ARC Review by Annie: Relay by Layla Reyne
Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.
Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.
Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.
Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads
Release Date: January 8th
Check out our blog tour post with Guest Post by Layla Reyne
*A copy of this was provided via NetGalley
I think I’m in the minority with this one, because so far I’ve only seen great reviews for it on social media, but I just didn’t click with it. I was very excited when I first heard of this book. I used to swim competitively myself – definitely not on a high level as Alex or Dane – but I really enjoy diving back into this world from time to time. If you’re looking for a romance that focuses a lot on the sport, then this probably won’t be for you since the book plays more outside of the pool than inside of it. Maybe that plays a bit into why I didn’t love it. Another big part of why I didn’t fall for it where Alex and Dane themself.
The book starts off kind of rocky when Dane and Alex meet again for the first time after ten years. And things go downhill from there. Alex and Dane were boyfriends for a summer when they were teenagers and things didn’t end amicably. Meeting again after all this time stirs up a lot of forgotten feelings – not all of them positive. It all culminates when it turns physical and one of their teammates gets injured because he comes between them. Dane ends up taking the now open spot on the relay team.
I just don’t know how to review this because there were parts I really enjoyed — that made putting the book down almost impossible. First scene that comes to mind is the club scene with Dane and Alex. That one really enthralled me and I could practically feel their connection. I also really, really loved the pup! I’m so excited to get Jacob’s and Bas’ story in Medley. But then there is the way these two are incapable to communicate and for someone who held a grudge for 10 years Alex forgot about it all way too fast. I missed the groveling and apologies from Dane. I understand why Dane did what he did — but I felt like Alex was too fast to forget what happened. And damn, these two had a physical fight just a couple of chapters before!
A minor thing that bugged me all through the book was the drinking. I’m not sure how exactly it works — and I’ve heard of the olympics being party central for some athletes. Maybe it’s only because exessive drinking is a thing for me… but I felt like the partying was a bit much considering that there is so much on the line. The olympics only happen once every 4 years — wouldn’t they want to be the best possible?
This all sounds really negative now, but I did enjoy Relay. Most of all because I really love the side characters like the coach, Bas and Jacob. The latter two will get their own book Medley and I am SO excited for that one! Jacob definitely was my favourite character out of everyone in Relay and knowing that his book is next has me buzzing in excitement! Because most of why I didn’t love Relay was because I didn’t gel with either of the MC’s I’d still recommend you to read it. I think if you love Dane and/or Alex you will definitely enjoy this more than I did.
2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.
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Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Riptide Publishing Review Tag: Enemies to Lovers Tag: Part of a series Tag: PoC Tag: Sports Changing Lanes Layla Reyne Relay
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