of his brain. He’s as sweet as ever and his patient boyfriend Brian is also back in this story.

Curtis is out on a run when he encounters a nasty man who threatens him. Riley steps in to help him and Curtis notices immediately the man’s boots, cowboy hat, and Texas drawl. When Riley later sets up his guitar and amp in front of With A Kick, Curtis can’t help but be curious about this very attractive man. They enjoy each other’s company and even go out on a date. All very sweet.

Or it would be, but Curtis’ abusive ex-lover comes back into the picture, making his life miserable. As someone who had a nasty ex, I completely related to Curtis’ angst over dealing with someone who hurt him emotionally as well as physically. I also understood Riley’s desire to handle the situation with his fists because sometimes bullies only understand violence. In the end, a very creative solution dispatched the ex forever and the two men got their happy ending.

The second story, Double Scoop, is about Patrick the owner and Lee the loyal employee. While the first story was told entirely in Curtis’ point of view, this story was entirely from Patrick’s. He loves his shop and it has become his pride and joy. He also is quick to realize that Lee is a big part of that success. Patrick can even admit, to himself, that he cares deeply for Lee. As far as he’s concerned, though, he’s too old for the much younger man, so he watches and pines from afar.

Only a disaster involving the shop and Lee brings his feelings to the fore. Lee appears to reciprocate his feelings, but his insecurities hold him back. Only intervention from their friends forces the men to confront their feelings and put their hearts on the line.

I enjoyed this story because in the first collection Lee and Patrick had caught my eye. I’m a sucker for a good story where both men want the other but are too afraid to lose what they have. Friends to lovers, as it were. This story also brought back all my favorite characters from the previous stories so that was the cherry on the top, so to speak.

Finally, I have to mention the narrator, Joel Leslie. I’m a huge fan and he did not disappoint in this book. I loved how he had the London accent down but was able to throw in Riley’s Texas twang. Another great job and I highly recommend the collection.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Two great stories in one audiobook!

Pluck and Play:
I really liked this story. Riley comes to the aid of Curtis more than one time and the two strike up a friendship and then a relationship. I liked how protective Riley is of Curtis. It was good to hear from characters from other books in this series (don't worry if you haven't read them, you won't be lost) and the way they came to Curtis's aid was great. This is really a fun series!

Double Scoop:
Ah, now we get the romance of Patrick, the owner of With A Kick. This story literally starts off with a bang. It's a great age gap story. This was a bit angsty, but not too much. I'd been waiting to read Patrick's story and this one didn't disappoint.

Lee works for Patrick and there's a bit of an age difference. Neither one of them seems to be brave enough to let the other know how they feel. When something bad happens at the shop Patrick finally begins to see that he shouldn't waste time worrying about small things like Lee being younger and working for him.

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Like With a Kick Collection No. 1, these stories are delightfully British and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of the different voices done by Joel Leslie; his "cowboy" voice made me smile. His audio book performances are among my favorites; he helped me learn to appreciate audiobooks after thinking I wouldn't like them. His performance of these two stories is perfect.

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***

  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous narration!!!

This volume contains two stories from the With a Kick Collection, Pluck and Play, which I hadn't read before, and Double Scoop, which I had. The stories stand alone pretty well by themselves, but it was a treat listening to them one after the other.

Curtis and Riley from Pluck and Play were all kinds of adorable and the story, while shorter than Double Scoop, had this added suspense element with the addition of Curtis's ex who was horrible. Curtis and Riley were just amazing together and seemed to bring the best out of each other.

Re: Double Scoop: I loved Lee, he was amazing. And while I liked Patrick, I wanted to slap him a few times to make him see what was in front of him the whole time. Lee seemed more mature sometimes than Patrick, despite being much younger. Still, they had great chemistry and when they were together it was obvious they were so into each other, even if Patrick was so difficult about it.

I adored seeing other characters from the series that I recognized ​throughout both stories ​and how they all rallied to help when ​Curtis and then​ Patrick needed them. Their intervention​s​ to ​both get rid of Curtis's ex and to ​make Patrick finally do what he needed to do w​ere all kinds of awesome!

Joel Leslie did a fantastic job with all the different voices and accents in this collection. Frankly, I was very impressed (but not surprised) that he could easily go from Curtis deeper British accent to Riley's American one in the same scene or even more when the rest of the guys were in one scene in Double Scoop, since there were a lot of characters to get straight and he managed to give them all a distinguishable voice. Wow, just wow! I have to make a special mention of Joel singing as Riley, because that was damn brilliant and more than I was expecting!

  • Overall
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I loved returning to the With a Kick community!

I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.

Having loved the audiobook for Collection #1, I was thrilled when I heard that Collection #2 was being released. While the stories can be enjoyed as standalone reads (or listens), the appearance of common characters enriches the experience for series fans by creating the sense of community that really comes into play with both of the books in this collection.

While I’m unsure of their actual ages, Curtis and Riley’s youthful energy and outlooks on life gives Pluck and Play a new adult feel to their story. Curtis is such an earnest and hard-working young man that I had zero chance of not falling in love with the entrepreneur. Of course, Riley’s southern charm and laidback nature won me over immediately – and his well-aimed right hook didn’t hurt either. Not surprisingly, both men are more complex than they appear at first glance and they complemented one another so much, even when they were trying to prove their independence and self-sufficiency. I’ll admit that I was surprised with the almost sinister turn that Pluck and Play took when Curtis’ ex showed up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a dark story or romantic thriller, but it had more of an edge when compared to the sweetness of the stories in Collection #1. But it was the situation with Curtis’ ex that ultimately showed Curtis just how important he is to the people in his life and how people he assumed considered him a helpful business contact actually saw him as a friend and member of their community. And that showdown in the alley was AWESOME! I may have listened to that scene a couple of times, it was so good. I loved Curtis and Riley’s characters so very much that I was sad when their story came to an end, but at least I knew I’d likely see them in the next book.

Double Scoop is the cherry on top of the With a Kick sundae. It’s the story I’ve been waiting for since meeting Patrick and Lee in book one, A Twist and Two Balls, and London made sure that it was worth the wait. While Double Scoop is a May-December romance, Patrick’s self-doubt adds an extra dose of angst that would make any new adult story proud. I felt so bad for Lee each time that Patrick’s careless comments and actions chipped away at his hopes for a THEM. The affection Lee has for Patrick is one of the worst-kept secrets among the With a Kick community because Lee wears his heart on his sleeve, yet Patrick is blinded by his self-doubt and woe-is-me attitude. Fortunately for Lee and readers (or listeners), the guys have a great group of friends who not only pitch in to get the shop back up and running, but have no qualms about playing matchmakers and doing what is necessary to pull Patrick’s head out of his own behind – thank you, Brian! Even knowing that London would serve the perfect happy ending for the guys, I had my doubts once or twice, so I was beyond surprised with Patrick’s grand gestures at the end. It was, indeed, the cherry on top of the Double Scoop sundae.

I cannot express how happy I was to listen to Joel Leslie return to narrate Collection #2. Knowing that it was releasing, I decided to listen to the first collection again so that I could reacquaint myself with the rather huge cast of characters and in doing so, I was reminded as to just how talented Leslie is. As an American, I cannot attest to the authenticity of Leslie’s British and Turkish accents, but as a Southern girl, I loved the smooth, Southern drawl he created for Riley. The With a Kick audiobooks are a great example of why Joel Leslie is one of my favorite narrators: he creates unique voices for both small and large casts of characters, he’s consistent with characters’ voices across multiple books in a series, and he can convey such a wide range of emotion that at times I feel as though I’m eavesdropping on someone else’s life. I do so hope that London releases the final book in the series on audio as well and that Leslie is back at the mic for it because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the With a Kick community.

  • Overall
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4.5 stars and you have to listen to this book

With A Kick Collection #2 is here and the audio book was great!! I'm going to suggest now that you one-click this one today.

Story: 4 stars
The stories aren't long, but they pack a punch and are thoroughly entertaining with just enough comedy to break up the more serious moments. My only issue with the two main stories on this audiobook, there were a couple of times I thought they dragged and I wanted to slap the characters because they were acting like idiots...I'm speaking about Curtis and Patrick. I get some push and pull, but this was a bit much and it was a little annoying. That said, I still loved the stories and I highly recommend you read it today!

Narration: 4.5 stars
I love Joel Leslie and the way he can come up with a voice for each character, and he did it again with this book. You hear his voice as the characters and he is spot on. He helps to make the story and bring it to life and I could get lost listening to this story.

Overall: 4.5 stars
This book is a must read/must listen. It's entertaining, full of lighthearted moments, and so much more. The characters are real and entertaining, and the narration on the audiobooks only enhances everything and brings it all to life. Overall 4.5 stars and I highly suggest you one click today!

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  • Dee Slate
  • 05-10-19

An entertaining story with excellent narration!

Two more lovely stories centred around my favourite ice-cream shop :)
The first story is with Curtis, a delivery guy and Riley, an American in England to sort out some family stuff. Riley meets Curtis when he saves him from an obnoxious chef at a business that Curtis is making a delivery to. The two men become friends. Unfortunately, Curtis has a stalker ex-BF (he had been abusive as well :( ) Riley (and the others) eventually help Curtis with the ex and they get their budding relationship back on track.
In the second story, Lee has been crushing on Patrick forever and Patrick on Lee. Neither man knows how to move on the other - both thinking that their age difference is an issue. It takes a mishap for both of them to get their heads out of their backsides and go for it.
Joel Leslie is always a treat to listen to. The way he seamlessly flows from one accent to another is truly impressive and makes one forget there is only one person performing. It is an experience when one is listening to Joel Lesile narrate. This is an excellent way to enjoy this fun good book.
I was provided a copy for my enjoyment. My review is unsolicited and unbiased.

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 04-25-19

A real Treat!! Joel is amazing!

Joel is an amazing narrator as always. No complaints, Joel’s awesome!

Part 1: Pluck and Play:
🌟🌟🌟🌟 4+ stars
🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3

I loved Curtis and Riley!

This was a wonderful story of healing, worth, and love. I really enjoyed the opposites and similarities of these characters, tactlessness (mainly of Curtis), and the heart from each of them and I also wish With a Kick was real! It sounds delicious!! I loved Joel’s rendition of each of these characters and I’m excited about Patrick and Lee’s story as part of this collection! I do wish slimy Nick actually got what was coming to him but loved Curtis’ friends ‘acting’ to scare him. I really need to read/listen to Phiz’s story, he’s hilarious!!

Part 2: Double Scoop:
🌟🌟🌟🌟 4.5 stars
🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3

I loved Patrick and Lee!

I was so excited about their story and Clare didn’t disappoint! These two are made for each other and I’m so glad Patrick finally got out of his own way and accepted Lee is an adult and can make his own decisions on who he chooses to love! Their coming together is awesome. I'm so glad they were able to finally get out of each others way!! The concept of WIth a Kick is awesome and I loved that Patrick and Lee got the ending they deserved!!!

Thanks for reading!