Sports themed books hold a special place in my heart because of the simple fact sports are so testosterone laden. It always comes down to the player being in the closet for fear that he'll be shunned by his uber macho teammates and his fans. No matter what sport, they are all 'manly' in some way and these characters are always in the closet. I love seeing the turmoil the player goes through and watching him figure out whether he should stay in the closet for the love of his career or come out for the love of his partner or somehow keep both his career and his lover without too many consequences.
In this one, Riley holds enough angst for me to be satisfied with his turmoil over coming out but at the same time it wasn't too angsty which suited my mood perfectly. The added conflict of being attracted to but yet afraid to start a relationship with out and proud sports writer, Max, made this story a very great read.
I loved the characters and their dilemmas. I felt like I knew them by the end of the story. I loved the way this story was handled because we went through Riley's problems, Max's problems and then found a happy medium between the two while the story kept the realistic feel that I was looking for.
My only complaint with this book is I felt like there was a bit too much sex which, in my opinion, took away from the more advanced characterization this story could have achieved. Don't get me wrong, I loved the characterization in this book but I felt like there could have been more of it as well as more of an emphasis on seeing Riley actually competing in soccer games as opposed to just the conflict that revolved around the games.
Still, in the end, I loved the story, the characters, and the trials Riley and Max went through. Their story was sweet and hot at the same time with just a tiny bit of angst. It was a great book and I hope we get to see more of them someday.