Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel

 

Alex Larsen is longtime best friends with fellow swimmer, Bailey Duval. Alex developed a crush on Bailey’s elder brother, Remy, way back in high school. They had one tryst two years ago, the summer before Alex’s junior year in high school–just before Remy confessed knowledge of his father’s infidelity to his mother, which was the last straw for his parents’ struggling marriage. Remy promptly left for college and Bailey was furious; he blames Remy for “destroying” their family, while still lauding his father, desperate for his attention and adulation. Remy’s guilt over informing his mom provoked further self-hatred, beyond the inferiority he’d already felt for being less athletic and a poorer student than his accomplished and favored-by-their-father, younger brother.

Now Alex and Bailey are freshman roommates at Franklin U, where they are on the swim team together. Remy is a junior at FU (pun intended, I’m sure) majoring in art and working at a tattoo parlor, where he’s gotten his sleeves done. Bailey wants nothing to do with Remy on campus, but Alex is still hung up on the guy–who is a good man, and deeply hurt by his brother’s misplaced anger. Remy is bisexual, though he mostly dates women. Seeing Alex all grown and sexy in his tiny bathing suit is murder on Remy’s control. The more they interact, which is kind of often as Remy attends a bunch of swim meets, the more their attraction grows. Remy doesn’t trust that love can last; his parents’ marriage is a prime example, so he thinks relationships are bogus.

Alex is initially ecstatic to renew their acquaintance, especially when it comes with all the sexual tension and gratification he can take. Of course, keeping their hook-ups secret from Bailey proves difficult, through strong feelings can’t help but grow between Alex and Remy. Remy admires Alex as a person, and is thrilled by how much Alex loves his art–and his tattoos. Those are an issue for Bailey and their dad to denigrate, so Alex’s open support gives Remy a needed self-esteem boost. Remy’s gratitude and admiration for Alex’s generosity of spirit helps Remy grow out of his inferiority complex, healing his own sadness in a way that is apparent to Remy’s few confidantes. Unfortunately, falling for Alex makes Remy confront his insecurities surrounding relationships, because Alex is worthy of a partner who truly loves him, and Remy is self-aware enough to know he wants Alex for himself.

Making Waves is a new adult romance set in the Franklin U multi-author collection and can be enjoyed as a standalone. It is a sweet romance with rather decent communication between the MCs, especially considering how hard they try to keep their developing relationship on the down-low. Alex allows Bailey to believe he’s interested in a fellow teammate, while the LGBTQ+ Club on campus serves as a smoke screen for both of them. Alex is an amazing friend to both Remy and Bailey, super supportive, but unwilling to take their crap without pointing out their hypocrisy. I loved Alex, who has his own family dynamics to wade through. He always felt like he needed to be self-sufficient so his parents (who adore him) could focus on his chronically ill younger sister. He’s ready to be someone’s first priority, and it was good to see Remy step up to that challenge, overcoming his own fears and trust issues. I loved how Remy, Alex, and others, called out Bailey’s juvenile attitude, and how his character was able to mature into a more nuanced understanding of his family’s dysfunction as a result.

The plot was mostly straightforward, with few surprises, but the pacing was adequate and it delivered a romance that hit all the right notes. There is a decent balance between the sports, arts, friendships, and college party life to keep the story interesting, without a lot of side-steps. There are some accounts of collegiate swimming here; I didn’t think it overwhelmed the story, but I’m a former competitive swimmer so I respected the intrusion of practices and hunger pangs into Alex and Bailey’s every day. The reality of the time and physical commitment collegiate athletes expend cannot be overstated, so conversations and concern regarding their extreme schedules seemed valid and authentic.

While being a part of the bigger FU series, the book isn’t filled with side characters that take up a lot of page space. Remy has an acquaintance, Levi, who stars in Football Royalty. I expect Jordan, Alex’s fellow gay on the swim team, will get a book soon. Their parts act in service to Remy and Alex’s love story, with minimal character building, as they should. If you enjoy new adult romances with some sports and lots of college life, this book will satisfy.

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