This is the third book in the Riptide series, but it also connects this series to the Food Truck Warriors series in an amazing way. I really love the way Beth Bolden keeps giving us glimpses of the characters from her previous books and how she’s created her own universe by weaving her stories and characters together without making the story plot less understandable if you’d jump straight into this one as your first read. I’m especially happy that my favorite Food Truck Warrior couple Chase and Tate played quite an important role in this book. They have a special place in my heart since Hit the Brakes was my first Beth Bolden book and completely blew me away!
This time, we get to follow Spencer Evans, who was the first player out of the closet to be drafted into the NFL nine years ago, and Alec Mitchell, who was the first gay sports agent. The two men couldn’t be more different though. Where Alex has given his life and his career to making queer athletes’ dreams come true, all Spencer wanted to do was to play football and be accepted as any other player. Unfortunately, the team he was playing for was the worst and most homophobic one in the series and soon Spencer began to conceal all the parts that made him different, pushing himself back into the closet again, and also sadly being quite the jerk himself to the queer community. Regardless of their differences though, there’d always been such a sizzling hot attraction between Spencer and Alec, which they both spent nine years denying. Until Spencer got severely injured and decided to reevaluate his whole life and the choices he’d made.
I immediately rooted for both Spencer and Alec and the wonderful chemistry between them. Alec was just such a sweetheart. And I really loved the character growth Spencer went through and how he was brave enough to admit his faults and to push himself out of his comfort zone to learn to be himself. If you’ve spent nine years suppressing who you are, it’s quite a journey to finally find out who you truly are beneath it all. I appreciated how this story showed a different side of ‘acceptance’ and that it didn’t shy away from Spencer’s flaws and issues with internal homophobia.
Compared to the other books I’ve read by Beth Bolden, this one was perhaps a bit slower and not quite as addictive story plot wise. It even felt a bit uneventful and repetitive at times. I also have to say that I’m not a big fan of the cover. The Food Truck Warriors series had such gorgeous covers that matched the warmhearted vibe, but this cover gives the expression of a much more explicit story. (To be honest, if I hadn’t received an ARC, the cover would probably have stopped me from picking this book up.)
But all in all, this was an adorable and heartwarming story about second chances, the power of love and acceptance, and about being brave enough to risk your whole career for a chance of true love and happiness.
Thank you to Gay Book Promotions for the ARC and blog tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
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A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.
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