Vinnie Kaminski has played his last game of hockey. At thirty-six, he’s no longer the player he used to be and it’s time to retire from the game. And all Vinnie wants to do is go home, back to the small town of Elmwood, Vermont, where he has some wrongs to right. He’s planned as far ahead as the summer, and after that his future is open. But Vinnie knows he needs to reconnect with his best friend, Ronnie, and more importantly, Ronnie’s brother, Nolan.
Nolan Moore hates Vinnie, and not for the reasons Vinnie thinks. He’s not mad about the one night they had as teenagers and the fact that Vinnie never looked back. It’s the selfish way he feels Vinnie acted, and how he’s treated Ronnie that has Nolan up in arms. But there’s no denying the spark that’s still between them. When Vinnie explains his actions, it’s easier for Nolan to understand and begin to forgive. And when Vinnie agrees to help coach the teen hockey club, they can’t escape each other. Communication has to happen.
But their chemistry won’t be denied and the two men quickly fall into bed together. Vinnie has to come to terms with his sexuality, and the feelings he’s always had for Nolan. Nolan understands it can only be for now, and agrees to keep things under wraps. But the more they spend time together, sexual or not, they more they learn about each other. With the end of the summer looming, Nolan knows Vinnie has options far away from this town, and expects Vinnie to take them. But Vinnie has finally found his home, and he’s not going to lose his second chance.
You, Again is the first book in the new Elmwood Stories series by Lane Hayes and, for me, it hit the mark. This is a character-driven story, one of learning and understanding, forgiveness and growth. When Vinnie and Nolan meet again, it’s not an exaggeration to say there’s animosity coming from Nolan. And they definitely don’t get off on the best foot. But slowly, these two men are able to communicate, and the truths they reveal are heartfelt and real.
I really liked both MCs here and thought the author did a great job of showcasing both their motives and thought process. The story is told in first person alternating POV, which really helped that along. Vinnie has a lot longer to go, first making amends, then explanations, and more so figuring out himself and what and who he wants. Watching him go through the process, and opening up first to Nolan and then to others, was really nice to see.
The chemistry between the MCs really works and it drives part of the story well. Because of how much they want each other, some harder conversations need to happen, and I really liked that these two had to learn to talk to one another. I liked the vulnerability they showed and I liked that nothing about their relationship was too pat or contrived.
Overall, this is a well-written, character-driven story. It’s fairly light on the angst, though there are some heavier moments that give the story weight. It’s about two men who finally are in the right place, time, and mindset to find their forever. The dark moment is really more gray, and the story is littered with well rounded secondary characters that really flesh out the story. All in all, I enjoyed it, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next one in the series.