I'm such a huge fangirl for this book that I had no idea how to write a review when I read this for the first time a couple of months ago. Not that I'm any better now, but I really just want to gush about my love for this wonderful love story.
Ryan “Wes” Wesley and Jaime Canning became best friends at 13 when they met at a hockey summer camp. They spent the summers playing hockey, pranking, all round having fun and the remaining part of the year sending each other boxes of gag gifts. But an incident on the last day of camp before college forces Wes to cut off contact leaving Jaime with lots of questions.
It's four years later and they unexpectedly meet again when their college teams qualify for the Frozen Four. Meeting again makes them realise how important their friendship was to each other and Wes decides to surprise Jaime by joining as a coach at their summer camp before heading to Toronto to begin his NHL career. Will Wes win back his friend? Will his unrequited feelings for Jaime affect their future? All these questions are answered in the pages of this brilliant and beautiful novel.
Ryan may come across as a cocky, over confident, successful athlete but we quickly realise that it's a front he has put up to hide his vulnerable side from the world. He is also grappling with the idea of hiding his sexuality from his new team because he doesn't want the scrutiny of being the first out gay NHL player along with that of being a rookie. Growing up in a very indifferent and unsupportive family, he lived his happiest days every summer alongside Jaime and now, he just wants one more summer with his best friend and the only person he has ever loved – even if he has to hide his true feelings.
Jaime is only too happy to have his friend back for six more weeks and they get along like a house on fire almost instantly, as if the last four years of separation don't exist. He is also a very laidback, chill Cali boy and when he is confronted with his sudden attraction towards Wes, he doesn't overthink and just dives right into it.
The progression of their relationship from best friends to lovers is very beautifully written. They share such a strong bond and we are shown glimpses of their teenage years together, that it is very easy for us to see them as a couple. They trust, support and complement each other unconditionally. And most importantly, their sexual chemistry is OFF THE CHARTS!!!!! What makes the steamy scenes even better in the book is that they are totally sexy but also full of humor and emotion – I blushed, laughed out loud and got misty eyed too. Jaime and Wes never really talk about their feelings, but express their love for each other through tender touches, sensual kisses and heart warming actions. They always put each other and their friendship first, even if it means they don't get to be together. But thankfully, the separation is short lived and we get the amazing sexy reunion. Ohhh the feels 😘😘😘
Both the guys are extremely adorable that I fell for them right from the get go, but I love Ryan a teeny tiny bit more. He loves Jaime so much but struggles to accept that his feelings are truly reciprocated and he can have both his career and the love of his life. Jaime comes from a very well loved, accepting family, so his journey of exploring his bisexual identity is much more smooth. The writers have done an excellent job of giving both the MCs unique voices, personalities and backstories – which makes it very easy for us to love them individually while also rooting for them hard as a couple.
I have to specially mention Jaime's “Canning clan”. They are awesome and their home exudes love and warmth. The epilogue is singularly powerful and emotional because Ryan gets to truly experience the love of a family.
I still feel I have failed in adequately expressing my fondness for this book because I love it too much and don't have enough words to describe my feelings. Let's just say that Ryan and Jaime will always be one of my favorite couples ever. This book has also made it's way into my All-time Favorites shelf on Goodreads.
If you like – a good best friends to lovers romance; sweet, sensitive and adorable (not the aggressive alpha male) athlete MCs; low on angst and high on emotion plot; fabulously entertaining banter and shenanigans; lots of hot and sexy times – then this is the book for you. This is also a great foray into M/M romance if you are interested in exploring the genre. “Him” undoubtedly proves that two great romance authors can create more magic when they decide to collaborate.
If you enjoy audiobooks or just want to give them a try, then I highly recommend this one. Jacob Morgan and Teddy Hamilton do a magnificent job bringing these characters to life. And just like Ryan, I'm totally in love with Jacob's voice as he narrates his POV. Definitely a must listen in the romance section.