On the Brink by Kate Willoughby #AfternoonDelight

On the Brink by Kate Willoughby #AfternoonDelightOn the Brink by Kate Willoughby

Series: #.5 In the Zone
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance, New Adult Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on June 28, 2016
Pages: 97
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars      four-flames

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.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #233 NA

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Awww, a gift to fans. Those are the best IMO. Shows how much we matter to these authors 🙂

    • I agree. It is very special of her to do that.

  • Oh nice. I haven’t read this author but that sounds like a story I’d like. Thanks for the great review.

    • Her hockey series is pretty good. I wasn’t into hockey much, but I do love reading her stories. 🙂

  • Sounds like a nicely done series. Goodness that cover!

    • Yes, the overall series is pretty good. There was one heroine back a bit that got on my nerves, but the rest of this series is pretty good for me.
      Oh yeah, that cover is like a strip tease. 😉

  • Oh this does sound like a nice little treat the author gave ya!! And man the cover is sexy as all get out!!

    • It was neat that she listened to her fans. Yes, very hot. 😉

  • Glad you enjoyed this one . Quick treats are nice!

    • Yes, it was neat to get the early story of these guys.