Loving Luke: Gay First Time Hockey Romance

2 Stars

I went into this story with high hopes. A nice hokey romance that starts in the midst of a problem instead of dragging you through the problem and then suddenly ending with an HEA. This way I assumed we’d get more of the actual relationship stuff and not the forced angst/drama. It didn’t quite lift off the page for me though. Firstly I’d like to point out I had zero problems with the book starting after a major event. Luke made a bet. Harley found out about it and now he needs to fix the mess he made. My problem with it was how long it took to mention the parameters of the bet. Like the full details didn’t drop until his apology which is way down past 70 percent. This is the crux of this entire novel so that is more than just too far in. Secondly, most importantly, how the hell did Harley find out? Not detailing the scene fine, but not expressing the specifics of the bet and how Harley found out about it were serious issues making it hard to get into this. 

Sometimes the sentences seemed wordy. A few seemed unnecessary altogether. The writing was clean, didn’t notice much typos, but a second step of editing to make it clearer and flow better was needed.

I stopped reading at two spots. First when Luke gets a call from a guy he was intimate with previously. He did not have to say he’s seeing someone but he could’ve cleary said chances are he wouldn’t be free in the near future and if he was he would call back. Something that stated don’t waste your time messaging me I’m not going to answer and, most people, would be able to read between the lines and it puts him in the position to ignore any future messages should the guy not take him seriously. The second point was when Harley checks his phone. 

I’m not into personal space violations. That is a problem but it’s not the real issue. The way things have been laid out you get the impression this guy has been texting Luke and Luke has been ignoring him–rightfully so. Any human knows that if you get multiple messages from someone and never respond you’re ignoring them. We know what ghosting is. So if Harley did a good enough spy job there is no way he could think Luke was sleeping with him. Not with such obvious evidence. Furthermore, why didn’t Luke say this? “Oh he’s just some guy I messed with before and I thought ignoring him would make him go away.” One simple truthful sentence, problem solved. The whole drama of kicking him out did not have to happen at all. I really couldn’t connect with how either of them responded to this. The irrational early teen love vibes were hard to ignore.

The bits of wisdom always seemed misplaced. Like the author was trying to learn the reader something instead of the character they were talking to. Something about where they fell made them stick out instead of blend in. 

Lukes best friend, she was the best thing in this novel. I loved her. Everything about her. She needed more page time. Her scenes got my biggest smiles. 

Most of the book after the big fight they let happen by not behaving like adults I did a lot of skimming. Just wanted to see when they’d get back together and then I skimmed some more to get to when they announced they were a couple.

I really wanted to love this book. I mean sports jock M/M romance… I was born ready but without giving details of the bet, having Luke behave like a teen who can’t form a simple sentence, occasional wordiness, Harley not stalking the messages well enough, and a few other things I just couldn’t vibe with this story. 

I felt this book wanted to be a slow burn and used the wrong angle to get there. The bet, and a guy too stupid to say I’m seeing someone wasn’t strong enough especially when he didn’t actually see anyone while patching things up with Harley. He was good and celibate. There was nothing to get angry over. So much potential but the waiting for an apology seemed to be the only thing the story was concerned with when it had so much more great angles and plot points going for it.

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