we were left with a hockey team that seemed to be on the brink of destruction…there was a new coach that no one seemed to know what to do with…lucky for them he knew what he was doing because as the story moved along some things got better but other things…well not so much and now here we are back in Arizona and the Raptors are still picking up the pieces and as part of that effort Jason Westman-Reid has called on Sebastian Brown a close friend from his uni days. Seb’s a fixer, he takes companies that are hot messes and turns them around making them profitable and if anybody needs fixing…it’s the Raptors.
Seb’s giving his friend’s team 3 months and he’s going to get them sorted out during that time or at least he will if he can keep his focus on the team and not just one player in particular…Alejandro (Alex) Garcia…beautiful, dedicated, mouth-wateringly gorgeous Alex…Seb is so screwed and Alex isn’t doing any better where Seb’s concerned.
But Alex comes with his own challenges…you see Alex is not only in the closet, he’s nailed the door shut. Growing up the son of Mexican immigrants and raised in a Catholic household the one thing that Alex knows for sure is ‘being gay, out and proud’ is a guaranteed way to lose your family.
Along with playing hockey, Alex has put a considerable amount of his free time and energy into showing the world that he’s just another straight dude, but as he and Seb become closer he begins to resent the charade that he’s been leading and dreams of being able to be himself even with his family start to eat away at him until he’s no longer comfortable with the pretense of being something that he’s not until he’s ultimately faced with a choice.
I really liked Seb’s character right from the start. He’s mature (there’s a 10-year age gap between him and Alex), Seb’s kind and confident and most importantly has a wealth of patience…not just money although he seems to have a fair bit of that too. In spite of the fact that Seb and Alex have very different backgrounds there’s much about what Alex is facing that Seb understands and has dealt with in his own way.
Alex for me was a little more of a challenge to warm up to. There were times that he seemed to be blowing hot and cold in rapid succession, but all things considered it made sense. This is a young man all of 22 years old and while in many ways he’s very mature for his age, he’s also dealing with a lot of pressures both externally and internally. He’s one of a handful of Latino hockey players in the NHL and this my friends is very much based on fact. I spent a few minutes on google and as near as I could ascertain there are maybe 6 players who are Latino in the NHL out of a total of 713 players (31 teams each allowed 23 players on their active roster) if I was a Latino playing in the NHL I’d find that to be more than a little bit intimidating add in his family and team dynamics and running hot and cold would be the least of my issues…hell, I’d just be running. So at the end of the day when I sat back and tried to imagine the pressures of being Alex…well all I can say is he’s one brave young man and he really deserves to have a Seb in his life.
And that was when I fell a little bit in love with this story when I sat back and looked at it objectively or at least as objectively as any of us can. Sure there were some quirks and quarks that maybe would have worked better if they were a little different…but at the end of the day maybe not. I don’t know. I do know that as it stands this story was sweet and these two characters worked. Initially the attraction felt very ‘lust at first sight’ but truthfully, I’m ok with that. I’ve even ok with the fact that the connection between Seb and Alex came from the little things…the kisses, the touches, the quiet talks, the small gestures that showed their support of each other and the big gestures.
I also really liked getting to see Henry and I’m so freakin’ happy that he’s getting his own story and we’ll get to hopefully share in some happiness for him because damn, if he doesn’t deserve some happy I’m not sure who does…now with any luck after Henry we’ll get Colorado’s story because ain’t no one going to convince me there’s not one hella’ good story waiting to be told about that boy.
An ARC of “Across the Pond” was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.