“Bri” Early is a basketball player for the Philadelphia Rockets. He was injured by a dirty player in a charity scrimmage game and his knee rehab isn’t going as quickly as Bri would like. In fact, his most recent physical therapist has quit due to Bri’s insufferable behavior. So, he’s been recommended to Obie, a private practice therapist who takes a holistic approach to rehab.
Obie and Bri share a mutual struggle with their given names—and their sexuality. While Obie is out and proud after surviving a hate crime that killed a friend when he was younger, Bri’s been hiding his true self until he retires. Retirement may come sooner than Bri wants, if he can’t get back into top shape before the season opens in two months. Obie’s treatment is really helping Bri’s physical state, but it’s messing up his carefully boxed-in emotions. Also, there’s a stalker whose escalating threats indicate he’s willing to out Bri, and hurt him in the process.
Rebound turned out to be way more than the “pro-athlete comes out” story I expected. The stalker becomes more and more dangerous. Obi and Bri start a down-low romance that finally acts as the balm Bri’s needed, likely since college. Traumatic memories of homophobic acts against a friend that he regrets not standing up for have haunted him, to a degree. As Bri backtracks through his life trying to pinpoint his stalker, his self-disgust is stoked. Obie’s sweetness is a big help—and it’s not long before Bri’s ready to come out. If he’s going to be attacked for his silence, he may as well own his truth and see what happens.
I liked both Bri and Obie and their humorous names gave me chuckles. They have some amazing parents and I loved how each man’s family, particularly their fathers, embraced their new love interest. It was really sweet to see such healthy family units. Obie’s best pals are a hoot, as they catwalk their way through nightclubs and basketball games. The mystery regarding the stalker was well done, with some red herrings placed to distract from the true identity. His cunning and ruthlessness added an element of danger that kept the pace hopping in the second half of the book. It also allowed Bri to face the truth behind his recent injury—which provided some distraction to the stalker sub-plot, and I really enjoyed how it kept me guessing and wondering who was the next bad guy in Bri’s life. I also loved how Obie, who isn’t a very big man, ended up being the exact right guy to rescue Bri—both metaphorically and literally. Expect big danger, dramatic rescues, and happily ever afters, love and basketball-style.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.