Book Title: The Game (Charleston Condors Book 2)
Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden
Cover Artist: The Book Brander Boutique
Release Date: August 9, 2023
Genre: Contemporary MM sports romance
Tropes: friends to lovers, unrequited long-time crush, Vegas wedding
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 100 000 words
It is book number two in a spinoff series.
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Micah Rose is ready for a clean slate. He might’ve messed up his rookie year with the Miami Piranhas, but being traded to the Condors is the best way to put all that behind him.
The Condors are rebuilding, too. New owner. New coach. New players. New rules.
But one rule hasn’t changed: don’t marry your ex-best friend in Vegas.
Beckett West isn't looking forward to seeing Micah again. Back in college, they shared not only a ride-or-die friendship, but a ton of sexual tension they never acted on.
That was before Micah pushed him away.
Still, Beck’s never forgotten their last drunken night together. Not only did they finally confess their feelings, they both promised if the day ever came when they played on the same team again, they wouldn't waste the chance to be together.
But Beck didn’t expect that day to ever be this day.
He certainly didn’t expect to wake up in bed with Micah’s ring on his finger.
Or that he’d never want to take it off.
But it turns out the only man for him is the one man he could never forget. The one man he’s always wanted to make his.
Available in #KindleUnlimited
“There you go.” Scott sounded smug. “So you’re gonna let yourself have this. You’ve made amends. You’ve apologized to Beck. You’re gonna be his friend.”
What if I want to be more than just his friend?
But Micah didn’t say it. He probably didn’t need to, the way Scott kept hinting that there might be something more between them.
“Listen, you’re a good friend, so just be that guy I know who’s under those ridiculous suits, and you’re gonna be just fine.”
“My suits aren’t ridiculous.”
They were extra not ridiculous, especially after he’d worn his new camel plaid suit the other day, on the way to Toronto, and he’d been far too aware of Beck’s eyes skimming over him when they’d been boarding the plane.
He looked good, he knew he looked good, and it had felt satisfying that Beck had been forced to acknowledge just how good.
Especially when he was still so caught on how Beck looked.
“Son, they’re ridiculous, but it’s alright. It’s your thing. I’m just glad you’re expressing yourself now.”
Scott didn’t have to say it bluntly because Micah already knew what he really meant: you’re not too afraid to express yourself anymore.
“So you’re gonna fix things, huh?” Scott continued.
“I apologized, yeah. And he said he wanted to be friends again.”
“What’re you gonna do about that?”
“Geez, Dad, ask an easier question,” Micah retorted.
Scott laughed. “And here Asa thinks our only kid is Beau.”
“You’ve got an entire team of kids,” Micah pointed out.
“Plus one more.” Scott’s voice was warm.
And while Micah had known he wouldn’t lose Scott’s friendship—or Asa’s respect—when he left Miami, it felt good to hear it, too.
Clearing his throat, Micah tried to change the subject. “What do you mean, what am I gonna do about it? We’re friends.”
“Friends spend time with each other, Micah. You gonna invite him over? Meet him out for a drink? How about what you’re gonna tell him? He’s going to want to know why you left Miami.”
“I don’t know. Some of those, I guess.” Micah could admit he hadn’t thought that far. He’d been pretty stuck on just getting the apology out—and hoping Beck listened to it.
“You should tell him.” Scott’s voice was knowing.
“About what happened with Sebastian? Hell no.”
He knew how he’d feel if Beck told him about some guy he’d been attracted to. Because it had happened more than once, and Micah had hated it every single time, even though he’d refused to do anything about it.
“You can’t just talk to me, no matter how much it warms my heart to know you don’t think I’m some old, washed-up, uncool dude,” Scott teased.
“Fine, fine, I’ll talk to him about some of it.” Not about Sebastian, and why we didn’t get along. That’s way too far.
“Invite him over for a beer,” Scott suggested, “and then when he’s there, get close on the couch—”
“Enough!” Micah yelped. He stood and started pacing. How had being just friends with Beck been so easy before and now felt impossible? “You’re supposed to be helping me be his friend.”
“Come on, Rose, we both know that’s not what you really want.”
“It’s all I’m gonna get.”
“It’s all you’re gonna get if you don’t make it clear you’re crazy about him.”
“Maybe I’m not.” He knew how stubborn he sounded.
Scott scoffed. “Don’t lie to me. Especially not when it’s so freaking obvious. You’re absolutely head over heels for that guy. Don’t do either of you the disservice of pretending otherwise.”
“He probably doesn’t—”
But Micah didn’t get the rest of it out.
“You’re never gonna know if you don’t say anything. But, that said,” Scott said with a chuckle, “maybe try to be friends for a little while first. Get used to each other again.”
“You keep calling me that like I’m gonna hate it, and so far, not so much,” Scott teased.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
This is book 2 in the Charleston Condors, The Star is book one. While I don't think it's strictly necessary that you read that book first, it will probably help you see what Beck was like, before Micah came back into his life. I gave that book 4 stars.
But this one?? I LOVED this book!
We don't get what happened to Beck and Micah a couple of years ago, but you get clues and hints in The Star. And I put those clues and hints together in the wrong way and was way off base.
What DID happen was heartbreaking for Beck, but for Micah too. But it takes time for Micah to tell Beck what happened fully, and it made me cry when he eventually gets it all out.
What I loved the most about this, was how forgiving Beck was, right at the start. Yes, Micah had hurt him and both men were still hurting from that but Beck could see Micah needed a FRIEND more than anything else. And offering Micah that olive branch was the best thing he ever did.
Loved the whole Vegas thing! Granted they were drunk but not so that they didn't know what they were doing. Granted they BOTH thought on waking that they did NOT want to undo what they did. It takes them time to settle into the husband thing but they really do love each other and want to make it work.
I found myself falling out with Beck's mum at one point, but given the outcome of that, she redeemed herself.
I said in my review for the Star that I really linked that there was very little drama. While the history of Beck and Micah is full of drama, once they get back together, there isn't much here either! And I'm loving that.
I also said in The Star that I didn't like the long descriptive passages about the football games. Now, whether it is because I knew they were coming, or not, I don't know, but I found them less difficult to read here. I'm still not a fan, (and will never be!) and I still didn't understand half of those passages, but I didn't find them as many or as difficult.
There were some characters that helped Micah while he and Beck were apart, I'd like to go back and read about Scott and Asa. And Carter (Beck and Micah's team mate) gets the next book. I'm really REALLY looking forward to reading his story. He's a character here, but I have a strong feeling it's all a freaking front and the man is falling apart underneath.
Beck and Micah really are perfect for each other, and I loved their story.
5 full and shiny stars
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book; the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She has published over forty novels and novellas.