City Boy and Country Boy, A.E. Wasp

Follow the money or follow your heart? Either way, you lose.

Bryce and Dakota.  Two men that seem so very different on the outside and from looking at their background.  But look a little deeper and you find two men that want only to belong, to have family, to be loved.  With a chance encounter on the back roads Bryce finds truth, Dakota finds possibility, and both find acceptance.  The next day, however, both of them find what they think might be the biggest obstacle of all.  Coming together to find solutions to both of their problems bring them closer to one another and to a future neither of them envisioned.  An orchard, a hockey game, and a surprise kiss combine and give them trouble, bliss, and their own happy ever after.

City Boy (Hot Off the Ice Book 1) by [Wasp, A. E.]

I fell in love with both of these men.  My favorite characters are big men that have more heart than they know what to do with.  They're genuine, they're good, they're guileless, they need a partner who understands just how good they are and will fight for them and help them see outside the box.  Bryce is that good man.  He's got so much positivity inside of him that he believes there's always a solution.  He's determined to find the best solution for everyone.  That sometimes causes him to steamroll anyone else's opinions if they seem even slightly negative.

Dakota is the ideal partner for someone like Bryce.  He's been hurt and taken advantage of and is in need of Bryce's heart to help heal him and get him to see that good things do happen and have the potential to stay good.  Dakota's experiences allow him to show Bryce that there's more than just his way.  Bryce's humility throws Dakota for a loop sometimes but it helps to break down his walls of mistrust and fear.

Together they make things inside and around them better.  They encourage others to do the same.  I really love this couple because they're not perfect and all they want is to be loved.  Watching the way they come together is really sweet and a lot hot.  Their passion is only surpassed by their affection.  Bryce's coming out was a bit rash and put Dakota in a really difficult position.  Dakota's reaction to what happened was a bit rash as well but not without good reason.  With the main issue being repeatedly brought up to Bryce and having him scolded for it was a bit over the top but absolutely necessary.  It set up a building block of trust for Robbie and Paul in book 2, Country Boy.  When Bryce and Dakota come to a decision it's one that settles in your heart.

Sometimes the toughest thing to have faith in is yourself.

Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice Book 2) by [Wasp, A. E.]

While book 1, City Boy, dealt with love versus money in addition to true and complete self-acceptance, this book was much more about the latter.  To truly accept who you are and all that goes along with it.  The world is a scary place when you're brought up to hate something that you fear you are.  Paul struggles with this very thing and we think we have his life pegged as the stereotypical Southern boy raised in a Bible-thumping household.  We're only partially right.  There's so much going on under the surface that adds to the complexity and confusion that swirls around and inside Paul.  His chance meeting with Robbie stokes two fires.  One fire is that of passion ignited.  What began as curiosity laden with guilt was fanned into a yearning Paul could no longer ignore.  The second was the perceived fires of Hell reaching out for his soul.  Which to feed and which to smother?  The choice seems simple until outside pressure forces him to choose by stacking the deck against what he hoped he could have.

With Robbie battered and confused by Paul's treatment he decides to move on from their one night and go forward with his hockey career as a mostly out player.  The public is kept in the dark about his sexual inclination, but his friends and family know and he's mostly comfortable with his life as it is.  And then Paul shows up, on his team, no less.  Their one night changed things for them and set them on a course that ultimately brought them together thousands of miles away.  As they reconcile what they do and might mean to one another they're faced with some of the biggest decisions of their lives.

Finding strength to stand alone to maybe stand together is a lot harder than taking the first step.  Paul and Robbie work to build something together that's both passionate and based on genuine affection.  They know one another's strengths and weaknesses and support one another regardless.  When obstacles come up it's the big ones that make them see what could be more for them.  Whether they cross the line over their fears is the question.  I admire these men for the choices they make and who they ultimately make them for.  Such a great story with surprises, tenderness, passion, a bit of angst, and a whole lot of heart.

Paul rolled his eyes. He was seriously tired of having to justify the way he lived his life to everyone. As if he needed their seal of approval on his choices. “Really? You don’t understand why someone might not be ready to walk around waving a rainbow flag? That’s why I saw pictures of you and your boyfriend on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Because you’re so out and proud?”
“You sound like Drew,” Robbie frowned. “Just because I don’t want my relationships dissected by the fans and the media, doesn’t mean I’m in the closet. If I were dating a woman, I’d feel the same way. Probably. Besides, everyone who needs to know knows,” he said defensively.
Paul shoved him back with a finger to the chest. “That’s bullshit. You don’t know who needs to know. Some kid down in the bible belt might need to know he’s not the only one, so he doesn’t go trying anything stupid.”
Robbie pushed Paul’s finger away. “Like what?”
“Like trying to freeze himself to death in the middle of fucking nowhere Minnesota,” Paul spit out. “You’re a fucking condescending ass, but you saved my life that night.”
Robbie’s jaw dropped. “You were trying to kill yourself?”
Paul crossed his arms and looked away. “No. Not directly. Kind of. I don’t know. Suicide is a sin, too.” Paul’s laugh held no humor. “A literal ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ situation.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for those kind words! I'm glad you love Bryce. He is a big Golden Retriever of a man. You can't not love it.