Narrator: Jacob Morgan, Teddy Hamilton
Series: Him #1
Published by Rennie Road Books on July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Sports
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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.
2 of my favorite NA authors teaming up?? Yes, please! Honestly, Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy, and Kristen Callahan are pretty much the only authors I read in the NA genre, it’s just typically not my thing. But there was no way I was going to let this book go by without trying it out.
And this book did not disappoint. I loved Wes and Jamie. Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and both Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have done it so well in books I’ve read in the past I had no qualms going into this book that it would be amazing. And it was.
I never fully understood Wes’s reasoning for ghosting on Jamie after that last summer at camp. It’s explained, but it didn’t really strike me as valid, but he’s young and it clearly made sense to him. When this book starts, it’s four years later and while Jamie is still hurt by Wes’s actions, he’s moved on and he’s living his life pretty happily. When they re-connect at that same camp for one final summer before they both head off to NHL training camps, Wes realizes he’s still in love with Jamie, and Jamie realizes he has some conflicting feelings for Wes.
The romance starts up pretty quickly and easily. If anything, I think Jamie came around on his feelings for Wes and men in general a little too easily. He and Wes had one encounter four years ago, which should have been a pretty big clue to Jamie that maybe he wasn’t 100% straight, but it didn’t seem like he’d spent any time over the last few years thinking about that at all. I did appreciate that he eventually came to the conclusion that he’s bi, this isn’t a “gay-for-you” scenario, but as soon as the thought popped in his head, he just went with it. “Yep, that seems right. I’m bi.” He struggled with the change in how the world saw him, but he didn’t really struggle internally with the issue at all.
While I loved almost everything about this book, I didn’t love the gender stereotyping Wes and Jamie indulged in. A lot of references to acting “like a chick” when one of them wants to talk about something, a lot of “Of course you watch Sex and the City” comments to Wes, that sort of thing. It gets a little tiresome after a while. The dialogue struck me as a little immature as well, but these guys are 22, so that may just be me being an old fuddy-duddy. And the characterization of Polly made up for it a bit. Congrats to Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy for making Jamie’s fuck-buddy be just fine with her status as such. I think she would have liked more from Jamie, but when it doesn’t materialize, she doesn’t go nuts and start stalking Jamie, she moves on with her life.
I would have liked Wes to grow up a little more and stop dealing with his issues by running away and cutting Jamie out of his life. He does it repeatedly, and it’s not really fair to Jamie, especially when Jamie is then the one who ends up chasing after him and making the first move to reconnect. But, again, they’re both only 22, so it’s not difficult to believe they’re still acting immature in some respects.
So now that all that’s out of the way, I can talk about what I loved about this book. I loved how Wes and Jamie were 100% there for each other immediately. Wes worried about Jamie’s potential inner turmoil more than Jamie did and Jamie tried his best to make up for the crappy relationship Wes had with his own family. The sex was plentiful and smoking hot. I loved that there wasn’t a lot of overdone angst, even with Jamie coming to this realization about his own sexuality. Wes had no problem letting Jamie deal with what he needed to deal with and was there to help him whenever Jamie needed to talk it out. They also had no problem giving each other space if they needed it, even as they were rooming together as coaches at camp.
Jacob Morgan and Teddy Hamilton did an amazing job with the narration of this book. I loved listening so much that I went ahead and bought the next one on audio even though I already have it in ebook form.
This book can be read as a standalone; it ends with a HEA, but there is a follow up novel coming if you want to hang out with Jamie and Wes again. As far as I can tell it’s a full novel, not just a quick check in, but don’t worry about that with this one. Just do yourself a favor and read it.