Derek is a senior in college and the captain of his water polo team. He’s focused and serious and likes to be in control. Except, when Derek plays against the rival team, Gabe pushes all of his buttons. Derek has been attracted to men before, although he’s never acted on it. He’s not attracted to Gabe, of course not, he loathes him. When Gabe gets transferred to Derek’s team, it’s all Derek can do to keep his temper, and libido, in check.
Gabe has his eye on the Olympics. His transfer is a strategic move and he’s all about the game. Gabe has had relationships with both men and women before, and he’s been crushing on Derek for some time now. The chemistry flairs quickly, but Gabe isn’t interested in coming out and Derek feels out of his depth in a relationship with a man for the first time. As their relationship grows, the guys want to spend all of their time together. But, sneaking around becomes old quickly and Derek and Gabe have to figure how to navigate these uncharted waters in public.
Lane Hayes has a new series that starts here with Derek and Gabe’s story. Hayes has been an uneven author for me at times, but Out in the Deep is a solid, light, angst-free story about two guys falling in love. Derek and Gabe are both water polo players on rival teams and when tempers flare, their game turns physical. But, they are not rivals for much longer as Gabe transfers to Derek’s team. The coach orders them to work it out, but there is a lot more to work out than just their time in the water.
The book is told from Derek’s first person point of view and the pace of the book flows well. Derek has been attracted to men before, but has never acted on it and he’s having a difficult time keeping his hands off of Gabe. The guys don’t know each other past their rivalry in the pool, but their animosity towards each other softens quickly, maybe a little too quickly for my tastes for what we are shown. But the guys spend time together and have to work out being in a relationship with a guy on the same team when they don’t think that coming out is an option.
The guys are sweet and sexy together and once they are on board with wanting to be together, their connection develops naturally and the book is relationship focused. There is some mild tension along the way, but these guys ultimately know they want to be together. There are several other characters introduced along the way, and the set up looks promising for more characters set in this world. For a novel, this one is on the shorter side, but it’s a good choice for an engaging read to wind down your summer.