What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.
Five years ago Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then he's made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself. So it's a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless.
For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team's new left wing could destroy Graham's life as he knows it.
John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it's worse than usual, because the media has latched on to the story of the only "out" player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused. And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.
Rikker didn't exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won't even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former...best friend/boyfriend/whatever isn't doing so well. He drinks too much and can't focus during practice.
Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self-destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won't be easy is the understatement of the year.
Warning: Unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky T-shirts, and a poker-playing grandmother.
©2014 Sarina Bowen (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
From the blurb we can tell that this is a “second chance” love story. Two boys who fell for each other at the wrong time, have lived apart for years, are now suddenly thrown back into one another’s lives.
Rikker is out and proud, and Graham is still hiding behind beards and denial.
What proceeds is a long and angst-filled romance that hides behind closed doors for the most part, until Graham can’t stand the strain any longer.
I avoided reading this book originally because –though it got many 4 and 5 star reviews – several key issues made me cringe. 1) I don’t tend to like re-union love stories. I like the original blush of new love far too much to see lovers find one another again. 2) I didn’t like the YA aspect of this. Too much angst. Not enough sex. 3) The fact that it’s part of a M/F series written by an M/F author.
But… I love hockey stories. I love coming out stories. I LOVED Him by Sarina Bowen and finally – when this came out on audio it had two narrators which really flipped my switch when I listened to Him.
So, I gave it a go.
All in all it wasn’t bad. I agree with the preivous reviewers who noted that Graham and Rikker don’t act like teenagers, but young men with real life problems. However, I never warmed to Graham and felt like he was a big whiny baby for most of the book. Even when he finally makes the right decision, it wasn’t enough for me to really like him as a character.
Rikker was awesome and I wish he’d been more forceful with Graham and earlier on.
The other secondary characters are interesting, but since their stories are all part of the M/F series – I won’t be reading them.
I guess I enjoyed this, but I wouldn’t be tempted to read/listen to it again, because I was pulling my hair out over Graham’s ridiculous inner monologues.
Story 3 of 5 stars
The audio is the only saving grace (for me) with this book. I loved the alternating voices and really felt immersed in the story. I really liked how well both narrators captured the emotion and it’s great having two distinct voices tell a story like this.
Audio 5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
This was my first audio book and I absolutely loved it!!! I'd already read the Kindle version of the book and wanted o try the audio version.
Needless to say I was very happy with it. Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox were awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. Sigh.
I loved how I could do other things while still listening to the book. Such convenience!
I'm now an audiobook convert. And Happily so!
There was nothing I disliked about this book. The story is heartbreakingly beautiful. The narration is Amazing and I wish there was a second book! And third or fourth! I want to know how their lives turn out.
Hot hot and hot!
I, of course, loved Rikker but Graham grew on me as the storyline progressed.
I've listened to Teddy before and love him. He's fantastic. I also loved Christian's narration as well.
Graham's struggle with being gay and coming out. I loved the moment when he came out to his Mom.
Fabulous narrators, great book!
Saying something about myself is easier said than done....
Can't miss this one, it's real life with believability and heart! You won't regret that listening a moment! Fantastic::HAWT::
I have so much utter love for this book. Wow, it was absolutely incredible.
The setup for the story is fabulous. Graham and Rikker were best friends in high school...and then more. But one night they weren't as discreet as they should have been and were the victims of a hate assault. Graham took off and abandoned Rikker...who could have died. They never saw one another again...until college. They both play hockey and for a while both were safely hidden in the closet. But then Rikker was outed and thrown off the team at his last college...something the governing body of college hockey did not take well. They transferred him to Harkness, where Graham goes to school.
Graham is DEEP within the closet whereas Rikker has made national news for what happened to him...everyone knows he's gay. As a result, Graham acts like he doesn't even know Rikker, although the chemistry between them is just as powerful as ever. But for Rikker, that's easier to ignore because Graham continues to be such a jerk.
There is so much to love about this book. There are a TON of really complex and angst-filled emotions going on here. Graham is an absolute mess. He won't even admit to himself that he's gay. He has sex with women...usually drunk so he doesn't notice who he's sticking his dick into. As the reader/listener, I wanted to hate him, but he's just so lost and scared about being discovered. He's truly a hot mess. On the other hand is Rikker, who never planned to be out, but now handles it all in stride although he hates being the "gay guy" on the team. He just wants to be a hockey player...easy...done...at least it should be, but that's never the way it works. I absolute ADORED Rikker's character. While he hates Graham's actions, he understands why he's doing what he is. Rikker has amazing empathy.
And then there are the side characters who I love...Bella, the team assistant and resident ho...I did not think I would like her so much, but wow, she turned out to be incredible. She's such a support system for Rikker which is huge since he's basically the outcast at the school. Then there's the team captain, Hartley. I love how he simply accepts the situations Rikker brings in stride.
This book was absolutely fabulous on audio. I highly recommend reading it this way, although I will admit to ordering a print copy of the book for my keeper shelf. I'm looking forward to sitting down and reading the book to see if I enjoy it as much in that format.
"The story was better this time around....."
Yes, if they're prepared to accept that they'll get really annoyed with Michael Graham. The quality was really good.
John Rikker definitely. I loved Teddy Hamilton as Jamie Canning in Sarina Bowen/Elle Kennedy's HIM and was chuffed to bits he narrated Rikker.
I was furious with Graham after reading the story in 2015, and this audio mostly made me remember Graham's continuing refusal to grow a pair and come out of that closet. He was with Rikker, his bestie and even though they hadn't said the words, his boyfriend since childhood and they were both the victims of a hate crime...Rikker was beaten up for God's sake, and Graham still said nothing and didn't even visit Rikker in hospital cos he was a chicken!! Have to say though, for some reason this audio book helped me to get a better understanding of Graham's huge mental block regarding that closet and his future.
My Goodreads review...Superb narration of a great story featuring 'Teddy Hamilton' who 'was' Jamie Canning for me in Him as John Rikker and a newbie to me, Christian Fox, as Michael Graham. I have to admit it made me see Graham in a whole new less insensitive light, and I sort of get where he was coming from now, although I still felt sorry for Rikker and his woes. This is a fairly new audio book presentation I think, and I am so happy with it. Another winner from Audible.
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