I have a love/hate relationship with Riley Hart, I have enjoyed so far all her books with another author such as The Metropolis series and Beautiful Chaos with Devon McCormack, felt in love with Of Sunlight and Stardust with co-author Christina Lee but when I tried reading a series or book by her alone, I felt into the love/hate hole. I loved her Wild Love series – I’m also looking forward to read book #3 – and I enjoyed Saint and Lucky but absolutely hated her Blackcreek series – so much I had to DNF book 1.
This is a male/male romance book.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
ASHTONIf you don’t like this genre, you’ve been advised.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to play the game…both on and off the field. If it hadn’t been for that one teenage slipup where I kissed Beau Campbell, I’d be able to keep fooling myself. Football is the one thing I use to distract myself from the truth, and when I screw-up and lose the game I love, I find myself right back in Fever Falls. And right back face-to-face with Cranky Campbell, who hates me even more than he did when we were kids. Whatever magic he held over me then is still there. As much as I fight it, I still want him. And I always get what I want…well, except with Beau, who constantly calls me on my crap. Why do I like that so much?
I might’ve spent years watching Ash live out my dream—without the off-field antics and orgies with women, at least—but I’ve made a good life for myself. I’m a firefighter, and I coach my brother’s football team for those with developmental disabilities. But when Ash swings back into town armed with his monster ego and an arsenal of stupid nicknames, everyone is in awe of him. Nope, not me. I don’t care if our kiss years ago was responsible for my sexual awakening. I won’t fall for Ashton Carmichael. Though that resolution would be a whole lot easier if he wasn’t so tempting. Once he finds his way into my bed, I’m screwed—in more ways than one. But there’s more to Ash than meets the eye, buried beneath his ego, sarcasm and how we burn up the sheets together. Soon, it’s more than a game. We don’t just get each other fired up, we just might win each other’s hearts.
Too bad things are never that simple…
So, when I saw this beautiful cover and her name I took the chance.
What I loved:
- The beginning of every chapter had a small quote from Kenny (a lovely character) or a newspaper article depending on the POV of the character. This made me look forward to the beginning of every chapter, plus, these three or sometimes six lines would tell me a lot about the characters.
- Kenny was such a wonderful character:
“I asked Beau once if he was ever going to have a family… or a serious boyfriend, at least. He said Mom and I were all the family he needed. Maybe it was something I didn’t get… there are things I don’t get but to me, that sounded sad. I thought Beau deserved better.” ~ Love, Kennychapter 6
- The family aspect of the book was beautiful. We have two different family perspective. One is Beau’s family with his brother Kenny who has Down Syndrome and with his Mom, Beth, who has a bakery. They have a tight bond that is shown throughout the story. Beau sacrificed much for his brother but he doesn’t feel like it’s a chore or something he had to do for the obligation but rather for the love he has for Kenny. Ash, on the other hand, has been adopted, not wanted by his birth mother but loved by his adoptive family. When we are initially introduced to the story after Ash goes back to his hometown we learned Ash’s parents are dead but throughout the book, we have small mentions of how much he loved them.
- Beau’s friends are incredibly funny and supportive. Starting with Lincoln who I hope gets his own book because there is something going more deeply between him and Rush and I want to know. He is funny – they are all. And they support Beau at all times.
- Ash’s only friend Wyatt was also supportive even when Ash came out, didn’t judge neither asked, he was just there for Ash.
- I loved the lack of prejudice from their families and friends that sometimes comes up in a book when the characters reveal they are gay/lesbian etc.
- I enjoyed Ash and Beau’s relationship. We see from a young age how Beau is attractive to Ash but doesn’t realize he’s gay until Ash kisses him. It isn’t until the very end that we understand how Ash also loved him since they were both young.
His eyes snapped up, his lips pulling into a smile. Dizziness swept over me, twisted me up. My feet itched to run away, and I suddenly couldn’t stand there a second longer. “Catch you later, Cranky Campbell,” I said, then turned and took off as fast as I could go.chapter 9
- I liked some of the good angst:
“Get out, Campbell. You’re barking up the wrong tree. I didn’t want you then, and I don’t want you now.”chapter sixteen
- I love the relationship between Kenny and his brother Beau. Throughout the book, you can see how close they are and how Beau loves him and takes his time to truly be with him.
- Did I mention Beau as a firefighter? He and his friends being firefighter was definitively a plus.
- The romance was lovely, the sex was hot and the moments they had together before things went wrong (and then right) were beautiful. I liked their nicknames, the bickering, the respect, and their cuteness.
“Beau watches Ashton, but I don’t think he knows it. Ashton watches Beau even more. It’s weird.” ~ Love Kennychapter twelve
What I was missing:
- I felt Ash was overreacting a bit when it comes to some scenes. The fact he stayed quiet and didn’t tell Beau about Texas and how there was a possibility of going back to professional football was something that could’ve avoided other situations.
- The scene with the photographers and Ashton running away from Beau made me so mad. I wanted to smack him on the head and tell him to go back to Beau.
I think, overall, the author managed to create a cute, angsty, cliche but enjoyable story. You will see the normal tropes but those are the ones I love (enemies to friends to lovers). I love cliches and this one was a lovely read. If you enjoy childhood friends/rivals falling in love and football professionals going back to their town and finding love then this is for you!