#NewRelease — Relay (Changing Lanes #1) Layla Reyne

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.

Review

Relay, Layla Reyne's first book in her Changing Lane's series, brings enemies-to-lovers Alex and Dane back together after ten years training for the US Olympics. 

Alex, the team captain, has a lot of hostility and festering anger over Dane's abrupt departure from his life when they were sixteen. Now, at twenty-six, he doesn't expect anything to be different with Dane who still lives at home and answers to his parent's every demand.

He's the poster boy for the media with his easy smile and big sponsors and Alex who lives openly and proudly with his sexuality has no room for the closeted and cowardly Dane. 

Dane knows he's a coward but he also fell in love with Alex a decade ago and even though he can't admit it to anyone, especially his parents, he wants to prove to Alex he can be a team player and not let him down, or Alex...again. 

Relay did not pull me in as strongly as the author's last series—Agents Irish and Whiskey. I had a hard time believing men, specifically Dane, would act as childish and unsure of themselves at twenty-six. He's highly intelligent—as he proves eventually with his computer skills—but he doesn't seem to understand how to use his own knowledge.

There's a lot of conflict between the players and Dane's parents leaving very little time for Dane and Alex to rebuild their relationship. Instead of the slow-build, intense, sexually driven chemistry I was looking forward too, I feel like Relay skipped it. They definitely go from enemies to lovers, but romance plays a backseat to the rest of the challenges these two face together and as a team. 

Overall, I like, both, these strong swimmers, however, I would loved to have seen Dane make choices for himself instead of for Alex and then take some time to find himself and grow up. He's still doing things for other people and not himself. The editing is not as tight as it should be (Alex instead of Dane) and I had trouble with Dane's backstory. Too many gaps and/or holes for me to get a clear picture of who Dane really is underneath his facade.

This is the first book with Medley coming this Spring so maybe we will see more growth, better decisions, and the full picture. 

 

* I was gifted my copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank-you *

 

Meet the Author

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.