Verb: to fake an opponent out of position (hockey)”
— Deke (Fake Boyfriend Book 3) by Eden Finley
It the run for the Stanley Cup and my team is out of it. So it’s time to bury myself in hockey romances and storylines.
What better time to catch up on Eden Finley’s Fake Boyfriend series which figures around pro athletes, many NHL players, coming to terms with their sexuality and their careers as pro athletes.
Many of these stories were written several years ago, and while some pro sports , like the NHL, have become more accepting of LGBTGIA people, the fact is, still very few male players have yet to feel comfortable and safe being out.
Until the books I read and present day reality finally mesh, it’s authors like Finley and others who’s love for both the sports they write about and the players involved leave me happy and connected to both worlds.
Deke is a great story about a player who, while not hiding his homosexuality from his family and friends, isn’t out to his team and the “outside” world.
Ollie Strömberg’s life is one of hockey, family, and a constant stress and pressure on him about his sexuality. That Ollie’s stayed in the closet to protect himself and his career from the notoriety and bigotry of a out NHL hockey player would garner has cost him a long-term relationship. And more.
Then there’s Lennon, the sport’s journalist, who happens to run into the Strömberg family celebration (a huge undertaking with 5 boys, now giant men) at a restaurant/bar at a time when Ollie’s under fire, again, by his too supportive family for his closeted life and lack of a relationship.
The way Findlay is able to instantly connect these men to each other in a matter of scenes, make it realistic and easy for us too see it. Well, it’s great.
The chemistry is working right there, a few bumbles, the perfect amount of humor, and I’m totally engaged.
A sports journalist, with not a lot of hockey knowledge (he covers football and baseball), and a hockey player who’s drawn to a man who is demonstrating he actually sees him, through the family dynamics playing out over the dinner antics.
Lennon, aka Clark, his alias at the family dinner, is a man of ethics. Even if he’s not familiar with the sport he’s been assigned to cover, he’s trying his best . While coming to care for a man he sees living under extreme pressure, not just from his team but unexpectedly from his family.
The story is tender, hot, funny, and full of believable characters, and real moments that you’ll read and connect with. Whether it’s within the family context or on the ice.
I throughly enjoyed Deke and can’t wait to work my way through the rest of this series.
I’m highly recommending this and the author.
Fake Boyfriends series:
🔹Fake Out #1
🔹Trick Play #2
🔹It’s Complicated #3.5
🔹Winning You #4.5
🔹Hat Trick #5
🔹Final Play #6
🔹Fake Boyfriends Breakaways
Word of advice: don’t come out to random guys in public restrooms. Even if they’re charming and adorably nerdy and offer to help.
My family believe I can’t be happy if I’m not out to the world. I have a bitter ex-boyfriend and an unstable NHL career to show for it. A fake boyfriend seems like an easy and quick solution to get my family off my back, and this guy is volunteering. I take him up on it without asking his name.
I really should’ve asked for his name.
Word of advice: learn how to introduce yourself properly.
In my defense, I don’t recognize Ollie Strömberg right away. I cover football, not hockey.
I’m not supposed to see him again, and he’s never supposed to find out I’m a reporter.
That all changes when my editor reassigns me.
It’s a lesson I should’ve learned by now. Nothing’s changed since high school. Jocks still hate nerds. But even worse, athletes hate journalists. Especially ones who know their secret.
*Deke is a full-length MM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhanger*