How did it all begin? Hart Griffin’s story simmered in the background during the early part of this series tantalizing, but not quite delivering a full on story. The author listened to her fans and delivered on the beginning of Hart and Jeremy’s story. It was a fast read- exploring, tentative, bittersweet, and hopeful.
This one falls chronologically as a prequel and could be read as such, but it is also nice coming after book two when the reader already knows who these guys are as adults.
The story opens with Jeremy Fenton secretly crushing on Hart Griffin, the captain of the university hockey team. He thinks Hart is the most beautiful and most graceful man he has seen and it gives him a bit of a thrill when the man makes eye contact with him sitting there in the stands.
But afterward, when he impulsively tries to meet Hart, he discovers an uncomfortable guy who is abrupt and doesn’t want Jeremy’s admiration. Failing dismally with his crush, he discovers someone has vandalized his jeep with hate words and flat tires. Hart comes to his rescue and it is in Hart’s truck that he gives Hart his first man on man kiss and exploration. Hart swears decisively that he is not gay- that he can’t be gay to play pro hockey.
And so a tentative friendship begins. Hart is forced to confront his fears and decide who he really is. Jeremy is out and proud, but even if he ever admits the truth, Hart cannot be that if he wants to follow his dream. It is a big step to accept Jeremy as his friend and then Hart wants them to be roommates. Hart is left hollow when Jeremy looks him in the eye and says ‘no’. He can’t be roommates or friends because he loves Hart and it hurts too much to be around him and not have him. Soul searching time…
Alright, so this one was a quick novella. It is not meant to be a complete story, but is meant to tell the beginning and it does that. I don’t mean to imply that it doesn’t tell a complete story arc because it does. It’s Hart figuring out that he is gay and Jeremy courting the love of his life.
Hart was in denial and was pretty hard on Jeremy at first because Jeremy challenged him, without even trying, to be tempted to step out of his comfort zone. Jeremy handled Hart pretty well even if Hart’s struggles hurt him. I was relieved that Jeremy understood about Hart’s career and that not everyone could just be out and it not have big consequences. It was neat that the author brought out their companionship as much as their heated attraction. I was so into the story that the ending startled me. Now I want to go back and read all those passages in the series that talked about these two though I almost wish that this one would have just kept going with their story.
All in all, this was a nice gift from the author to her fans. I love this series for its blend of sports and romance, character growth, and plots against a variety of back drops.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #233 NA