Bryce Lowry is a very successful pro hockey player. He’s inherited an orchard from a long lost uncle and he’s going to head to Colorado to check it out and move his mother into the main house. He’s also going to be using his time away from the team to do some thinking. Bryce is not very sure about his sexuality…is he gay? Is he not? While he is on his way to the orchard, Bryce blows a tire and is “rescued” by another man who not only changes the tire, but causes Bryce to have feelings that lead him to know he’s certainly not straight.
Dakota Ryan is distraught. He’s been living in a house in the orchard and running it since the owner passed away. He’d been told the orchard would be left to him, but the copy of the will with that information has been lost. Dakota is concerned the new owner will throw him out and he’ll be lost and homeless. He’s out for a drive when he comes upon a man with a blown tire on the side of the road. Stopping to help, Dakota feels an immediate connection with the handsome and vehicularly (I invented that word) challenged man.
After some heated flirting, a kiss is exchanged and before long, they’re breaking into a sealed off cabin for some life altering sex. Bryce realizes he’s most definitely not straight, and Dakota is happy to have been the one to help Bryce through the experience. They part ways, but they’re both surprised the next day when they discover Bryce is the orchard’s new owner.
After the shock wears off, they start making things work between them, but Bryce is not only in the middle of negotiations for a lucrative new contract, he’s afraid of being the first openly gay hockey player. Dakota doesn’t want to be Bryce’s dirty little secret. City Boy is the story of their journey to compromise and all that comes with it.
I loved every part of this story. The setting, the MCs and their chemistry, the background characters, and even the descriptions of hockey games. I chose this book because I’m not a hockey fan (NBA all the way! Go Lakers!), and I felt like moving a little out of my comfort zone. I am not sorry in the least.
Let me start with Bryce and Dakota. As individuals, they’re strong men, but both of them are restless with the weight of the world on their shoulders. However, once they’re together, that weight begins to slowly evaporate. When they met, they went straight to having sex…mind blowing, Kindle melting, volcano exploding sex, in every graphic detail. I hung on every sentence and was breathless when it was over. It was what happened after that sex that was amazing. It was wonderful to read about how they adjusted to each other’s lives and families, and it wasn’t always a bed of roses. I was completely immersed in the story and Bryce and Dakota felt like real men to me.
I believe the plot was entirely believable, from Bryce’s trepidation/reluctance to come out, to Dakota’s fear of being left in the cold if and when Bryce signs that new contract. I enjoyed the way their families played an important role in their lives. Bryce’s was traditional with his mom, brothers and sisters, and the various children, while Dakota’s was unconventional with his sister and a ragtag bunch of friends. The Thanksgiving scenes were a joy to read, and I laughed and smiled so wide it made my cheeks ache.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, it was a great opportunity to meet all the background characters that enriched City Boy. There were four I particularly liked…Bryce’s ex wife, Nikki, a young teammate named Robbie, and his mother. Also, Dakota’s sister, Lori. They all supported Bryce and Dakota every step of the way. Of course, there is hardly a romance book without a bad guy. This one has Kyle, Dakota’s former boyfriend and dishonest scoundrel. He played a part in an interesting subplot and was sufficiently evil.
Along with the trials, tribulations, and romance there was an important lesson. When Bryce finally realizes what he wants, he makes what he considers to be a grand gesture at a hockey game. What was meant to be something that showed the world how much he loved Dakota turned into what was the one real (and relatively short) conflict in the whole book. I don’t really want to give it away because I think it was important enough for the reader to see it for themselves. Let me just say, I would have never thought about it, and I’m glad A.E. Wasp brought it up.
I HIGHLY recommend City Boy. Everyone should be able to get to know Bryce and Dakota. Your root for them all the way, and your heart will be full by the time the book is over. Do yourself a favor and grab this one. You won’t be disappointed.