Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy


Grade: A-

Doing it at: 55%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Friends to Lovers, Childhood Crush, Summer Camp Romance, All the Feels, Tattoos, All of the P, None of the V, Dual Narrative, #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: Low shame. This was a sweet book.

Fantasy Cast: Kris Letang, David Rundblad

What do we taste like?: the rain, beer, something addictively masculine

Book Description:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died. 

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever. 

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions— 
can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself. 

I recently read The Deal, by Elle Kennedy – which was also about a hockey player – and liked it a bunch. So when I saw that she was collaborating with Sarina Bowen on a M/M hockey romance, that was pretty much all I needed to hear to pre-order it. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll keep on saying it: M/M romance is super hot you guys. All of the P, none of the V. It’s all rock hard abs and tight buns, with nary a boob in sight.

This one starts out with Ryan Wesley (Wes) and Jamie Canning, two college hockey players on opposite sides of the country, realizing that they’re both about to play in a big important championship series (sorrynotsorry, I don’t know if it was a real series or not because I could give a fuck about sports), and might see each other after four years of silence. Jamie and Wes were best friends growing up, spending summers together at hockey camp in Lake Placid, but Wes cut off all contact with Jamie when they went to college. Jamie has always been pretty butt sore about it (hehehe), and they’re both wondering if their teams are going to play each other in the series, and what it’s going to be like to see each other.

Wes has been carrying a lot of guilt, because he was the one to end the friendship, and he wants to finally apologize to Jamie. Back in high school when they were spending summers together, Wes was struggling with his sexual identity. He was in love with Jamie, but too scared to confess his feelings, and to tell his best friend that he was pretty sure he was gay. So instead, he challenged Jamie to a shoot out, where the loser gives the winner a blow job, and then when Wes lost, he blew him. It was their last night at camp, and YOLO.

Afterwards, Wes never spoke to Jamie again. He went off to college, discovered who he was, became confident in his sexuality. Jamie never understood why his best friend stopped talking to him. Sure, things got a little “crazy” that last night, and maybe it was the best beej he’d ever had, but he’s confidently straight, and it was just buddies goofing around.

Wes has been feeling crazy guilty about it all, like he took advantage of his friend. He wants to apologize to Jamie for being a dick, and then see if maybe there’s a way to salvage their friendship, because it was the best friendship he’s ever had.

Ok guys, you know the drill. I’m going to talk about the plot a little bit. No secrets or the ending, but if you want to skip spoilers, scroll down really fast from the dark haired hockey hottie to the blonde hockey hottie.

Hockey 1

When they see each other, it’s a little awkward, and Wes never finds the right moment to apologize. They catch up, have a beer – both men are off to the NBA or wherever hockey players go when they’re professional (I could look this up, I know), and Jamie tells Wes that he spends his summers coaching hockey at the camp where they both went to. They awkwardly part ways when Wes goes to Jamie’s hotel room to try and apologize one last time, but interrupts Jamie and his FWB, mid-hookup. Coitus interruptus. Wes makes a spur of the moment decision to try to rekindle their friendship one more time, and takes a coaching job at camp so he can spend one last summer with Jamie.

So a few months later, Jamie is happily coaching up in Lake Placid, when Wes shows up. Jamie asks if he’s there to be his roommate, and Wes is like (and I’m paraphrasing here), well, only if you’re cool with me being gay. Also, sorry for taking advantage of you and giving you awesome head four years ago. Jamie is pretty pissed, and is all, da fuck dude? Are you telling me I lost my best friend because he’s gay? Because he’s from California, and Wes should have known that they all love the gays there.

Also – I have to say that I was thrilled when I realized much of this book would take place in Lake Placid – I grew up near there, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

Jamie and Wes fall back into an easy friendship, and things are going really well, till one night at a bar, when Jamie gets jealous of a guy who’s hitting on Wes. And then they go outside and argue in the rain, which turns out to crazy hot making out in the rain. Wes puts the brakes on it though, because he’s sure that Jamie will regret it afterwards, and since he’s still hopelessly in love with Jamie, he doesn’t want him to feel that kind of confusion and self loathing.

To his credit, Jamie is pretty honest with himself, and while it rocks his world to realize he’s turned on like never before by a guy, he accepts it pretty easily, and decides to experiment with it, see how far things go.

I’m attracted to women, no doubt about it. I’m also attracted to men, apparently. Wonderful. Complicated fellow, my dick.

Hockey 2

Things pick up after that, and it was delightful. Lots of doing it, tons of feelings. The characters in this one were all very well written – honest, believable, human. The conflicts felt real, and I was relieved to see that this wasn’t a book where the main couple couldn’t get together because one of them was afraid to come out to their family. Both men were refreshingly confident in their sexuality, with all of the major drama stemming from external sources. And again, it was really hot. Both of these guys were Grade A Beefcakes.

It was a really enjoyable read. If you’ve never read anything M/M before, this would be a great one to start with.

Check it out on Amazon:

One thought on “Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

  1. Pingback: Overtime, by Toni Aleo | mybookshame

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