JJ is certain he’s got everything figured out. He’s straight, right? He’s just not into the hookup culture prevalent on his college soccer team. But he’s trying to hide that to avoid getting on his team captain’s bad side.
Kade is anything but straight. Out and proud, he’s curious about how the “other half” lives… even as his best friends remind him there’s more to the LGBTQ+ community than just the “G.” Curious, Kade texts JJ a simple question: do straight guys ever get off together?
When JJ’s reply leads to a head-spinning sexual spark, he starts questioning everything he knows about his sexuality, both in terms of who he’s attracted to, and also why hookups have never been his thing. But when JJ endures trauma that confuses him more, he starts pushing Kade away. Kade has to learn how to be a supportive friend, and more than that, a supportive partner, or risk losing JJ altogether. And JJ? He has to fight for his team to be team players, even when they suspect he’s “playing for the other team.”
I love romance of all types and I found this an interesting and dynamic depiction with a happy for now ending. J. R. Hart is a new author for me so I was intrigued to find this novel and check it out. I ultimately enjoyed the characters, enjoyed the plot, and found it a realistic and engaging story.
One of the reasons I found it interesting, is the use of the texts between the two characters to introduce each chapter. It added a twist on the typical story but that isn’t what kept me reading. What kept me reading was the characters themselves and how they reacted to the situations around them. JJ struggles with his emotions, his decisions and his sexuality, nothing is black and white and he feels like an outsider in the groups he’s used to being part of. As he learns with the help of friends and working through what makes him happy, his eventual choice is realistic to the character.
Kade is also unusual but truthful to anyone we meet every day. As a gay man, he struggles with accepting his bisexual friends and understanding other identities other than his own. But meeting JJ changes that and also encourages the character to grow and change. And the growth of both characters is why this story resonates. While it is primarily a romance, it informs the reader about the real culture of the LGBTQ+ community.
The plot is authentic in how both characters behave but also the backlash and homophobia that JJ experiences. But more than that, it also shows the support systems available and the outcomes that are possible if one is willing to risk speaking out and taking a stand. Without giving away the story, JJ has to face tough decisions but in doing so, finds support in places unexpected. And that realism, both the bigots and those who are supportive is true to the real world. And the ending is a satisfying conclusion to the romance between the two men.
If you love LGBTQ+ stories and romances, this is worth reading. It is both dynamic, fun, and truthful with a great deal of commentary on the world as a whole.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.