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Olympic figure skater Emory Lowe falls in lust the moment he lays eyes on his new neighbor, hockey player Nikolai Vetrov. On the surface, Nik is a typical badass enforcer, intimidating and dangerous, on and off the ice. The only son of Ukrainian immigrants, Nik has been groomed from childhood to fulfill his father’s dreams of seeing him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Igor guides his son toward that goal with a controlling—and abusive—hand, steering him clear of anyone who might ruin his chances.
Although Emory is the US National Figure Skating champion, he’s in-your-face gay, and his audacious persona rubs Nik and his family the wrong way. Raised by supportive and loving parents, Emory is Nik’s polar opposite in every way but one—his desire to succeed. Underneath the fluff and glitter beats the heart of a fierce competitor, and this side of Emory’s personality begins to close the distance between the two athletes.
While the attraction is one-sided in the beginning, Nik finds himself responding to Emory’s flirting. But before the incongruous pair have a chance at any sort of relationship, they must survive the pressures of career, separation, and most importantly, Igor’s ruthless homophobia
Emory and Nik meet when Nik moves into the neighborhood. Emory is a teenager living at home and training for the Olympics. Nik is a professional hockey player in the minor leagues (or whatever word they use in hockey).
Emory is 18 and Nik 20. Both still live with their parents. Both fathers are bigoted – though Emory’s dad gets over it and Nik’s dad is psychotic. Nik is engaged to a woman and in denial of his sexuality (and a gay-virgin!) and Emory is super-flamboyant to the extreme and NOT a virgin.
The boys feel instant attraction and though it is fairly dangerous for Nik , they begin a relationship. There is a lot of drama about the families and their approval. Danger surrounding Emory’s Olympic games and his risk as a homosexual in a homophobic country. Danger surrounding Nik’s career (hockey) and his coming out to his father. Lots of steamy sex. Some very sweet and tender moments between the boys. And a nice if unrealistic ending that will make you smile.
The storyline of this novel is unique in that the relationship develops fairly quickly so most of the struggle is the couple working out how they can be together given the obstacles they face.
I enjoyed Nik and Emory but the fathers felt a little too much like caricatures to feel real. Though I enjoyed the resolution it felt a bit rushed at the end and a little too “easy”.
All in all it was a good book and I enjoyed it.
4 of 5 hearts