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Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.
Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction.
The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. When their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight, though, will their love survive or be put on ice?
Wowee was this a sexy read. Jason “knows” he’s gay but has done very little to act upon this knowledge. He’s visited some clubs but never had a relationship and never really had the “full sexual experience” as he defines it (penetrative) and doesn’t know that he wants it. He’s a hockey player first and foremost and though he accepts that he likes men more than women, he’s not quite sure he’s comfortable identifying as a “gay man”, and he isn’t out to anyone.
Patrick is the opposite. He’s older. He’s had relationships. Though he still isn’t out professionally, he’s out to his friends and family. His interest in Jason at first is strictly professional, but when Jason begins acting peculiarly around him, he begins to have his suspicions. When he bravely acts on these suspicions he’s richly rewarded and the couple begins a deeply closeted affair, consisting of stolen moments over the course of months. They don’t even live in the same state, they have busy schedules and it is hard for them to be together.
The benefit of this is that Patrick can’t rush Jason or push him to doing anything that makes Jason uncomfortable and this helps ease Jason into accepting his sexuality more.
I thought the dialog between the guys felt very natural and masculine. Neither guy was overly “in touch with his feelings” much and so the natural hurdles that would exist between two recalcitrant males felt organic.
When the couple is in close contact during the Olympics things really begin to heat up. There is an uncomfortable moment when a homophobic slur is made that stops play during a game and Jason has a crisis of conscience about continuing his “straight” charade when others have to face discrimination without support. Patrick leaves the decision up to Jason on how much to reveal, advising that times might be changing, but there are never any guarantees.
Finally, an accident forces the couple to show their hands and they have to face the media, their team, and their family, and (especially hard for Jason) – themselves.
All in all, the story was really very well written. The slow movements toward couple-hood felt natural and well-paced. The sex was super hot and the emotions were real and fulfilling. I thought the hurdles were realistic and tackled in a way that seemed authentic.
The narrator did an excellent job. He has a very deep voice that really seemed to fit both Alpha Males and I really enjoyed his narration of their bantering dialog especially.
I hadn’t read the author or listened to the narrator before, but I will now be on the lookout! I highly recommend both the story and the audiobook and give both 4.5 of 5 stars.
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review