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.
Dane wasn’t just giving the team his all; he was giving his all to Alex.
Layla Reyne has fast become one of my go-to authors for spectacular m/m romance, and Relay was pure romance gold that kept me reading from start to finish. Oh, how I loved this book!!!
Both of these main characters brought their A-games and the secondary cast was the icing on the cake. Alejandro was cast aside by the closeted Dane a decade before, and Alex isn’t willing to risk his heart a second time. Unfortunately, they’re both on the same Olympic swimming team and finding the middle ground is a feat in itself especially when Alex’s career is on the line.
I had the happy heart squeezes and the clutch-my-heart moments watching these two! It definitely starts with this enemies-to-lovers vibe with all this bad blood keeping them apart. But underneath is this inevitable simmering attraction.
Dane grew up in a conservative environment, his parents pulling his string to be the poster boy of the media. The one time he took what he wanted was his relationship to Alex which turned out badly and not much in his case has changed. He’s stuck in this place of being what his parents want him to be and who he truly is. (Be prepared to despise hsi parents something fierce!)
Dane’s journey was humbling to watch, and I can’t tell you how misty-eyed I got.
Alejandro has the freedom of being out with a supportive family, but he has so much on his plate! This guy shattered me into pieces! The additional emotional knot of Dane is something he’s unprepared for and things get complicated when Alex lands in hot water.
This is such a well-rounded story that delivers heat and camaraderie, passion and playfulness, competition and friendship. But what truly amazes me about this writer is how she intertwines vulnerability in her characters with this strength in letting yourself be vulnerable.
I can’t recommend this series enough! And the wait for Bas’s story?! GIMMEE, GIMMEE!
5 blazing gold stars!
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