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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

"Us" by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Us - Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen

I don't read much m/m, but I love Sarina Bowen, and I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Him, because it was refreshing to see an authentic portrayal of bisexuality instead of yet another Gay-for-You trope. (Dear Straight Women Authors Writing M/M Romance: Gay-for-You? That's not really a thing. Love, a Bisexual Mama in a Same-Sex Marriage)

 

Us continues telling the story of Jamie and Wes's relationship. They've moved to Toronto; Wes is having a terrific rookie season in the NFL, and Jamie has a job he enjoys coaching gifted young goalies in a junior league. They've agreed to keep their relationship in the closet until Wes's rookie season is over, because he needs to prove his value as a player before putting his team through the media storm of his coming out -- otherwise, the team may just cut him loose.

 

The pressures of keeping their relationship under wraps strains too much, though, when one of Wes's teammates moves into their building and starts showing up at all hours of the day and night. Suddenly, Wes and Jamie can't even relax and be themselves in their own home. Add to that the stresses of Wes's demanding travel schedule and some troubles at Jamie's jobs, and both start to question whether their relationship can survive.

 

As with Him, I found Us refreshingly authentic. The pressures on Jamie and Wes are not just conflict for the sake of Plot; they are the same adjustments most people make in finding their feet in their first long-term, committed relationship and in their first adult job, complicated by the confines of the Closet. I also appreciated that Jamie and Wes were not closeted because of shame or fear; that they were both totally okay with who they are and with their relationship and they had a plan for coming out as soon as Wes proves himself a Hockey Player and not just as "the first gay guy in the NHL." I understood his need to prove himself, because he is gay but he is not only gay.

 

As with Him, my only frustration with this book was that Jamie and Wes did not always communicate as well as they should have, but they always had the necessary difficult conversations eventually -- just not as quickly as I might have liked.

 

If there's more to this series, I will definitely read on.