Running Away From Sunshine - Gwynn Marssen This review can be found at The Armchair Reader.

This is a quick story about Jake and Gabriel and the friendship they develop. Jake is an ER doctor who seems to constantly have to treat Gabriel, an injury prone college hockey player. The crush Jake has for Gabriel is something he can live with until Gabriel learns Jake isn’t a hockey fan and brings it upon himself to show Jake just what he’s missing. As friends, they have a lot in common but Jake soon realizes that his feelings for Gabriel keep growing and it isn’t until his brother gets into a car accident that Gabriel becomes aware of Jake’s crush and things start to stir up between them.

This is one of those books that had a lot of potential but is hindered by the length of the story. I was really enjoying the beginning of it. I adored the friendship that Jake and Gabriel developed and the fun they had together. They are completely different people. Gabriel is a young college student and Jake is the older (although I’m not sure by how much) man who has a handle on life. Or so he thinks. While they’re different people they’re both adrenaline junkies and their bond becomes stronger because of that. I loved that Gabriel was so carefree because he didn’t let many things get to him, which meant he was always ready with a broad smile and a funny joke. Jake is a loner but needs the motivation to heal his broken heart and Gabriel can give him that.

I believe the moral of the story is about healing. Coming to terms with things that have happened, accepting them and moving on; stop running away and start living again. It’s a sweet, inspiring message that comes across greatly in Jake. If the story had been based solely on that, I would have enjoyed this a lot more. Unfortunately, other conflicts that were put into the story were out of place and weren’t given the proper due they deserved. For example, Gabriel being a college hockey player is in the closet. However, we don’t know this until almost the end of the story because he doesn’t act like it. Unfortunately, that kind of conflict needs to be fleshed out and I felt like this was something that was mentioned and then accepted after a brief fight. In the end, it’s still not address with much substance leaving the issue in the same position it was before the argument, which made the story feel incomplete and gave it the HFN ending. As I said, I was liking the story in the beginning but as it progressed, the author tried to push in multiple conflicts that just couldn’t fit into such a short story without being properly fleshed out.

Overall, this was a nice read. The characters are adorable and I loved how casual they were with each other but as a couple, I felt like they fell short on what they could have been. Their conflicts were just too big for the length of the read. I sincerely hope the author is thinking of making this into a series because their relationship feels incomplete to me. However, for those readers looking for something short and sweet with a tiny bit of angst, you’ll enjoy this one I bet!