Mason is getting married. It should be the happiest day of his life, yet throwing a baseball with his best friend, Sean, before the ceremony grounds him in ways he will not let himself acknowledge. When Mason was a rookie, Sean helped him as the men made their way through the farm system. They forged a close friendship and told each other everything. Well, almost everything.
Sean’s dream has always been to be a professional baseball player. He acknowledges to himself that he is gay, but makes a conscious decision to stay in the closet for the sake of his career. It was pretty easy until he had to fight to control his feelings for Mason. The men have been tight for the last seven years and Sean reins in his feelings every time he sees Mason. When Mason’s marriage falls apart, he admits to Sean that he is bisexual, but never had the courage to pursue a relationship with a man. But he doesn’t want just any man, he wants Sean.
If the men want to have a relationship, they will need to come to terms with dreams that change, family strains, and a life that is based on the road.
There were many areas that worked for me with this book even before reading it. There was the friends-to-lovers aspect, there was a man having a relationship with another man for the first time, and there were professional athletes. After reading it, there were some areas that continued to work for me and some others that didn’t quite work out as well and some become entwined together.
To start, the book opens with a prologue. When the first chapter opens, I had no idea if we were going forward in time or back. The story does move forward, although it did take some for that to be seen and it is not clear how much time has passed.
The one area that really drew me to the story was the friends-to-lovers aspect. Sean is in love with Mason and has to get himself through Mason’s wedding day. The men have been friends for seven years and we are told how close they are. We are told this. Seven years of friendship and longing happens and we barely get to see any of it. There is then not a long build up to their relationship as the men get together early on in the story. They work really well together as best friends and lovers. However, with only a glimpse of their need for each other, their connection felt tenuous, and the desired intensity of them getting together was a little lost for me.
Once Mason and Sean are together, there are then many forces keeping them apart and they are constantly being interrupted. There are work obligations, family obligations, and the men themselves keep tripping over their relationship. They had just connected and then they were pulled in all different directions. There were vague references to Sean’s parents and that area of his life did not feel fully realized. The men also think that any form of emotion is “girly,” which read as a sweeping generalization and the women that are here are not portrayed as likable characters. The storyline with Sean’s sister, in particular, took up a lot of the book. It’s a story line that has been seen before and it’s just not one of my favorites to read. There are time leaps with that storyline as well and then we just arrive at the ending.
Even with some issues I had, the book still held my attention and overall I liked the style of writing when the men were connecting with each other. I liked both Mason and Sean and would have enjoyed getting to see their intense bond first hand. This is the first book in a new series and I would move forward to the next one as the excerpt that was offered sounds promising. If friends-to-lovers and professional athletes with several side stories sounds like a good mix for you, then this may be one to try.