Beard now owns the bar that his grandfather left him and that makes up his entire world. His parents don’t support him and they can’t accept that he is gay. After a traumatic incident in college caused him to drop out, Beard keeps everyone at arm’s length. A year ago, Soccer walked into his bar and Beard has done everything to ignore the attraction he feels, convinced that no good will come of it. But, when a drunk Soccer gets left behind by his friends one evening, Beard has no choice but to offer him a place to stay for the night.
Soccer was captivated by Beard the moment he saw him and tried to get Beard to notice him. While Beard keeps having the other bartenders serve Soccer, Soccer can feel there could be something between them. Life is busy for Soccer with finishing college on an athletic scholarship, but the time has come to make his move on Beard. But Soccer is met with resistance and it may be an uphill battle to show Beard that they can have a relationship out in the open.
This was a fast read and although the book was in the page range to be a novel, it read more like a novella. The characters were both interesting as we meet them. First there is Beard. He did tell Soccer his name at one point, but since Soccer insists on calling him Beard, as he does sport a rather long beard, Beard returns in kind and calls him Soccer for the sport he plays. Beard is completely closed off and closeted and there was a painful incident in his past that made him that way. Some of his employees are his friends, but he mostly lives alone as that is the way he thinks he will stay safe.
Soccer is a burst of energy and smiles every time he sees Beard. He’s friendly and flirty, but Beard just won’t give him any time at all. The characters here were fun and engaging, but style of the story didn’t all come together for me. The book is almost all telling with very little showing. When we catch up with the guys, they have been aware of each other for about a year. Anything we know about them at that point we have been told. They have had barely any conversation and then there is the catalyst that has them kissing. Well first, Soccer’s friends leave him behind when he is drunk to try and force the guys to hook up and it’s written as a joke that they leave Soccer with a man that none of them really know.
After that first kiss, their relationship takes off at top speed. The author wants us to believe that the year they spent eyeing each other over the bar built some type of relationship between the two, but it was simply attraction. They don’t know each other at all, have one conversation, and are thinking about forever. Beard is closeted due to his past and thinks because Soccer is an athlete he would be safer not having a public relationship, but their relationship moved too fast for me at this point. Again, much of their relationship we are told about. The guys do connect well and they have good chemistry, but it wasn’t enough to carry the rest of the story for me. The epilogue was also a quick synopsis where we are told how they got to the next stage in their relationship and it was lackluster.
This is a debut book by the author and there were areas of potential. But ultimately the lack of relationship development, as well as the style of the story, didn’t fully draw me in.