Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy: ARC Review & Excerpt


Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He's living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There's just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It's not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn't help that his new job isn't going as smoothly as he'd hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes's nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes, and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

Click to Buy on Amazon:



At long last, I’m twenty paces away, then ten. Then I’m opening our door. “Hey babe!” I call out like I always do. “I made it.” I drag my duffel over the threshold, then toss my suit coat on top, abandoning these things beside the door, because all I need now is a kiss.

Only then do I notice that our apartment smells amazing. Jamie has cooked dinner for me. Again. He is the perfect man, I swear to God.

“Hey!” he calls, emerging from the hallway leading to our bedroom. He’s wearing jeans and nothing else except—and this is unusual—a beard. “Do I know you?” He gives me a sexy smile.

“I was going to ask the same thing.” I’m staring at the sandy-blond beard. Jamie has always been clean-shaven. I mean—we’ve known each other since before facial hair. He looks different. Older, maybe.

And hot as blazes. Seriously, I can’t wait to feel that beard against my face, and maybe my balls… Jesus. The blood is already rushing south, and I’ve been home fifteen seconds.

And yet I’m just stuck there in the middle of the room for a moment, because even though it’s been eight months since Jamie and I started up together, I’m still a little stunned at my own good fortune. “Hi,” I say again, stupidly.

He walks forward, his easy gait so familiar that my heart breaks a little bit. He puts his hands on my traps and squeezes the muscle there. “Don’t go away for so long. If you do that again, I’m going to have to sneak into your hotel room on the road.”

“Promise?” I ask, and it comes out like gravel. He’s close enough now that I can smell the ocean scent of his shampoo and the beer he drank while he waited for me.

“If I ever get a winning lottery ticket and a day off, I’ll do it,” he says. “Hotel sex after a game? Sounds hot.”

Now I’m measuring the distance to our sofa and counting the layers of clothes I’ll need to remove in the next ninety seconds.

About Sarina Bowen:

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont's Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)

Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Social Media Links:

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About Elle Kennedy:

A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BA in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Elle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website www.ellekennedy.com or sign up for her newsletter to receive updates about upcoming books and exclusive excerpts. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter (@ElleKennedy).

Social Media Links:

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Review by Yvette:

My favorite type of books to read are typically standalones because more than one book per couple more often than not means more drama and more issues. I'd never say no to more Jamie and Wes but I couldn’t help but feel anxious as to where their follow-up book would lead. After finishing Us, however, and experiencing these characters' highs and lows alongside of them, I felt a strong sense of satisfaction that everything in their journey happened for a reason. Us is like Him 2.0, with higher stakes, rawer emotions, and even steamier love scenes (if that’s possible). I appreciated that Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen grounded this book in reality (all the feels) while still making it an entertaining, feel-good story.

With Us, we get to experience more of Wes and Jamie's daily lives, learning how they've progressed career-wise and relationship-wise as they transition from college students to full-fledged adults. It was fun getting to see both Wes and Jamie in their elements, with Wes taking his NHL rookie year by storm and Jamie assuming his role as hockey coach. The not-so-fun part? The insecurities, the fears, and the crackling tension (not always the good kind) that emerge along the way. Why must these authors torture me? I felt as though my heart was being pulverized again and again amidst the (plentiful) love scenes and moments of light-heartedness. There’s so much that happens in what seems like a short amount of time that I was glued to each page of the narrative

Like Him, Us is humorous, sexy, and impossible to put down. This book made me laugh. It made me frustrated. It made me swoon. It made my heart pound. It made my stomach churn. Us took me on an emotional roller coaster but I have to admit that I loved every minute of it. Overall, Us is a lighthearted and enjoyable read, with just enough angst to have your gut roiling with emotions and more than enough steamy man-on-man action to keep your cheeks flushed fire-engine red.

*complimentary copy provided by authors in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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