Deke, by Eden Finley

Goodreads. Amazon UK. Amazon.

I’ve been pretty stressed lately, and that’s part of why I’ve started this blog. It’s not like I’m using it to articulate any profound insights about life, or about stress, but I’m definitely someone who likes an outlet and who likes to write. (And, lo, a blogger.)

Another thing I like to do when I’m stressed is to read. I have to read a lot of fact for my job and, sometimes, it’s fun to lose myself in fiction. No, they’re not all award-winners but sometimes they’re exactly what the doctor ordered. Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy reading anything from regency romances to sci-fi.

My friend linked me to this book on Goodreads, having been given it by another friend and it seemed like precisely the sort of book I could do with reading this week.

Deke, by Eden Finley, is the final book in the Fake Boyfriend trio (I haven’t read the first two) and it’s about Ollie Strömberg, a professional hockey player, who inadvertently comes out in a restaurant bathroom, to a man who gamefully agrees to be his fake date for dinner that evening. It subsequently emerges that Ollie’s saviour, Clark, is in fact a sports reporter , Lennon Hawkins. Naturally, a few months down the line they encounter each other in their day jobs.

The book is written in the first person, in alternating POVs. I was pretty concerned when I read the author’s disclaimer at the start, stating that she didn’t really know anything about hockey but, fortunately, the hockey is largely hand-waved and it’s easy enough to move past the fake team names. The sex is fairly explicit but not gratuitous; intimate moments happen at the right emotional beats in the story.

Overall, it’s an entertaining enough story but why am I blogging about it?

Well, homophobia in sports is more prevalent than anyone likes to admit. Hockey romance isn’t a very large genre, and gay hockey romance is even more niche. What I’ve read in the past hasn’t been very satisfactory in how it deals with homophobia. What I enjoyed about this story was that, though Ollie was very comfortable in his sexuality, it is made very clear why he chooses not to come out. This isn’t a case of him not being true to himself. It’s all about the environment in which he works – and in which Lennon works, too, and the expectation that a gay man might be more comfortable covering something other than sports.

It’s a short read, that can stand alone, and if you like your fluffy gay romance with a shot of substance, this may be for you.

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