Jamie Canning looked forward to his summers at hockey camp. With five older siblings, hockey camp and his best friend Ryan Wesley (Wes) were the only things that were his. The guys spent six weeks together every summer and were the best of friends. Four years ago Wes cut Jamie off without an explanation. They never discussed the bet that changed their relationship. Jamie was fine with what happened anyway. It was just some fooling around.
Wes is all set for the hockey championships that will cap off his college career. Watching the game tape of the opponent, he is overcome with the knowledge that he knows those moves of the player he is watching. He has never forgotten anything about Jamie Canning and has never gotten over the fear and guilt that he pushed and manipulated his straight friend into a bet that took their friendship into intimate territory. Wes came out years ago, and with their college teams set to meet on the ice, Wes knows he will have the chance to apologize. But his first glance at Jamie after all these years brings back that same intense longing.
Jamie never knew what he did to earn Wes’ silence and is only met with more questions and more confusion. He will have the opportunity to sort it all out when the guys are now the camp hockey coaches for one more hot summer. Jamie will not only learn Wes’ secrets, but will discover some longings of his own for his very best friend.
There is almost nothing that I didn’t like about this book and almost everything that I did like about it. The book opens with Wes, who has a great voice as he is confident and real, yet he also has a touch of self awareness. He is set for the championships and set to advance to the NHL. He is not so sure he is ready to see Jamie again. He has always missed Jamie but he feels that he was unfair and pushed Jamie into a sexual moment that Jamie didn’t really want, although he never spoke to him about it. Wes has always been in love with Jamie, but he knows that Jamie is straight. So he disappeared rather than deal with any potential fallout.
When the guys meet up again, the story of the summer and incident in question is told through a few flashbacks, but the scenes are as smooth as a recalled memory and blend well into the story. There are also a few instances where the guys talked out of the page and here it adds to the attitude of the characters. The book is also written by two authors and their voices blend seamlessly into one.
What I really liked was that Wes took ownership for what he did. He knew he was an ass, took responsibility for it, and apologized to Jamie. Jamie, for his part, starts out as a whirl of confusion but owns how he is feeling for Wes. Jamie quickly sorts through that he also is attracted to men, but most importantly, that he is attracted to Wes. What was so important here and was shown so well was the true friendship these guys had. They really loved just being together.
Everything with these guys was so very easy. Everything that seemed like a road block was really just a minor detour with minimal drama. While there were some tense moments along the way, it never dissolved into prolonged misunderstandings, which was awesome. Sometimes low angst is just what is needed, but things were a little too easy for me here.
It doesn’t matter if sports are your thing or not. While there is hockey here, the focus is on the relationship and there are also many heated scenes to choose from. There is also sparks of jealousy, kissing in the rain, skinny dipping, two hockey players struggling to find space in the back of a car, and lots and lots of purple Skittles. There is no doubt Jamie and Wes get their happy ending, but maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to make bets anymore. This is the very best of a feel good friends- to-lovers story.
“Want you,” I whisper. Lately, those two words define me.
“Have me,” he says.