I was so excited for the release of US by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy!!! I freaking loved HIM, and couldn’t wait for more Jamie, and Wes. US was well worth the wait! It had all the elements for a great romance; humor, emotion, drama, and plenty of hot dudes.
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?
Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.
Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.
Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?
At long last, I’m twenty paces away, then ten. Then I’m opening our door. “Hey babe!” I call out like I always do. “I made it.” I drag my duffel over the threshold, then toss my suit coat on top, abandoning these things beside the door, because all I need now is a kiss.
Only then do I notice that our apartment smells amazing. Jamie has cooked dinner for me. Again. He is the perfect man, I swear to God.
“Hey!” he calls, emerging from the hallway leading to our bedroom. He’s wearing jeans and nothing else except—and this is unusual—a beard. “Do I know you?” He gives me a sexy smile.
“I was going to ask the same thing.” I’m staring at the sandy-blond beard. Jamie has always been clean-shaven. I mean—we’ve known each other since before facial hair. He looks different. Older, maybe.
And hot as blazes. Seriously, I can’t wait to feel that beard against my face, and maybe my balls… Jesus. The blood is already rushing south, and I’ve been home fifteen seconds.
And yet I’m just stuck there in the middle of the room for a moment, because even though it’s been eight months since Jamie and I started up together, I’m still a little stunned at my own good fortune. “Hi,” I say again, stupidly.
He walks forward, his easy gait so familiar that my heart breaks a little bit. He puts his hands on my traps and squeezes the muscle there. “Don’t go away for so long. If you do that again, I’m going to have to sneak into your hotel room on the road.”
“Promise?” I ask, and it comes out like gravel. He’s close enough now that I can smell the ocean scent of his shampoo and the beer he drank while he waited for me.
“If I ever get a winning lottery ticket and a day off, I’ll do it,” he says. “Hotel sex after a game? Sounds hot.”
Now I’m measuring the distance to our sofa and counting the layers of clothes I’ll need to remove in the next ninety seconds.
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*
We fell in love with Jamie, and Wes in HIM, following their wonderful discovery journey. Now that story continues in US, and it was once again a complete surprise to me. I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect, but Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy have surpassed whatever I came up with.
Both Jamie, and Wes are strong characters. While Wes was previously a bit more insecure, it was Jamie who was at a loss this time. The fact that they had to keep their relationship a secret really weighed on him. In a way he understood where Wes was coming from, this being his rookie year he wanted everyone to focus on his time on the ice, not on who’s keeping his bed warm.
Still doubt sets in with Jamie. This normally open, very sociable guy, became isolated, moody, unsure, and almost a loner. Having nobody in Toronto but Wes, and keeping their connection at a minimum was difficult for him. I could completely get behind this change in Jamie, I understood it, though it was actually difficult to read about it. My heart was breaking for these two guys who clearly love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough.
When other difficulties arise, the tension between Wes and Jamie becomes even more tangible. It was a train wreck you couldn’t look away from, your heart hoping with all its might that these two could work it out. ‘Cause you know they are meant to be together, but love is a verb and both parties need to work at it.
US was an amazing sequel to HIM. I loved every second of it. This story went a whole other way than I was expecting, and I loved this surprise. Both characters keep evolving, and making me adore them even more. I mostly love this look after supposedly happily ever after, which there isn’t, it’s just the next step in their relationship with its ups and downs.
Beside the struggle there was also plenty of humor, mostly provided by the new team-mate Blake. (A nice little surprise about him at the end of the book.) There certainly wasn’t any lack in the sexy department, being on the road so much requires some inventive ways to stay connected. I fully recommend this series to anyone who loves sports romances, m/m stories, needs a good laugh, loves to feel the emotions, or all of the above.