Title: Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino
Theta Alpha Gamma Series Book Two
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 120 pages/30,000 words
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Hypothetical love can be a real pain in the ass.
Paul’s been called many things—graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke—but “forgiving” isn’t one of them. When the new women’s softball coach at Calapooya College specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul’s forced to put aside his strict “no athletes” policy for the sake of his paycheck.
Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul’s high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one—the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor’s come out and retired from baseball, and now he’s looking for forgiveness and a second chance.
There’s no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn’t sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.
I was super excited to read Love, Hypothetically the second installment in the Theta Alpha Gamma series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and I was eager to see how Anne Tenino would redeem Paul. His behavior was pretty appalling in Frat Boy and Toppy and I was not sure if there was any hope for him. But I am thrilled to say that Ms. Tenino does an outstanding job revealing what shaped him into the man he is today.
Paul is full of snarky, sarcastic comments and his viewpoint of the people around him reflects his bitterness toward, well most everyone, but jocks in particular. In Frat boy and Toppy this animosity toward Brad, his now ex-roommate Sebastian’s boyfriend, results in the destruction of their friendship. What no one knows is why Paul is so standoffish and rude. And that is because Paul holds everyone at arms’ length, never confiding in anyone. Well, that is until his ex-boyfriend Trevor Gardiner reappears in his life and turns his perfectly imperfect world upside down.
Trevor is an ex-Major League Baseball player who came out of the closet when he gave up his career. Now the coach of the women’s college volleyball team where Paul is a student and tutor, he is hoping Paul will forgive him for betraying him in high school. Trevor is likable, genuinely sorry for his actions and much to Paul’s delight, he is showing a few signs of aging. Both men are intensely attracted to one another and there are still strong emotions that pull them together. But, Trevor quickly discovers, it is going to take some serious groveling on his part to earn Paul’s forgiveness.
But for Paul, forgiveness does not come easily. He has a difficult time facing his feelings and he finds it virtually impossible to open up. But through a hypothetical conversation with his only remaining friend, Toby, Paul is able to recognize and verbalize his emotions about what happened between him and Trevor. Unfortunately, it does not stop him from continuing to behave like a total jerk to Trevor, but it is a beginning for him.
After a nice romantic day and some really hot sex, Paul has a major melt down in front of Trevor and he says some pretty harsh things to him. Of course he immediately feels horrible about it, but he does not know how to fix it. Once again, Toby rescues our poor hapless protagonist. And Paul finally realizes it is time for him to make amends for some of his past mistakes. With a little gentle prodding from Toby, Paul goes to Brad and Sebastian to apologize for his horrible treatment of Brad. It is during this discussion that everything fully falls into place for Paul. Now he just has to face Trevor…
While Paul finds some much needed self-awareness, he is does not undergo a huge transformation to Mr. Nice Guy. His rough edges get some much needed polishing but the biting sarcasm and caustic sense of humor that makes him stand out stays firmly in place. He evolves emotionally and he is much more mature by the end of the story.
Deliciously funny, flawed but realistic characters and some seriously hot sex are a winning combination in Love, Hypothetically. A fabulous second chance at love romance that is engaging and fast-paced that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a well-written character driven story. I am very much looking forward to Anne Tenino’s next installment in this light-hearted and fun series.
Read my review of Frat Boy and Toppy HERE.