Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

29283273Can 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?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — The first book in this series, Him, ended on a really positive note and there was no obvious need for a followup book.  But I’m the kind of reader who LOVES revisiting favourite characters — as long as it’s done right.  And these two authors fulfilled that for me.  This was not just a fluff piece capitalizing on the success of the first book.  I felt like they really explored the changes happening in their relationship and the challenges that they faced as a closeted couple.

I actually almost found this to be more emotionally impactful than the first book in some ways.  We have a couple in love, ready for their happily ever after, but because of the fears of the media storm and the possible reactions of Wes’s team (and the world in general) they have to hide.  I really felt for both of these characters.  I felt like we explored their depths even more in this book.  And yes, some of their flaws were frustrating — their relationship was plagued by that common mistake that most couples make: lack of communication.  Normally that would bother the shit out of me, but I was honestly just so wrapped up in their story that I apparently gave them a pass…

And OMG did I cry for both characters, my heart breaking for them on more than one occasion.  (though thankfully I didn’t bawl)  Both authors really know how to bring the feels — from Wes’s reaction in the hospital, to Jamie’s realization about Wes during the interview, I was captured.  It’s not that they didn’t also frustrate me, but I was just so invested in their love that I wanted them to pull through.

I totally thought I would hate Blake.  I was prepared for it.  But he really was impossible not to love (at least for me).  I found him hilarious, endearing, and I LOVED the friendship that he gave to both of my boys.

In the back of my mind I can’t help but be a little disbelieving at the ease with which their relationship was accepted by their respective teams…I guess I’m a bit of a cynic.  But again, I decided to just give this a pass b/c I so thoroughly enjoyed the story as a whole.  This is definitely going to be one of those series I can see myself rereading.  Both boys are firmly on my list of favourite characters, and I’m so happy that I finally got off my butt and joined this bandwagon.  See?  I can love mainstream books when they’re written this well!!


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