Author: Amy Aislin
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: ormer best friends turned lovers Christian and Riley haven’t seen or spoken to each other in six years…is there a better time than the holiday season to reconnect with your favorite person?
The last person Christian wants to run into on a visit home to spend time with his mom over the holidays is his former best friend-turned-lover-turned-ex. But there Riley is, in all his tall, chiseled, blondness. The same guy who walked out on him six years ago, breaking his heart in the process. Who knew he’s still in love with the jerk? (Oh yeah, he did. What? Who says denial isn’t healthy?)
Two years ago, Riley was injured out of the NHL, but he’s got his own bakery now and a quiet life selling quiches and cupcakes to his customers. Then Christian unexpectedly walks back into his life, forcing Riley to question his choices. Especially that one choice he made six years ago that walked him out of Christian’s life. Now if only he had the courage to tell a boy how he really feels about him…
Review: The Play of His Life is part of the MLR Shimmer series, where the stories are loosely tied together by the name of the place that serves Shimmer, Warm Glow (here, it is a bakery) and the booze itself, Shimmer. Shimmer causes different reactions in people depending on what they use to mix it. This is a story of two men with a history who just maybe have a second chance.
Christian’s mother is a little sneaky, sending her boy to the bakery when she knows he is going to run into Riley, his ex-best friend and former lover. I have to be honest, I didn’t love Riley. I ended up being okay with Christian wanting Riley (you know, as if he needed my permission) but Riley himself pulled a really nasty move at a bad time, even worse when you realize that he had been Christian’s best friend, so wasn’t there when Christian needed him most.
The fact that Christian takes blame for things, “I’m sorry for not being strong enough to hold on to you” made my heart hurt for him. The first time they break up was so understandable and so sad for them. I don’t want to say they have misunderstandings, because it seems deeper than that. “Is this why you won’t come home? Because you think I don’t…I don’t want you here?” Riley thought he could have it all – hockey and Christian.
Riley had been a pro hockey player and remained friends with many of the players, so he brings Christian to a party where he gets to meet famous players. Christian proceeds to act like a total swooning fanboy and it’s adorable. “I scared him away, didn’t I?” Whatever, he didn’t even care. “My life is made. I can die happy now.” Cutest thing ever.
There are so many clues that these two never stopped thinking of each other and I liked that. From the T to the scrapbook to the hospital visit to the gifts in the closet, they wanted to be there for each other but just didn’t make it work. There were a few times I wanted to shake them and tell them, “One of you SAY SOMETHING!” But, particularly in the case of Christian, I got why they didn’t. Why they were a little afraid. I ended up pulling for them and hoping things would work. There’s hockey in the story but it’s more of a backdrop than an active character and that worked.