Author: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M
Length: 276 pages
Rating: 5 stars
They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?
Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.
Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.
Michelle: To say that I was a wee bit excited I saw that two coaches from The Locker Room were collaborating on an m/m book, I may have done a little dance. What made it even better is that I got to read it with my co-blogger Ivy.
Ivy: Me too! Getting a chance to buddy read was great, and I was super excited to see more hockey romance. I’m a huge fan of Ms. Kennedy’s jocks…which sounds weird but I swear it isn’t. Seriously, jocks and their stick handling make me smile.
Michelle: I agree Ivy, jocks and their stick handling makes me smile too. Oh boy do they ever handle their sticks on and off the rink (yup, pun intended).
Ivy: Add to all that, “best friends to lovers” is a trope I adore. I think alot of time and care was given to developing that childhood friendship between Wes and really showing the reader that these two guys had always had a connection from very early on. The way their friendship was derailed made sense and the way their first “bet” was unveiled to the audience was touching and super hot.
Michelle: Oh yeah, kudos again Ivy. Although the “misunderstanding” at the beginning of the book was a little heartbreaking.
Ivy: The chemistry is strong with these two, right?
Michelle: Holy shitzballs was the chemistry off the charts. That first kiss, scorching hot. The first sexy times, I thought I had to call the fire department.
Ivy: Friendship stories can be tricky because sometimes the friendship overshadows any sexual heat, but that is SO not the case here. Their sexual encounters are stellar (including the little jealousies of other people). From their first real kiss to the end, it’s just crazy hot. But, it’s a very well rounded emotional story, not just (amazingly) hot sex.
Michelle: The story flowed and the plot so well written and I agree, the sexy times well, see what I wrote above. I’m still fanning myself.
Ivy: But that sex is nothing to sneeze at.
Michelle: Hello, I won’t be calling an allergist anytime soon for the sex scenes.
Ivy: Their challenges are realistic, if slightly idealized and honestly idealized works just fine for my romances. Lest anyone think it’s all unicorns and puppies, not everyone accepts their relationship and there are scenes where they’re judged and some nastiness that brings home the fact that it’s not all hearts and roses. I did think it was surprising how their professional careers were affected by their relationship, but I liked that surprise.
Michelle: 100% on point, Ivy. The challenges these two men were facing very realistic. To see how accepting most others were of their relationship made me smile. I adored Jamie’s family! I can’t say I was a fan of Ryan’s idiotic parents. The story ebbed and flowed just to my liking and if you’ve read any of Ms. Bowen’s or Ms. Kennedy’s books, you get a sense of their unique writing style, but it all blends together seamlessly.
Ivy: Ryan’s parents were asshats, no doubt. And my heart broke for them when confronted with that bigotry head on. Bastard. Anyway, I’ve never read Ms. Bowen’s books, but this definitely makes me want to rectify that travesty ASAP. There was so much that I enjoyed that it’s hard to find things to disagree about lol. This is jumping onto my Do You list, as recommendation for anyone who needs a m/m sports romance, as well as my Top 10 for the year.
Michelle: I love me some of m/m romance, couple that with some sports and I’m the biggest fan.
So, there you have it – we LOVED it and we think you will too – this is Shorties Approved all the way!
– Michelle and Ivy
**ARC provided by author for review**