by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Full Hearts #2
Also in this series: HeartShip
Publisher: Amy Jo Cousins
Publication Date: January 25, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
When an injury sidelines NFL player Deion McCaskill—maybe permanently—he heads to Miami to stay with an old college teammate and his boyfriend. He packs his tailor-made suits, anxiety about the future, and the bisexuality he’s ignored for years because it didn’t fit with his drive to succeed at football’s most elite levels.
Set designer Carlos Kelly has always known he’s bi, but dating women is easier than making waves with his Puerto Rican/Irish Catholic family. His friends and coworkers from the theater community might be almost entirely on the rainbow spectrum, but Carlos keeps things simple. Except for this heat that keeps flaring between him and the hot football player visiting his best friend.
Two weeks. Two guys who’ve never explored their bisexuality before and don’t plan on coming out, ever. One promise to let each other try out every fantasy they’ve ever had. Zero feelings involved.
At least, that was the plan. . .
Remember how I said HeartShip, the first in the Full Hearts series, was sweet and lovely? Yeah, this is somehow even better. Can your read this book without reading the first? Yes, but, seriously, it’s not that long of a book, and it’s less than a dollar right now, just go read it!
“I’m about to go meet a man I think about way more than is healthy. And he doesn’t even know who the fuck I am. Also, he’s straight. Also, I sleep with girls. Life is too short to deal with unnecessary drama.”
Carlos knows the sting of disappointment – despite attending acting school, he wasn’t able to support himself as an actor, and though he loves singing, he’s not good enough to make it at that, either. What he is good at is building things, and he’s been slowly establishing himself as a set designer. Deion is a pro football player who’s on leave for being injured and he’s antsy to get back to the game. His friend Josh (from the previous novel) invites him to stay with him and his partner Benji in Miami for a few weeks as a vacation. Carlos has had a thing for Deion since he met him through Josh and Benji, and gets adorably anxious about meeting him again. Though they’ve only met in person that once, they’ve “seen” each other around on Twitter, and Carlos follows Deion’s career. When they meet again, it’s impossible to deny the attraction between them. And when they both admit to being bi (in quite possibly the most adorably awkward coming out conversation ever), they decide to spend the rest of Deion’s vacation exploring the thing between them, no strings attached. They both figure they’ll get it out of their system and then go back to their usual “straight” lives afterwards. Well, we know how that ends up, right?
“Deion couldn’t help it. He laughed and moaned at the same time. So fucked. He was so, so fucked. ‘I am totally fucking bi.’
Carlos grunted beneath him. ‘No shit, Sherlock. You’re ninety-five yards up my ass. We left the Land of Straight Dudes behind at the kickoff.’”
The development of their relationship is simultaneously sweet and ridiculously hot. Carlos has known he’s bi, but it’s just been easier for him to bring home girls to his Puerto Rican Catholic / Irish Catholic family. Deion’s been in denial for, well, pretty much ever, so he’s understandably anxious. Even the consent is super sexy – Deion indulges in a bit of liquid courage, and Carlos sets down limits since he know’s Deion’s lit, which actually takes some of the pressure off Deion and allows him to relax enough to explore. Deion’s never been in a real relationship before – his record was dating a girl for three weeks in college. So not only is he learning to manage the whole dating-a-man thing, he’s also struggling with dating someone he actually cares about. They both have things to lose if they come out as bi – some of Carlos’ conservative family may not welcome him, and that revelation could scupper Deion’s hopes of returning to pro football. When they decided to take the next step – coming out as a couple to Benji and Josh and their friends, and then going to one of Carlos’ family’s parties – Deion finds himself getting upset when Benji refers to it as a “vacation lay.”
“Thinking about it was for sure making him crazy, though. Were they, weren’t they . . . ? Whatever the fuck they were thinking, he didn’t want to know. The whole thing with Deion felt like some kind of soap-bubble magic, a slowly expanding sphere of wanting and happiness and orgasms with each day bringing new experiences . . . and a higher risk of the inevitable pop of reality breaking through the magic.”
It was lovely to see more of Josh and Benji’s relationship, and how it affects Deion and Carlos. Josh knows that Deion’s injury might be career ending, and Deion will not admit it (he’s the king of denial, huh?). He still shows him around the massage therapy / physical therapy office that Josh and Benji have started. Deion’s degree is in business management (have I mentioned how nice it is to see smart football guys?), and the challenge of taking that on is enticing – as is the thought of spending more time with Carlos. It’s the strength of those feelings that scare him. Carlos has his own issues, though. He tends to get absorbed by his work, and he has no patience with Deion blowing hot and cold – in Carlos’ mind, Deion’s either up for a real relationship with him, or he isn’t, there’s no middle-ground.
Overall, it was wonderful watching their relationship develop, from just spending time together watching zombie movies to a romantic day out on the ocean. This has more angst than the first one, but is still pleasantly sweet and utterly hilarious. Highly recommended!