Spotlight on Relay by Layla Reyne
“Layla Reyne is one of the most exciting new voices in queer romance, and her newest book does not disappoint. RELAY is everything you’d want in an enemies-to-lovers tale and a sports romance. While reading, I had the same heart racing excitement as I do when watching the Olympics and could not put it down.”
-RITA nominated author Santino Hassell
About the Book
Series: Changing Lanes #1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date (Print & Ebook): January 8th, 2018
Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Sports Romance
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.
The memories he’d brushed aside earlier came roaring back.
Music had coursed through Alex’s then-rangy body, his long legs, narrow hips, and firm ass moving perfectly in time with whatever tune they’d played or whatever song Dane had hummed in his ear. Smooth and seductive, dancing as natural as swimming for Alex.
Not for Dane. White boy head-bob, that was about all he could manage on his own. Years of cotillion classes were wasted on him. He’d been awkward, offbeat, and murderous on his partner’s toes. Until Alex moved behind him, pressed his front to Dane’s back, and splayed his fingers across his hip bones. Leading. Something Dane had been expected to do when dancing with girls. With Alex, though, Dane hadn’t had to worry about that. All he’d had to do was lean back and give his body over to the hard one behind him. Following. Something he’d been as eager to do horizontally.
His first taste of freedom.
3 of 5 Stars
I became a fan of Ms. Reyne with her first series and had high expectations for this new series. I’m an AVID Olympics fan so I was thrilled with the premise of the book (and hello – swimmers!). The writing was as good as I’ve come to expect from her but I did not like one of the characters or how the relationship flipped so this isn’t my favorite of her books. I am a huge fan of enemies to lovers and second chance romances both of which are in this book but both of those tropes feel incomplete to me.
Aside from Dane’s behavior and everything about his parents the thing that bothered me the most was the hatred between these two at the beginning which was a raw, real, INTENSE (living, breathing) loathing of each other. And they came to blows a few times. I absolutely could not believe these two had ever loved each other. So, Alex calls a truce and it’s all better.
Alex is a good guy. He puts everyone before himself and takes care of those around him. He was too easy on Dane, forgiving him time and again without, in my opinion, proper repentance from Dane.
Dane’s behavior is exactly why I usually won’t read books with a closeted character…one of the two people in the relationship ALWAYS gets hurt, badly. When he first joins the team he’s a jerk to EVERYONE, not just Alex. He’s an entitled, emotionally devoid person. If his lack of love and support had been used in the book to give him some depth I could have looked past the behavior. He was a puppet for his parents, clearly never getting love from them but instead of feeling sorry for him I didn’t like him. He became, without regret, exactly what his parents asked for. He never stood up for himself. Only late in the book realizing that he could tell them to shove it and have what he wanted. UGH…he made me so mad!
And Dane’s parents…just no. Neither of them have a redeeming quality. I can’t imagine they’ll ever actually be parents.
What redeemed this book for me were 3 of the supporting characters – Mo, Bas and Jacob. I loved all three of them and am REALLY looking forward to Bas and Jacob’s book. I’m hoping their book picks up where this one leaves off because I really want to know what happens at the games.
About the Author
Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.
To celebrate the release of Relay, Layla Reyne is giving away two paperback copies of Relay. Open internationally!