Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Sometimes the toughest thing to have faith in is yourself.
The first time Paul Dyson met Robbie Rhodes, they ended up naked in Robbie’s bed. The last time they met, on the ice the morning after, Paul punched Robbie in the face and called him something he’d rather not repeat.
Two years later, they’re teammates on the Seattle Thunder hockey team.
Being gay is wrong, unnatural, and there is no room for them in his world. Paul’s heard that his whole life. So when it hits him that he is gay, he does the only thing he can: he shoves himself so deep in the closet he would need a map to find his way out again.
When the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream comes along, Paul can’t say no, even if it forces him to share hotel rooms with the only man he can’t resist. It doesn’t take long for Paul to give into temptation and find himself falling in love with his brilliant, caring teammate.
But as much as he cares for Paul, Robbie is finding it harder and harder to justify hiding who he is. It goes against everything he was taught was right. He feels like he has a duty to come out to the public. He’d be the first out gay pro-hockey player.
If Paul wants to be with Robbie, he will have to turn his back on his family and everything he’s believed in. If Robbie wants to be will Paul, he’ll have to do the same.
It’s going to take them a lot of faith to find their way together in this shiny new world.
Country Boy is a love story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and how to get there. It contains sweet hockey plays, a 1976 Corvette Stingray, fancy underwear, and the journey of a lifetime.
Country Boy, the second in the Hot Off the Ice series by AE Wasp, puts the spotlight back on the Seattle Thunder and two of its newest teammates. Robbie Rhodes, who we met in the first story City Boy, and Paul Dyson, the Thunder’s newest recruit. As was City Boy, Country Boy is someone exploring their sexuality, what it means to be gay from a religious standpoint, and as a young upcoming NHL hockey player. It does so using two diametrically opposed young men. One brought up to believe in the reality of God, hell and brimstone, gay is actually evil and to be a homosexual was to be a perversion of all things natural. It was to be cast out of family, church, and society, to admit to such beliefs. That would be Paul and his ultra conservative upbringing. Then there is Robby, out and proud, with loving parents who might not understand hockey but love and support their son.
Paul and Robbie have a shared collegiate hockey rivalry history as well as a shocking, short romantic one. The last that ended in a brutal way.
Wasp brings both Robbie and Paul to life here with all the turbulence of their combined pasts, Paul’s deep confusion over his sexuality, his pain over his upbringing and religion, and the choices life seems to be asking him to make. The author has Paul reaching deep into his heart and soul for answers about how he feels about his church, parents, religion overall, and asking himself some heartbreaking questions. As readers these soul searching inner monologues and conversations Paul has with himself and others, including Robbie, make him so real, his situation so believable that he is easy to connect with.
So too Robbie with his learning disabilities, his need to remain out and not fall back into the closet that he’s worked so hard to climb out of. And just perhaps, should be even more out of as an example for LGBTQIA+ kids wishing to play hockey everywhere. Robbie too has his realistic struggles here and not just with his romance with Paul, although that is huge.
As much as I loved its predecessor, I feel that Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice #2) by A.E. Wasp tackled so many more tough issues here and did so remarkably well. AE Wasp does a wonderful job balancing multiple story threads here, weaving them all into a whole that is wonderful and heartwarming. The characters are believable and easy to connect with plus Robbie and Paul’s romance is one to remember. I love them both and can’t wait to follow their love through the rest of the series.
It’s just book two and I am in love with this series of complex men, the game of hockey and Seattle’s Thunder. Pick them up and read them in the order they were written to get a feeling of the entire cast of characters which make appearances in each book, and watch to see who and how their own romances grow as well.
Cover art is perfect for branding the series and for the characters involved. Love it.
Sales Links: Amazon