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Calling the Ball

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A vacation to the sunny, seaside, resort city of Durres, Albania puts some space between Henrick Kohler and his closeted ex, Klaus, giving him time to get his life back together. While there a chance run-in with superstar footballer, Valentino ‘Tino’ Alessi, sends Henrick running in the other direction. With no intention of being either another notch in someone’s bedpost o A vacation to the sunny, seaside, resort city of Durres, Albania puts some space between Henrick Kohler and his closeted ex, Klaus, giving him time to get his life back together. While there a chance run-in with superstar footballer, Valentino ‘Tino’ Alessi, sends Henrick running in the other direction. With no intention of being either another notch in someone’s bedpost or their secret lover, he offers friendship but nothing more. He doesn’t want to risk his heart with what he sees as just another Klaus, but with the added ability to ruin his life on a much more spectacular level. Tino can’t catch a break, even doing a nice thing for a fan lands him in hot water. When he’s suspended until his latest mess is straightened out, Tino does the only thing he can think of—he goes holiday home hunting in his favorite resort town. Tino falls hard and fast for the blond Austrian who wants nothing to do with him romantically, but he accepts the offer of friendship when his efforts to woo Henrick get him nowhere. Friendship is what they agree to, but both men realize there’s just something there neither of them can deny. What will it take for them to overcome everything and realize there’s no time like the present to grab on to what they want?


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A vacation to the sunny, seaside, resort city of Durres, Albania puts some space between Henrick Kohler and his closeted ex, Klaus, giving him time to get his life back together. While there a chance run-in with superstar footballer, Valentino ‘Tino’ Alessi, sends Henrick running in the other direction. With no intention of being either another notch in someone’s bedpost o A vacation to the sunny, seaside, resort city of Durres, Albania puts some space between Henrick Kohler and his closeted ex, Klaus, giving him time to get his life back together. While there a chance run-in with superstar footballer, Valentino ‘Tino’ Alessi, sends Henrick running in the other direction. With no intention of being either another notch in someone’s bedpost or their secret lover, he offers friendship but nothing more. He doesn’t want to risk his heart with what he sees as just another Klaus, but with the added ability to ruin his life on a much more spectacular level. Tino can’t catch a break, even doing a nice thing for a fan lands him in hot water. When he’s suspended until his latest mess is straightened out, Tino does the only thing he can think of—he goes holiday home hunting in his favorite resort town. Tino falls hard and fast for the blond Austrian who wants nothing to do with him romantically, but he accepts the offer of friendship when his efforts to woo Henrick get him nowhere. Friendship is what they agree to, but both men realize there’s just something there neither of them can deny. What will it take for them to overcome everything and realize there’s no time like the present to grab on to what they want?

45 review for Calling the Ball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    After reading two titles by C.L. Mustafic, I know that I enjoy her writing style and that she’s not afraid to take risks. I really hate when authors stick to one formula just because it’s successful. A bonus for me is that I love football (soccer) and lively, picturesque European settings. So I knew I couldn’t go wrong with Calling the Ball. Early on, Henrick receives the devastating news from his closeted lover and co-worker, Klaus, that he is getting married. Henrick is unhappy being Klaus’ se After reading two titles by C.L. Mustafic, I know that I enjoy her writing style and that she’s not afraid to take risks. I really hate when authors stick to one formula just because it’s successful. A bonus for me is that I love football (soccer) and lively, picturesque European settings. So I knew I couldn’t go wrong with Calling the Ball. Early on, Henrick receives the devastating news from his closeted lover and co-worker, Klaus, that he is getting married. Henrick is unhappy being Klaus’ secret relationship and wants more than just sex, so he decides to end it and go on a much- needed holiday to a seaside resort in Albania. While lounging at the pool, Henrick lays eyes on none other than Valentino “Tino” Alessi, a closeted professional footballer beset by scandal. The attraction is instant and mutual, but Henrick guards his heart closely. Tino is persistent, though, and soon their flirtation leads to friendship. This is a slow-burn romance and a light, relaxing read. I loved the alternating viewpoints, allowing the reader to get to know both characters equally. I adored Tino, despite his not being able to take no for an answer, but I found Henrick to be immature and indecisive. The constant push and pull annoyed me to no end. At times, I couldn’t understand why Tino was so attracted to Henrick. The sex, when it finally happened, was so lacking in sensuality that I could have cried. For a story about a pro footballer, there were precious few sport details. And there were frequent occurrences of “the man”, “the other man”, “the smaller man” which I found annoying and distracting. It’s a good story overall, just not a great one. *This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trio

    Sweet, charming, and utterly romantic Calling the Ball is the kind of novel with which I want to curl up on the couch (maybe with a roaring fire and a glass of something) and indulge to my heart's content. There's a lovely European flair to this one, which is so refreshing since most romances I read are about Americans. Mustafic paints a vivid picture with everything she writes, and the settings and characters of Calling the Ball are no different. Who can help but fall for adorable, twinky Henric Sweet, charming, and utterly romantic Calling the Ball is the kind of novel with which I want to curl up on the couch (maybe with a roaring fire and a glass of something) and indulge to my heart's content. There's a lovely European flair to this one, which is so refreshing since most romances I read are about Americans. Mustafic paints a vivid picture with everything she writes, and the settings and characters of Calling the Ball are no different. Who can help but fall for adorable, twinky Henrick? That opening scene alone is enough to endear him most of us. I loved the sections of the book from his perspective, I just wanted to wrap him up in a hug and love him! Tino's situation was an interesting one, and I'm so glad it worked out the way it did. He had to go through everything first, just the way he did, to get to his happily-ever-after and it was so worth it! Watching him woo and romance Henrick... well I was a little jealous. I love how there's a different flavor to every CL Mustafic book I've ever read. This author is able to sound like whomever she wants and I never know what I'm going to get. If you're looking for a beautifully written, funny, sexy, and sweet romance then Calling the Ball is going to suit nicely. a copy of Calling the Ball was provided by the author for the purpose of my unbiased review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jassy

    Phew... unfortunately, this book wasn't for me. That's also why it took me longer than usual to finish. I'm gonna try to explain why I had such a hard time with it: It started off very promising. You get to know the MCs separately for the first two or three chapters which I like as an introduction. Henrick had me hooked actually when he was treated so poorly by his ex-boyfriend and promised himself to find something real next. I also liked Tino because... closet cases are my thing. Out-for-you ca Phew... unfortunately, this book wasn't for me. That's also why it took me longer than usual to finish. I'm gonna try to explain why I had such a hard time with it: It started off very promising. You get to know the MCs separately for the first two or three chapters which I like as an introduction. Henrick had me hooked actually when he was treated so poorly by his ex-boyfriend and promised himself to find something real next. I also liked Tino because... closet cases are my thing. Out-for-you can be a beautiful theme. So far so good. When Henrick and Tino meet during their holiday there is instant attraction but of course Henrick doesn't want to act on it which I get, I really do. However, this was the point when it started to go downhill for me. I felt no connection between the two MCs. Tino decided from second one that he wanted Henrick and Henrick rebuffed the guy multiple times. It grew exhausting, especially when they still stressed over and over again that they were friends (which really, they were not). There was no trust and no warmth between them. And while being with Tino was no option at all, Henrick had no hang-ups whatsoever to have his fun with other characters in the book. If one MC gets in 'a relationship' with someone other than the 2nd MC about 50 pages before the book is supposed to end, then something just went wrong in my opinion. Plus, it takes two life threatening incidents for this couple to get together. I don't want to scare anyone off who wants to try but as I said in the beginning... it wasn't for me. **ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josy

    My lovely friend Jewel gifted me this book :) Thanks so much, Jewel!! I really appreciate you thinking of me!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin

    When Henrick gets out of a two year relationship with his coworker he decides to take a vacation to the beach to get his life back on track. When he meets famous footballer Tino, he tries to keep his distance but Tino doesn’t take no for an answer... until he finally does. But as time passes, their friendship means more and more. Will they both change their lives to be happy? This is the second book I’ve read by CL Mustafic and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to read this one. I was very When Henrick gets out of a two year relationship with his coworker he decides to take a vacation to the beach to get his life back on track. When he meets famous footballer Tino, he tries to keep his distance but Tino doesn’t take no for an answer... until he finally does. But as time passes, their friendship means more and more. Will they both change their lives to be happy? This is the second book I’ve read by CL Mustafic and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to read this one. I was very impressed by the writing and the story. I literally did not want to put this one down. Henrick was funny and witty and stood up for himself over and over again while Tino was so charming and patient and such a family guy. I loved this so much!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicki K.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. After his in-the-closet boyfriend announces he wants to take his cover relationship to the next level, Henrick Kohler decides it's time to walk away from their relationship, as he's fed up with being the other man. While taking a much needed vacation, he soon comes face-to-face with famed footballer, Tino Alessi. Tino was recently the center of a scandal, and is hiding out at his favorite vacation spot. Whi I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. After his in-the-closet boyfriend announces he wants to take his cover relationship to the next level, Henrick Kohler decides it's time to walk away from their relationship, as he's fed up with being the other man. While taking a much needed vacation, he soon comes face-to-face with famed footballer, Tino Alessi. Tino was recently the center of a scandal, and is hiding out at his favorite vacation spot. While firmly in the closet, or at least in the public's eye, Tino is instantly smitten with Henrick. However, Henrick refuses to be in a relationship with another closeted man, and the two soon settle for friendship. Nevertheless, their mutual attraction soon makes for complications. Calling the Ball is the second book I've read by Mustafic, and I'm a little disappointed to find I didn't like it nearly as much as the first. While the concept was intriguing, I found myself instantly disliking Tino's character, and despite his "family man" status, I found his initial encounter with Henrick to be slightly skeevy and immature. I've never really understood characters that continuously go after another when turned down, and I didn't really find Tino and Henrick to have an abundance of chemistry. Furthermore, I didn't find their friendship to be very believable. The pacing was slow, which wouldn't normally bother me, but I just couldn't connect with the story or characters. Overall, Calling the Ball was just not the book for me. While I wasn't in love with this book, I do still look forward to reading more from the author. 3/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tanja

    I enjoyed this book. It is a solid slow-burn romance between two men who have their own reasons not to get romantically involved. It is romantic, a bit sexy, at times funny. I liked Henrik from the beginning. He is an out-and-proud man, and while he was not happy with being someone’s secret boyfriend, he went along with it. But he draws the line having an affair with a soon-to-be-married man. On his vacation, he meets pro footballer, Valentino, Tino for his friends. Tino is not out of fear of wh I enjoyed this book. It is a solid slow-burn romance between two men who have their own reasons not to get romantically involved. It is romantic, a bit sexy, at times funny. I liked Henrik from the beginning. He is an out-and-proud man, and while he was not happy with being someone’s secret boyfriend, he went along with it. But he draws the line having an affair with a soon-to-be-married man. On his vacation, he meets pro footballer, Valentino, Tino for his friends. Tino is not out of fear of what it would do to his career. I am not so sure I liked Tino at first. I might be biased as I don’t like footballers for the most part. So in that respect, he is portrayed rather well. He keeps pursuing Henrik, although Henrik has told him numerous times he doesn’t want anything long-lasting and the reason why. I must say Tino is very sweet towards Henrik, but the holding off coming out went on a bit too long for my taste. That being said, I know it still is difficult to come out, even in Europe, in a macho sport that football still is. In the end, he came around nicely, though. I really enjoyed the European elements of this book. Henrik is Austrian, and Tino is Italian, whereas the book is set for the most part in Albania. That gave the book quite a different aspect. Although the story is about a pro footballer, we don’t get any playing time. All in all an entertaining book for everyone who is looking for a lighthearted story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deli

    I really liked this book ! I only knew the "Outcast" series by this author before and was positively surprised how different the books are. Thought i like the "Outcast" serie as well, they have a totally different feel which in my opinion definitely shows that the author knows her stuff ! This book gives of a very warm overall feeling. The holiday setting in the beginning surely helps with that, but the characters play a big part in that too, they are very likeable but not totally perfect which j I really liked this book ! I only knew the "Outcast" series by this author before and was positively surprised how different the books are. Thought i like the "Outcast" serie as well, they have a totally different feel which in my opinion definitely shows that the author knows her stuff ! This book gives of a very warm overall feeling. The holiday setting in the beginning surely helps with that, but the characters play a big part in that too, they are very likeable but not totally perfect which just makes them even more real. Another thing i really liked was the way Tinos fame was handled. In most books with famous ppl money is a big issue. Here i felt it was handled very subtle. Tino being a football star, ofc has money he uses, but its not on the forefront of the book so one has more focus on more important things. C.L Mustafic is definitely an author ill pick up more books from.

  9. 4 out of 5

    BookSnuggle

    Calling the Ball by CL Mustafic. This is Henrick Koehler and Valentino “Tino” Alessi’s story. This is a very slow-burn romance. Henrick is on holiday to get away after a bad breakup. Tino is a pro athlete that is in hiding from some bad press. He is attracted to Henrick and tries to get him to go out with him. Henrick doesn’t want to be involved with someone that wants to hide their relationship so he constantly fights His attraction to Tino. At first I didn’t feel connected to the characters but Calling the Ball by CL Mustafic. This is Henrick Koehler and Valentino “Tino” Alessi’s story. This is a very slow-burn romance. Henrick is on holiday to get away after a bad breakup. Tino is a pro athlete that is in hiding from some bad press. He is attracted to Henrick and tries to get him to go out with him. Henrick doesn’t want to be involved with someone that wants to hide their relationship so he constantly fights His attraction to Tino. At first I didn’t feel connected to the characters but as they revealed their true self I really liked them. Now, there were times I wanted to smack some sense into them. I enjoyed the story but I wish it hadn’t taken so long for Tino and Henrick to work everything out. FYI, contains mature content. This is a M/M gay romance. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Dufera

    I always enjoy a decent story of a closeted athlete, and Calling The Ball, by CL Mustafic is just that. Henrick and Tino meet while staying at a resort in Albania. Tino's a closeted pro football player who's in trouble due to the press getting some facts wrong. Henrick is there after a break-up, to get some time away. What follows is a romance that develops despite many obstacles thrown their way. For me this book is okay, definitely a good read for a light and easy escape. I enjoyed it, but ther I always enjoy a decent story of a closeted athlete, and Calling The Ball, by CL Mustafic is just that. Henrick and Tino meet while staying at a resort in Albania. Tino's a closeted pro football player who's in trouble due to the press getting some facts wrong. Henrick is there after a break-up, to get some time away. What follows is a romance that develops despite many obstacles thrown their way. For me this book is okay, definitely a good read for a light and easy escape. I enjoyed it, but there were definitely a few moments in the story that kept me from liking it more. I like the plot idea, but this one just left me wanting a little more from it. Maybe a little more angst. I'm not even really sure. But, it's a not a bad read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Poor Henrick seems to be attracted to the closeted guys. First, Klaus, then Tino. Love CAN conquer all as we find out in this heartfelt romance, set in an exotic seaside community in Albania of all places. Can two handsome men that are highly attracted to each other just be friends? If so, can friends become lovers? I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters interesting with some complexity to their characters that made them compelling. A book with a good solid plot and found that author Poor Henrick seems to be attracted to the closeted guys. First, Klaus, then Tino. Love CAN conquer all as we find out in this heartfelt romance, set in an exotic seaside community in Albania of all places. Can two handsome men that are highly attracted to each other just be friends? If so, can friends become lovers? I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters interesting with some complexity to their characters that made them compelling. A book with a good solid plot and found that author Mustafic's simmering story line slowly revealed an undeniable passion in a relaxing, pleasurable read. Love isn't perfect-- but perfect love is worth taking chances. I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange fro an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dixiecowgirl

    A Sweet and a so Satisfying Romance!! I really liked both of the MC's, they each had their struggles but were really good men. My heart felt for both of them with the way that they were treated by some of the people that were close to them. I really loved Tino's parents. The writing was beautiful and i enjoyed the descriptions of the area that they were in. Henrick and Tino find their way to friendship and then to love in just such a beautiful written tale. You will want to be sure take the time A Sweet and a so Satisfying Romance!! I really liked both of the MC's, they each had their struggles but were really good men. My heart felt for both of them with the way that they were treated by some of the people that were close to them. I really loved Tino's parents. The writing was beautiful and i enjoyed the descriptions of the area that they were in. Henrick and Tino find their way to friendship and then to love in just such a beautiful written tale. You will want to be sure take the time to read and enjoy Calling the Ball! I was gifted this book from the author and i freely give my review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sheridan

    I enjoyed this book! The characters were fantastic, funny and you felt a sense of connection with them (Except Klaus he was a douche!) The feelings are real with the struggles of Tino staying in the closet while wanting to come out, when he finds the man worth coming out for! Henrick doesn’t want to live a lie! He doesn’t want to stay hidden in a relationship. So when Tino keeps asking, Henrick keeps denying him. But when Tino makes one last big gesture, can Henrick keep saying no?? Perfect story of I enjoyed this book! The characters were fantastic, funny and you felt a sense of connection with them (Except Klaus he was a douche!) The feelings are real with the struggles of Tino staying in the closet while wanting to come out, when he finds the man worth coming out for! Henrick doesn’t want to live a lie! He doesn’t want to stay hidden in a relationship. So when Tino keeps asking, Henrick keeps denying him. But when Tino makes one last big gesture, can Henrick keep saying no?? Perfect story of coming out, the struggle while being famous and finding the one you would give the world too!! ❤️❤️

  14. 4 out of 5

    Esther Alayeto

    A heartfelt story that shows that true love can conquer all! Henrick's ex is in the closet and when he goes on vacation to put some space between them, he finds himself falling for another closeted guy, Tino! They each have reasons for not wanting to get seriously involved and agree to be friends. Their attraction is very strong and I like watching their slow burn romance grow. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bran Zesti

    WHAT A BOOK!!! If I didn't need to sleep and work i never would have out of down.!!!! This book was so good. One of the best so far.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cammey Kelley

    Pro footballer “Tino” can’t seem to keep his personal life out of the media. Because of his career, Tino is firmly in the closet, and his latest misunderstanding in the news, leaves him with time for a holiday and time for reflection. Henrick, an out and proud man, is tired of being his current lovers dirty little secret, but finally sees the light when said boyfriend proposes to his “girlfriend” to better his career. Henrick too sees himself in need of a vacation, and of course, it’s he that Tin Pro footballer “Tino” can’t seem to keep his personal life out of the media. Because of his career, Tino is firmly in the closet, and his latest misunderstanding in the news, leaves him with time for a holiday and time for reflection. Henrick, an out and proud man, is tired of being his current lovers dirty little secret, but finally sees the light when said boyfriend proposes to his “girlfriend” to better his career. Henrick too sees himself in need of a vacation, and of course, it’s he that Tino sets his eyes on. Can Henrick lure Tino out of the proverbial closet? My first book by this author, but I can’t wait to read more. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jess Gabriel

    This one was a bit slow for me. I didn't enjoy it as much as I've been enjoying the Outcasts series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    HW

    This was a lovely slow burn romance about Henrick, who recently got out of a relationship with a closeted man, and Valentino, a “football” player. The story takes place in Europe, and Henrick and Valentino meet on vacation in Albania. (It was interesting to learn about the Italian-Albanian connection when it was briefly mentioned!) It was an unusual setting, which I appreciated. When the two men meet, Henrick is hesitant to pursue more, as dating the famous Valentino would mean yet another relat This was a lovely slow burn romance about Henrick, who recently got out of a relationship with a closeted man, and Valentino, a “football” player. The story takes place in Europe, and Henrick and Valentino meet on vacation in Albania. (It was interesting to learn about the Italian-Albanian connection when it was briefly mentioned!) It was an unusual setting, which I appreciated. When the two men meet, Henrick is hesitant to pursue more, as dating the famous Valentino would mean yet another relationship with a closeted man, but on a bigger scale this time. Matters are complicated when another man expresses interest in Henrick as well - one who is not closeted. Personally I didn’t care for that addition, as I wanted even more focus on Henrick with Valentino, but it was probably a necessary plot device to help Valentino make a decision in some ways. There was some use of Italian and other European languages, and I would have liked to know what was being said there on the less obvious words/phrases, but I liked how Valentino called Henrick “tesoro,” as that was so sweet and cute. The subplot between Valentino and his model friend also served its purpose, and Valentino’s team convinced him not to come out until something happens later in the book that makes Valentino understand how much he needs Henrick. I really enjoyed this book, and was so pleased with the ending.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annie ~ From Top to Bottom Reviews

  20. 5 out of 5

    C.L.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brown Eyed Girl ~Suzanne~

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eugenia

  23. 5 out of 5

    ~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aeriel

  25. 4 out of 5

    MariF

  26. 4 out of 5

    ☆ Todd

  27. 4 out of 5

    The Celtic Rebel (Richard)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lexy_lists

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  31. 5 out of 5

    Stephany Cissy

  32. 5 out of 5

    namericanwordcat

  33. 4 out of 5

    pasghetti

  34. 5 out of 5

    Vivid4674

  35. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

  36. 5 out of 5

    Am4u ❀ ~ AprilMarie4u ~ ❀

  37. 5 out of 5

    Arianna

  38. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  39. 5 out of 5

    Len Evans Jr

  40. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  41. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  42. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  43. 4 out of 5

    Nimpatan

  44. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Rosebrugh

  45. 5 out of 5

    Alex

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