Too Much Man

Carina. (Firebirds, Bk. 1). Dec. 2021. ebk. ISBN 9780369718891. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sparks fly between a retiring hockey player and a queer coffee shop owner in James’s “Firebirds” series launch. Still recovering from the knee injury that ended his decades-long hockey career, Gavin Williams is a grumpy, bitter man the first time he meets Piper Welborn, the owner of the Friendly Bean coffee shop. Bisexual Piper, who rebuilt her life around the local queer community after the death of her parents, has sworn off dating men, afraid that a boyfriend will alienate her from her community. When the two are forced to work together on a charity project, they discover their powerful chemistry, and embark on an intense fling before Gavin’s planned return to his home city of Vancouver for a post-retirement job. The two protagonists are united by exploring shared feelings of pain and loss, both physical and emotional, and the fear of taking a step onto a new path. The book also excels at thinking through how questions of public and private identity shape a relationship.
VERDICT Perfect for readers searching for nuanced bisexual representation in a sports romance.
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