Title: The Blueprint
Author: S.E. Harmon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 13th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 270 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.
NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.
When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.
It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.
Let me begin with what I liked about the story: I loved the humor, the banter, and the snark.
I checked under the throw pillows and between the couch cushions, and she scowled. “What’re you looking for?”
“Someone who gives a rat’s ass about your opinion.”
I should’ve known he was lying to me. Mostly because Bel Biv Devoe had it right—never trust a big butt and a smile.
I loved Blue’s friend Ivanovich, Kelly’s family, and Kelly’s friend Connor (and really hope he gets a happy ending some day). The supporting characters here were really well done and fleshed out and wonderful on their own.
“How long have you been in love with him?” Connor asked.
I finally shrugged. “It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t.”
“Messy road, that is.” He took a sip of his drink. “Or do you really believe in that gay-for-you nonsense?”
I worked my jaw. That’s exactly what it was. Nonsense. Despite that, I found myself asking, “You don’t think someone can… turn?”
“Sure. Into vampires, zombies, and the like”—his mouth kicked up on one side—“which is just about as likely.”
“Fuck. Forget I even said that.” I sighed. I was a little embarrassed to even voice the thought. I was a walking, talking cliché—the gay man secretly pining for his straight best friend. Ugh.
I liked that the story is told from both Kelly and Blue’s POV. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to explain why I didn’t like the story as a whole. It’s a bit slow-paced at times without actually being a slow burn, and the friends to lovers aspect didn’t really work for me here, mostly because of the almost schizophrenic changes in attitude that Blue kept having.
I wasn’t gay or bisexual. It was just that simple.
I’ll admit that Kelly and Blue’s whole will-they-won’t-they simmering tension was real, folks – and it kept pulling me back in.
“You don’t get to play with me, Blue.” I wiped a hand over my mouth as though I could erase his taste from my lips, from my mind. I stabbed a finger in his direction. I was strong, and I was resolved, shaking finger be damned. “You don’t get to play with my feelings.”
And because of the dual POV I could see where both Kelly and Blue coming from, but even though Kelly occasionally stood up for himself, it made me sad more than hopeful that the one thing he couldn’t get away from was the one thing that was destroying him, because Blue kept pulling him back in like a tractor beam.
“You’re afraid if you lose me, you’re going to lose your family, and that’s just not true.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with this.”
“Doesn’t it?” We stared at one another and had an entire angry conversation with eyes alone. “You tell me that you were feeling it the way I was feeling it, and I’ll let this whole thing go. Just tell me that.”
I could see the misery in his eyes as he swallowed. “I’m not willing to lose you over this. If this is what we have to do to make it work, then that’s fine by me. I can deal.”
“You can deal.” I laughed, and the sound was so bitter that we both winced. “I’m glad you can fucking deal with me wanting you.”
“You’re being so fucking dramatic. It’s sex. Just sex.”
I found it hard to follow along with how often Blue changes his tune…
When he finally spoke, his voice was so quiet I could barely hear him. “I’m in the NFL. You know how people are. That would be making a statement that I’ll never be willing to make.”
So even though they get together, they keep breaking apart…
Part of me thinks I could fall in love with you. The other part of me knows I already have.
Which brings me to the part I hated the most and colors the way I feel about the rest of the story – the tentative “Happy For Now” ending.
The entire book is a will-they-won’t-they kind of story, so at the very end when you get that tentative HFN ending, I didn’t trust it because the entire book is Blue making an advance toward a relationship or physicality with Kelly and then immediately retreating.
It’s frustrating because good points are made along the way about why this won’t work in the long run, and things that will inhibit the relationship from working, and then the ending is so abrupt that it doesn’t give the reader an indication about whether those details actually come into play, or whether they were inflated because of fear, or founded but possibly easily overcome.
An epilogue would have gone a long, long way in assuaging those concerns – but there’s no epilogue.
I wanted to know about Blue’s father’s reaction. I wanted the reactions of the coaching staff and players. I wanted the reaction of Kelly’s family (which probably would have been hysterically funny). I wanted to know how Kelly’s department head and school handled the media storm that was going to hit. I wanted to know how their relationship plays out, and I didn’t get that, and it just made me very angry initially, and quite disappointed after I’d had some time to think about it.
So I liked parts of it, but for those reasons, on the whole, this was a miss for me.