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Relay (Changing Lanes Book 1) - Layla Reyne

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.

Review:

Dear Layla Reyne,

I like watching Olympic swimming a lot and I enjoyed the first book in your series about FBI agents, so this book had all the potential to be a winning combination for me.  Alex and Dane fell in love when they were sixteen years old, however Dane left Alex rather than come out to his parents.

Ten years later they both made it in the sport and made the Olympic team again. As blurb tells you Alex is elected as a captain and Dane is one of the best players in the world. Could they work together for the good of the team? Will their romance resurface?

Let me be blunt, in the first twenty five – thirty percent of this book there was absolutely no way I would have thought that either of these guys was 26 years old. Immature behavior was on full display from both of them while they were supposed to train for the soon coming Olympics. I actually did not begrudge Alex the right to be upset over what happened between them ten years ago, but the degree to which the newly elected captain took it? You would begrudge your team mate who is the best swimmer in that stroke the place on the relay team? Seriously? That’s only one stunt he pulled and Dane was not too far from Alex in the immature behavior department for me.

At thirty percent of the book or so these guys decided to remember that they are Olympic swimmers and seemed to try to behave like ones, most of the time anyway. Despite what I wrote in the previous paragraph, I actually liked both of them. I did not feel like their behavior made sense from the 26 year olds adult males, but the author somehow still managed to elicit sympathy from me.

Dane’s parents were horrible, cartoonish villains if you will ask me. I do not call them cartoonish because they were awful. I do know that parents who are horrible to their LGBT kids are a plenty in real life still sadly. No, I rolled my eyes at their absolute boldness and entitlement to control Dane’s life and *his money*.

I never hold against any character their unwillingness to come out and I did not hold it against Dane. I probably said it before that if our society ever becomes a wonderful place where all people will feel safe to come out, I will be so happy. However as a straight woman even if that utopia ever happens it still won’t be my place to make any judgments about that. So, the fact that Dane was scared to come out did work for me, what *didn’t work* was the fact that at 26 years old he did nothing to assert the financial independence from his parents. It is not that I think that 26 year old cannot be controlled by evil parents or anybody else who is skilled enough to control the other person in many ways. No, I get that it is possible, but the author did not establish to my satisfaction why exactly Dane did not feel like he could tell his parents to take a hike instead of being in charge of his endorsements and generally run his life.

So this bothered me because I was not convinced that Dane could not just tell his parents bye bye much earlier than he did.

I actually liked some stuff in this book. I liked that even though we do not see Olympics just yet, we see training being shown. I liked the main characters together they were sweet and hot.

Grade: C