Reviewed by Caroline
SERIES: Changing Lanes Book 1
AUTHOR: Layla Reyne
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 237 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2018
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.
Relay was a story that I really struggled with to begin with. There is so much in the blurb that should have made this a certain winner for me – sports, second chance love, enemy to lover storyline and then a good dose of angst towards the end with the allegations and parental problems – but the reality was that for the first part of the book at least Dane and Alex were not at all likeable, had anger issues with each other and generally behaved like spoiled teens. They weren’t teens though they were adults and their behaviour to each other and their teammates was at best poor.
Once they got past their macho posturing I actually quite enjoyed the story and even warmed up to Dane and Alex. If you are looking for a story based around a sports theme then this isn’t it as they spend very little time in the pool – it’s all about the relationship and the drama that goes alongside it. Dane and Alex had spent a summer together a decade earlier and fell in love but Dane walked away from Alex to become a sort of robotic celebrity who was deeply manipulated by his parents. His parents proved extremely frustrating and were another element of the story that I disliked – they really brought out strong emotions in me whilst I was reading so kudos to the author for that one even though the emotions weren’t positive!
The HEA is made possible by Dane having magic hacking fingers when Alex needs them most. There are some pretty serious allegations being made towards the end of the story and they are resolved rather easily and very quickly but in amongst the drama Dane finally grows a backbone and stands up to the two people who have been pulling his strings like a puppet all his life.
Even though certain aspects of Relay didn’t work for me I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book in the series.