Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Oliver Bergman is the youngest Bergman brother and an out, gay, professional soccer player. He got burned by a college teammate he thought was “the one,” who instead broke him by cheating. The betrayal kickstarted Ollie into accepting the pro offer he’d been contemplating, leaving school and all that drama behind. His huge loving family is the example he strives to model, and he’s so ready for a solid partner after a couple of years of non-dating. On the surface, Ollie’s absolute sunshine out to make people’s days brighter on the regular, which irritates his surly teammate, Gavin Hayes, a seasoned veteran who’s in the twilight of his career. Deeper inside, Ollie struggles with anxiety and panic attacks since his ex-boyfriend’s betrayal.

Gavin has been playing pro soccer for nearly two decades, mostly for top clubs in Britain. He had no family to speak of and spent his youth making a name and fortune for himself. He’s playing for LA’s soccer club, as best as his pain-riddled body can, and kind of hating the “come down” that he’s experiencing. But, Gavin respects the head coach, and his life is nearly devoid of people and activities that aren’t soccer related. He’s sullen and broody and not best pleased when Ollie is named a co-captain with him. Gavin’s jealous of Ollie’s youth and vitality, the way he is open about his sexuality, and his easy friendliness. Gavin has spent the bulk of the two seasons they’ve played for the same team actively avoiding Ollie, despite them being next-door neighbors. This proximity enables Ollie to cheerfully chauffeur Gavin to practices with his electric vehicle, when yet another minor tweak makes Gavin unable to drive his giant gas-guzzler.

Ollie idolized Gavin from his youth, but the reality of playing with the aging superstar is less amazing than he’d anticipated. The more time they spend on and off the field, the less they seem to click. Their co-captaincy was designed to facilitate their cooperation, but Gavin’s frustration unmasks his veneer of civility. Their aggressive antics impact play, so the coach’s edict to fix themselves or lose their shared captaincy goes a long way to settling their hash.

Everything for You is the fifth book in the Bergman Brothers series and can be enjoyed without having read the previous stories, which I believe are mostly MF romances. Gavin and Ollie don’t have a sweet courtship. It’s rough and tumble, with fits and starts because Gavin’s not coping well with his chronic pain and loss of status. He’s grumpy and mean, and behaving badly enough that he’s called on it by his poker buddies, a cadre of octogenarians who live better than he does. It’s a little bit silly, the way these busybody grandpas attempt to yoke Ollie and Gavin together. I could see how it was necessary, though, because otherwise Gavin was too stubborn and foolish to command any good will.

It’s a nice book, rather calm and quiet, with a lot of hurt-comfort for both MCs here, but don’t expect a lot of sexytimes and cuddle-ups. The Bergmans are totally amazing and loving and sometimes invasive, but only in the way that lifts people up. It’s great seeing a functional family dynamic, and people who love full-on. I also loved how much the soccer and athletics was a part of the book. We really do get inside of these athlete’s heads, and see their competitive spirit and sacrifice.

That said, I had serious reservations about the plot convenience of their living arrangements, because a lot of the plot hinges on Gavin and Ollie living next door to each other. Gavin is a world-renowned soccer star, having earned top dollar in the EU/Britain in salary and sponsorships that put him astronomically more well-off than Ollie. The idea that Gavin could/would buy a house on the same block in a basic LA suburban neighborhood next-door to Oliver seemed outlandish to the point of unbelievable to me.

I liked the book. I wanted to like it more, but my struggle to connect to Gavin brought the enjoyment down a bit. He turned a corner, by the end, acknowledging his hubris and making grand gestures that were just redemptive enough. I’d only ever wanted to see Ollie happy from the first page, so it was a long time coming for that HEA.