Sunday, December 17, 2017

#16 [2017/CBR9] "Him" by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

When I read The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen, I liked it, but I was frustrated. The repetitive drama of desperate sex followed by denial and rejection just didn't feel very romantic to me. A fellow Cannonballer (I'm afraid I forgot who) recommended that I try Him (2015) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. It's similar to The Understatement of the Year in that the romantic leads are both males and both hockey players. It was a good recommendation because I did find it both sweeter, hotter, and more romantic than Understatement.

Jamie Canning, a goalie, and Ryan "Wes" Wesley, a forward, grew up going to a hockey summer camp together where they became the best of friends. Their last summer together, something happened between the two. We don't get any details at first, but we know that it caused Wes to walk away from Jamie, avoiding him for the next four years. Him begins with the two playing against each other in the Frozen Four hockey tournament at the end of their college hockey careers. Wes is a gay man, getting ready to join the NHL next year. When the two hit it off again, Wes impulsively decides to follow Jamie back to summer camp, this time to coach.

The majority of the book takes place during the hockey summer camp. Bowen and Kennedy do a good job with a slow reveal of the incident that occurred four years ago that pushed Wes away from Jamie. Wes feels guilty for what he sees as taking advantage of Jamie back when they were eighteen. They are already best friends and have very good rapport. Wes and Jamie get closer and closer as the summer progresses. Eventually, Jamie has to face the fact that he may not be straight as he always thought because he certainly has an intense attraction to Wes.

This book wasn't perfect. I remember not completely buying the reasons that were forcing them apart at the end. On the whole, though, I really enjoyed this one. The relationship between Wes and Jamie was sweet, intimate, and sexy.

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