NFL player Deion McCaskill is recovering from injury, so he is spending a couple of weeks visiting his friends, Josh and Benji, in Miami. Deion is refusing to accept that this might be the end of his football career, but he knows that Josh understands how he feels from his own experience playing football, and being with his friends will help take Deion’s mind off the injury.
Carlos Kelly has always known he is bisexual, but he has made the decision to ignore that part of himself and only date women. With his religious family, it seems easier to just not rock the boat since he is attracted to women as well. But that doesn’t stop the heat he feels when he meets Josh and Benji’s friend Deion. Carlos definitely has an attraction to the gorgeous football player, and even more, he senses an attraction in return. As it turns out, Deion is bi as well, but like Carlos, he has never acted on those feelings for men.
As the guys spend more time together during Deion’s visit, they finally acknowledge their bisexuality, but only to each other. They decide that while Deion is in town, it would be the perfect time for them each to experience sex with a guy, no strings involved. Neither man plans on ever coming out, so this way they can act on their attraction safely. Deion and Carlos explore all the ways that men can be together and finally experience things they have only been imagining. And along the way, they begin having feelings they never expected for one another. But both men are still closeted and neither planned on having that change. Not to mention Deion is only in town for less than two weeks, and after that his future in the NFL awaits. Now that the guys have fallen for each other, they have to figure out if there is any way to have a future together.
HeartOn is the second book in Amy Jo Cousins’ Full Hearts series. The first book was originally published as the short story “The Christmas Ship” as part of the Wish Come True anthology. Cousins has now revised and expanded the story into the novella HeartShip. While I read the short story, I didn’t read the novella, but I don’t think that affected my enjoyment here. The books are linked in that Benji and Josh are close friends with both men and actually feature quite prominently in this story. But anything you need to know about their past is conveyed here, so you could easily jump in starting with HeartOn.
I enjoyed this story of two men who never had any intention of coming out of the closet, who end up unexpectedly finding love where they thought only to find sex. Both men know they are bisexual, but each have reasons for not wanting to come out. Here we see Carlos and Deion admitting for the first time, to one another, that they are actually bisexual. They have a sense of safety with one another that they don’t feel elsewhere, even though their friends are open and accepting (and Carlos’ friends are mostly LGBT themselves). It starts out with the men just experimenting together, using that safe space to experience all the things they have wanted to try. But Cousins does a nice job of showing the men falling for one another and building a connection even in the short time they are together. I really liked both characters and enjoyed seeing their journey to happiness.
Though I could believe in the connection they were building, I do think the short time frame hindered things for me here somewhat. Deion is in town less that two weeks and not all of that time is even spent together with Carlos. So while I could believe in the development of feelings, I had a harder time with the life changing decisions after so short a time together. I also didn’t love the ultimatums (which the character says are not actually ultimatums, but felt a lot like them to me), again given how short a time these guys had been together. I would have felt more invested if I had seen the men really building their relationship more in depth before getting their happily ever after.
That said, I definitely enjoyed this one and think this is a great series. I am especially looking forward to the next book as the moments we got with the MC here are really intriguing. So if you are looking for a sweet and sexy contemporary, this book (and this series) are definitely worth checking out.