Nathan Barres lives hockey. As captain of his team, he’s the one who leads the Wolves to victory. He’s got a close knit group of friends, and he’ll do anything for the sport he loves. Nathan’s not out publicly, but his close teammates know he’s gay. And that’s just fine with him. When a victory has him riding high, he hooks up with Felix, only to leave in the middle of the night.
Imagine Nathan’s surprise when the new physical therapist for his team turns out to be none other than his one night stand. Felix Moore is just as beautiful as he remembers, and the chemistry between them hasn’t dulled. When Nathan is injured and Felix helps him get back into shape, the sparks ignite and they find themselves in a friends with benefits situation. But feelings grow, at least for Nathan, and he fights to keep his distance, because that’s what Felix wants. Or at least, that’s what Nathan thinks Felix wants. These two guys need a little help from their friends before they can sort themselves out.
Okay, I’ll be honest. I came away from this one with mixed feelings, largely due to the whole plot revolving around the big miscommunication. This plot device so very rarely works for me, and this book was no exception. I spent at least half the book just mentally demanding the two MCs talk to each other, because every one of their problems could be solved with a quick discussion.
I liked the MCs and the secondary characters, a lot. Harding does a great job showcasing all the characters. Though this book is told from Nathan’s third person POV and we get to know him best, we also get a good idea who Felix is as well. I would have liked to see a bit more of Felix’s thoughts and feelings, but considering the narrative style, I was fine with the way things were portrayed. And the cast of secondary characters really rounds everything out. This is a good group of guys, with quirks and flaws, and it really did a lot to enhance my enjoyment of the book.
The chemistry between the MCs was great, and I could definitely feel their spark. These guys were certainly in lust, and together they were incendiary. But this was a double edged sword for me. I could feel their passion, and I certainly understood why they wanted to be with each other on a physical level. But because things weren’t developed completely outside of that, I couldn’t quite get on board with their deeper feelings, as they weren’t shown clearly enough.
And of course, the thing that keeps them apart is the fact that they don’t talk about their relationship. It makes sense in the beginning; Nathan leaves after their one night stand, so Felix does the same after they hook back up, thinking that’s what Nathan wants. But then, instead of talking, they continue to sleep together, have lunch together, and do all manner of date-like things without ever actually talking to each other. Jealousy flairs, and then they really don’t talk to each other. For me, that’s a pretty crappy basis for a relationship. And then, thanks to well meaning friends, they’re forced to have the conversation that resolves everything in a few shouted words, a couple of heartfelt statements, and then sex. It wasn’t enough for me to buy their love and I was really hoping for more.
So there’s some good stuff here, especially with the characterization, but the plot as a whole left me unsatisfied in a few regards. It is definitely a decent read, and if friends with benefits and miscommunication are your jam, then this one is for you. Oh, and hockey players. Because that’s definitely here too. If this sounds like your kind of book, then I can definitely tell you to check it out.