Heat Factor: These folks like sex. A lot.
Character Chemistry: “I like you, and I really like sex with you, but…a relationship?”
Plot: There’s just a lot of stuff getting in the way of happily ever afters for these folks. The good news is, it’s not insurmountable.
Overall: Absolutely zero regrets about purchasing these books.
WAGs is a spinoff series from Him, which is a pretty famous M/M hockey romance duology-plus-epilogue-sequel. In the second book in the Him series, Us, we get to know Blake Riley and Matt Eriksson, because they play on the same Toronto hockey team as Wes. In that story, Matt, who is older, finds out that his wife has filed for divorce, so he’s an emotional mess. Blake plays a bigger role than Matt in Us because he moves into Wes and Jamie’s apartment building and forces them to befriend him. In the course of events of that story, we the readers have a little inkling that Blake and Jamie’s sister, Jess, get up to some hanky panky while they’re both taking care of an ailing Jamie.
Which brings us to: Good Boy.
Jess is still living in California (where Jamie grew up), and Blake is living in Toronto (obvi), so there’s really no reason for them to be thrown together ever again, except that Jess is planning Wes and Jamie’s wedding, and Blake is Wes’s best man. There’s quite a bit of back and forth between Jess and Blake, and it seems like nothing will come of their relationship after all, but then Jess ends up getting into nursing school in Toronto, and naturally she’s over at her brother’s house often…as is Blake because he’s extremely social and also likes to live at Wes and Jamie’s house. Even though Jess swears up and down that nothing is going to happen between them, she is
- Not very good at keeping her lips off Blake and
- Happy to be his friend because he’s a good guy.
You might see where this is going.
But, y’all, Blake is a himbo. He’s like a human golden retriever. Sometimes the things that come out of his mouth are, like, OMG; but also there’s not a mean bone in his body, so it’s really easy to forgive him and to understand why Jess finds him so loveable. This is one of those books that showcases a couple with plenty of internalized angst, but that has fun together and listens to and supports each other unequivocally. These protagonists also have imperfect but happy families and supportive friends. It’s just a great vibe.
Okay, so what about Stay?
Matt Eriksson is a sad puppy after his divorce. His wife has moved on, and he resents that he can’t really be the dad he wants to be as he jumps through all her hoops and puts up with all her put downs in order to spend what time he can with his twin daughters. Luckily he’s found a personal assistant service that makes his difficult hockey season schedule manageable.
Hailey is running a business with her ex-husband, and she’s pretty sure that one of the two clients she manages personally is her long-time celebrity crush, Matt Eriksson. Spoiler: she’s right, as she discovers when a snafu leads to her personally walking his dog after her company failed to find a suitable dog walker for him while he’s on the road. Even though it would be totally unsuitable (right?) for her to, like, date a client, she just can’t help herself. And even though he’s absolutely sure that hockey will ruin his relationships, Matt can’t help himself, either.
The angst is stronger with these two, but they’re older and have a bit more baggage, so it’s understandable. What I loved about this book is that Hailey and her ex are friends. There’s some drama surrounding their relationship and the fact that they’re divorced but own a business together, and they’re definitely not as in touch with each other as they were before, but at the end of the day, they have a very amicable divorce, which is a rare treat. Of course, Matt’s divorce was anything but amicable, and at first it seems like his wife is just going to be a raging bitch because, like, that’s the archetype, right? BUT WAIT – there’s actually more to the story there, too, and that added depth made that whole situation a completely different ballgame (sorry for mixing sports metaphors) as things come to a head.
Plus, Hailey’s managing another client that seems to have absolutely no boundaries, which is funny but also a bit yikes from a business standpoint, and even that storyline is resolved with flipped-on-its-head perfection. So the romance is really nice – Matt and Hailey believe in and support each other in slightly different ways but also just as much as Jess and Blake – but also there’s so much else going on here that is not your standard drama. More good vibes.
These books were an absolute delight. Read them if you enjoy sports romance at all.
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