Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.
But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?
Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?
When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.
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Review by Lucy:
Ryan is a valuable member of the swim team – the only one who does the distance race. He’s also the only gay member that he knows about and he’s not hiding who he is but he’s not announcing it either. He’s also nearly a virgin, one prior boyfriend, Ethan, being the sum total for him. When a new guy, Blake, shows up, Ryan is a little smitten. Unfortunately, a random meeting with Blake while Ryan is out with his best friend, Marissa, causes Marissa to open her big mouth. Seriously, this girl as a friend leaves a ton to be desired. She’s pretty selfish, pretty rude to Ryan and I really wanted him to get a new bestie.
However, Ryan himself is a little rude, especially regarding Ethan. He admits, “Ethan had been nice, and cute, but that’s not what Ryan wanted.” Okay fine, but Ryan cuts the guy off without a qualm, no remaining friends, blocking his number even, instead of being an adult about it. His treatment of Ethan is actually what took my rating from a 4 to a 3.5, because it made him seem cruel.
As Ryan is hemming and hawing over whether Blake could possibly be the mysterious ManMan57 on his BroLuv app, the team goes to a meet and gets stuck in a storm. This is where the story changes up a bit and a switch happens. I will say that I loved that Ryan’s first “real” kiss, with someone he cares for, starts underwater. That seemed so fitting. That it happens after he gets treated badly by someone made it even better.
Have to mention again that really, Ryan, you need a new best friend. Marissa’s rant was a bad one. “He cared about Marissa – he really did, but did she really care about him?” I am thinking not. No matter how much you want something, you don’t talk to your friends that way. Ouch.
The story is a light one and I enjoyed the swimming aspect very much. The team members seemed realistic, behaving towards each other as you’d expect college age men to act (i.e., drinking when they weren’t supposed to, harassing each other). I didn’t really see this as insta-love, though I guess it might be a little. It was more a friends to lovers feel for me and I liked that aspect very much.
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.
When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.
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