Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

The sequel to Him sees Jamie and Wes several months into their relationship. Their secret relationship, I should say, as Wes’s rookie NFL career is underway, and he doesn’t want it overshadowed by him being outed as the first openly gay ice hockey player in the league.

Jamie has given up his own playing career and taken up a coaching post, teaching elite kids how to be goalies. It’s his calling and he loves it, but it doesn’t go easily. He’s also having to navigate the new world where he’s suddenly bisexual and in a gay relationship. Whereas his family and friends are happy and supportive, it’s a lot for him to deal with, and he hates not being able to be with Wes publicly. Plus he’s in a new city and the isolation adds to his woes.

The secrecy creates a strain on their relationship, with Wes being asked about his love life by the press, and by his team mates assuming he’ll be interested in the models at a benefit evening. He can’t take Jamie as his date, and it’s sad for both of them. They live together, but they have to appear to be roommates to anyone who asks. A situation like this can never end well.

This bittersweet nature of their love was the theme for the book. The first in the series was all about them falling in deep, and this novel is about them trying to keep the relationship through the strains of their situation. Not the cheeriest of subjects. But it’s not all misery and heartache. They’re still a sexy couple, with their own unique version of sexting:

“The picture is a carefully angled shot from our sofa toward the television. But the focus is on Jamie’s cock, which appears to be aiming the remote at the television. One stick-drawn arm is pushing a button, and the other has its drawn hand on its…hip. Well, dicks don’t have hips. But still.”

Fun is also introduced in the form of Blake, their chirpy, huge neighbor and teammate of Wes’s. Blake clearly twigs that they’re a couple, but he doesn’t say anything. He inflicts his company on them, in an adorable way, and is a much needed breath of air.

Blake, Jamie’s family, the NFL team and the coaches are great, and though homophobia is a theme in this book, it isn’t the focus. Another issue affects our couple that could affect any pairing, gay or not.

Overall I enjoyed the story. I felt the love so strongly – more so in this book than the last – and I felt so bad for them when bad stuff happened. Both characters are awesome and so is Blake. I read his story, the first book in the spinoff series Wags first. I wish had read them in order so I could’ve been more excited about seeing *REDACTED SPOILER* plus just what happened between Blake and Jamie’s sister.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Rennie Road Publishing

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