Title: Rush by Nyrae Dawn
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance, New Adult
Length: 272 pages/Word Count: 70,000 (approximate)
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
This new adult, male/male romance will capture the audience who fell in love with Nyrae Dawn’s Games Trilogy.
For the love of the game.
Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he’s desperately tried to put behind him.
Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can’t deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.
Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he’s a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.
Nyrae Dawn’s Rush is a soul-searching New Adult romance that is overflowing with angst, longing, lust and love. Alec Andrews and Brandon Chase’s teenage friendship turns to something much deeper but neither of them is ready to step out of the closet and Brandon breaks Alec’s heart when he severs off all ties with him. Eighteen months later, the two are reunited following an accident but the reasons for keeping their feelings a secret haven’t changed. They decide to give their relationship a chance, but is love enough to overcome their fear of coming out?
Alec and Brandon are characters from Ms. Dawn’s Games Trilogy but Rush easily stands on its own. Enough of the characters’ back story is provided so it is relatively easy to step into their story without having read the previous novels. If you haven’t read the series, the different relationships are a little convoluted at first but they get easier to follow as the story progresses.
There is never any doubt that Alec and Brandon love each other but both are struggling with revealing their sexuality. While Alec is almost ready to come out, he is afraid of his homophobic father’s reaction and unfortunately, these fears are justified. Brandon’s entire identity is wrapped up in his successful football career and he knows announcing he is gay could end any future he has in the NFL.
The two agree it is worth it to give their relationship a go, but with Brandon’s impending departure for training camp, their romance has a built-in expiration date-when Brandon leaves for training camp, their romance ends. They revel in the ordinariness of everyday togetherness and the freedom to explore their passion. Of course, all of this leads to them longing for a long term relationship, but they have to weigh their possible losses against what they stand to gain.
Rush is written in first person alternating between Alec and Brandon’s points of view. While this perspective shift is useful, Alec and Brandon’s voices are so similar it is easy to lose track of which character is narrating the current chapter. Their angst is realistic but it is rehashed so frequently throughout the story, it loses some of its significance. There is a lot of internal dialogue but it quickly becomes repetitive with the reader never learning anything new. While some of the plot is refreshingly unique, it is also somewhat predictable. The sex scenes are fairly tame but highly sensual.
Rush has all of the key ingredients for a spectacular novel: great characters, a relevant storyline and steamy sex scenes. Although it falls a bit flat in some of these areas, it is an engaging read with two protagonists that readers cannot help but root for. Nyrae Dawn does hit the mark with a pretty powerful message about the importance self-acceptance and that is something that can never be reiterated often enough for anyone, but especially for those struggling with their sexuality.