Series: Him #2
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult / MM Romance
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?
Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.
Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.
Or can they?
When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?
Us is a sequel to one of my favorite romances, Him.
The story starts a couple of months after Him ends. Wes and Jamie live together now; Wes dream has come true: he is having a terrific rookie season at NHL, and he is also having the man’s heart he loved in his whole life. But his happiness is not spotless. Wes doesn’t believe he can have both the most important things in his life at the same time. In fear of coming out would damage his career, Wes and Jamie decide to keep their relationship hidden till the end of the season, keeping the media focused on Wes’s game not on his sex life.
It’s my biggest fear. That the success I’ve been having in my first season with Toronto will be overshadowed — or worse, forgotten — because being a gay professional athlete is the far juicier story.
Wes thinks it is the worst that could happen to him, until something even worse happens, and Wes realizes what is truly important.
Jamie loves Wes, but suffers from hiding. Not being out is a very stressful situation for both of them, but it makes especially Jamie lonely and isolated. Plus Wes is travelling a lot, and being apart worsens things even more. Top of it all, Wes’s teammate, Blake, moves into the same apartment building, robbing them of the privacy and safe haven they had. Blake – besides being irritating – is the catalyst leading to necessary changes in Wes and Jamie’s life.
Blake’s intrusion drives Jamie even deeper into his obvious depression. It is heartbreaking to see him sinking deeper and deeper into it. Depression affects not only mind but body and immune system too, so a physical disease as a result is very realistic.
I feel like all I’ve done these past couple months is lose. Lose patience, lose the ability to talk to my boyfriend, lose that indescribable ease that always existed between me and Wes.
Problems are piling up, wrong decisions are made. I usually hate non-communication, and hated it here too, of course. But it feels real. Wes and Jamie shut each other out, and suffer alone. In fear of making things worse, they avoid confrontation. They think coming out is the only solution and as they decided against it, talking about their problems seems to no avail. And soon their relationship is so critical that coming out isn’t enough to solve the situation any more.
“I don’t know how to explain what’s wrong. I’ve been really unhappy, but I don’t want him to think it’s his fault.”
Jamie running away is so real too. Of course, it’s a stupid thing to do, but I know a lot of people who do/did that. Jamie wants to leave behind all the pain, problems, hypocrisy, and lies. I think it’s a self-preservation necessity. But leaving hurts him just as much as it hurts Wes. Feelings are not black or white, neither decisions. Jamie’s feelings are conflicted, controversial and ambiguous.
Wes has surely left for his morning skate, and I’m relieved at the timing. Then I’m guilty for feeling relieved. And angry for feeling guilty. And annoyed for feeling angry.
It is a really well written story. Complex and real: all the struggles, the depiction of Jamie’s depression, the helplessness of Wes. Wes is struggling, not knowing what to do. He is blaming himself and feels selfish for putting Jamie in this situation. His many fears and insecurities don’t help either.
My heart is pounding in my ears. Do I yell at him now? Is that the right thing to do? I don’t know what Jamie needs. If I knew, I’d give it to him.
Us is very different from Him: Him is about the start of a relationship: it is thrilling and intense. Us is more serious: it’s about this wonderful relationship getting at stake. Him is fun and romantic, Us is heartbreaking and frustrating.
And I loved it.
Of course, there is a great amount of sweetness and steam in Us too. 😉
My torture isn’t quite done, though. I crane my neck forward, smash my face against his groin and nip his pubes. I swear he’s practically grinding his dick against my neck now, so turned on he’d fuck any surface of my body. A desperate Wes is a fun Wes. I love forcing him to let go of some of that iron-clad control. One sportswriter called him: “Impenetrable. Unshakeable. With nerves of steel.”
I know better.
See my cast and favorite quotes on my Tumblr page!