Two stubborn men.
One is a rude jerk. The other, the life of the party.
It was hate at first sight.
Pro beach volleyball players Finn Callahan and Dexter Savage have been rivals since college. While Finn always comes out on top on the court, Dexter’s carefree and fun-loving personality earns him scores of adoring men and women. And as much as Finn fights to deny it, there’s another reason for the tension he feels when Dex is around. Hate wasn’t the only thing he felt when he first laid eyes on his opponent.
When they’re forced to team up, the two men must bury their differences—on and off the court—if either of them is going to succeed professionally.
Two firsts rolled into one. Leigh Carman is a new author for me and this is also my first beach volleyball story. I haven’t read many sports-themed stories, but this one was gripping. The sports scenes didn’t dominate the story and were written in an exciting way, often highlighting the tension between the two MCs.
Leigh’s engaging writing style kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end. It made a refreshing change to read a present tense narrative, and yes, some scenes jump ahead in time, but I liked that. I also thought the alternate POVs gave us insight into the thoughts, backgrounds, and motivations of Finn and Dex, which help make us aware of their situations and feelings. I liked both of these great characters and their enemies-to-lovers romance. Their hatred stemmed from being rivals at college and on the pro-circuit, and we gradually get to find out the reasons why as the story unfolds.
I felt like I was actually watching a volleyball game at times with all the going back and forth of emotions and changes of heart between these two. And yet, their love-hate relationship oozed sexual chemistry from the start and this all added to the UST. And when you think they’re finally getting somewhere at last. Gah! How you want them to bash their heads together and tell them to just get together and sort things out once and for all. They both come across as hot headed drama queens who have a tendency to storm off when they get angry or jealous rather than talking through their problems. There are plenty of intense scenes between them and when they finally get down to making out, it’s super hot! Once they are together, they are perfect for each other. I loved their dialogue throughout, even when they were at each other’s throats. It came across as real and vivid.
I must say that whenever Finn’s ex was mentioned I was in tears. Tris was a lovely guy and they were great together. My heart went out to Finn, especially as he had to keep his feelings to himself and couldn’t share his grief with anyone, not even his family. I liked that Finn’s attraction to Dex developed slowly as he came to terms with his loss of Tris. The transition didn’t feel morbid or unfaithful to the memory of his ex and the scene at the graveside had me weeping. So moving.
For me, I didn’t find Dex’s reasons for not realizing he was gay, and then for not coming out to be entirely plausible, and the continued animosity between the guys seemed a little far-fetched at times. Yet despite these few issues, I adored this story, the writing, and the passion-filled characters. If a book grips me like this one did, I overlook minor points and still award it 5*.
Overall, a wonderful enemies-to-lovers story involving two men who wished to remain in the closet at the start, but eventually bring out the best in each other. Highly recommended.
Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon best selling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.
Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.
She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.