Calling Your Bluff by Saxon James
This is another buff-athlete-meets-slightly-nerdy-guy romance. I do love that trope. 🙂 It’s a fotball player (the American kind) – Cooper Zane – who meets a teacher – Liam – who also happens to be the ex of Zane’s best friend. Bro code dictates that Liam is off limits to Zane, but even if he wasn’t, Liam won’t date another athlete. He’s looking for a forever guy, and that does not entail being forced back in the closet in order to not damage his partner’s career.
Calling Your Bluff is a sweet and very well written romance, no question. It’s the third installment in the Love’s a gamble series, and I really enjoyed reading Cooper Zane’s story. Both Zane and the other MC, Liam, was introduced in the first book, Bet On Me, and it was great finally getting their happily ever after.
There’s so much to like about this book. The characters are great, instantly likable. The dynamics between Zane and Liam is awesome. And their growing friendship that evolves alongside their increasing attraction feels entirely real. It’s simply a delightful read.
That being said, I’m still a bit on the fence about Calling Your Bluff.
It was totally sweet. Zane’s hilarious and I adore books that can combine humor with emotion. But I also felt that the story was missing something. It took me a while to figure out what it was, but now I know. I was missing a plot.
Sure, it’s a lovestory. The back and forth between Zane and Liam is the main attraction, as it should be, but there was no real drama anywhere. No bad guy lurking in the shadows, no bigotry threatening to destroy Zane’s and Liam’s chance at happiness. It was all so very normal. Two guys, falling for each other while fighting to overcome their own insecurities and doubts. So, basic relationship stuff. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but it makes Calling Your Bluff pretty different from Bet On Me which was super intense in parts.
The lower pace in turn enabled me to notice some inconsistencies. I couldn’t piece together the time-frame. At first, Liam broke up with Taryn only a year earlier. They were together for years and living together. But later in the book, Liam has a shed in his yard where he’s collected stuff for so many years he’s forgotten what’s in there. Then there’s his apartment. It is an apartment, but at one point he refers to it as a house.
In conclusion, it wasn’t a perfect fit for me. I loved some parts of it, but it wasn’t quite enough to hold my interest completely. The lack of some serious dramatics made the overall impression too sweet for my tastes. The shagging was super hot though.
I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).