Title: The New Next One
Author: Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood
Publisher: Wainscott Press
Release Date: January 22, 2021
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Length: 20,000 words
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Friends-to-lovers, new adult romance, hockey romance, sports romance
How much are you willing to give up for the man you love?
Best friends Nick Johnson and Tyler Jensen seem to have the world by the tail. The eighteen-year-old stars of their school’s hockey team are looking forward to playing in college and hoping for careers with the pros.
Nick and Tyler know a lot about each other, but there are a few important details they haven’t discussed. To start with, neither man knows the other is gay. Making things interesting, Nick has a massive crush on Tyler, something he’s kept to himself for a long time. And although he’s never said a word about it, Tyler has wanted to date Nick since they met.
On a cold Minnesota night after a big win, Tyler finds the courage to confess his feelings to Nick. When Nick admits his attraction to Tyler, their relationship turns on a dime. As they fall in love, they skate around the challenges of a secret romance in an all-male boarding school, but what will happen when the stakes rise dramatically in a sport not known for being gay-friendly? Will Nick and Tyler make the easy choice or the hard one?
The New Next One is a 20,000-word, new adult, friends-to-lovers romance featuring young athletes, plenty of steam, and a lot of emotion. The events of this book precede those told in the authors’ book Nice Catching You.
The two of us bundled up and walked south along the lakeshore. We talked about different things—school, what was going on in the NHL, and the big celebration of our championship that would happen the next week when everyone was back on campus. Ty reached for my hand after we passed the cabin. Even with both of us wearing mittens, it felt incredibly good to be out walking on a beautiful day, openly showing affection with my boyfriend. By the time you’re eighteen, holding hands with somebody you’re dating probably doesn’t seem exciting to most people; for me, it was huge, and I wanted to shout out loud. Instead, I pulled us to a stop and kissed him.
Afterward, he tweaked my nose. “I know everybody we play against thinks you’re a real bastard, but you’re actually a sweetheart.”
I gave it right back to him. “They all think you’re a bastard too. Haven’t decided where I stand on that.”
“What do you mean?” He turned his head to the side, looking very cute with tufts of hair sticking out from under his Penguins beanie. “I’ve always been nice to you.”
“I guess so.” I gave him another peck. “Why’d you make me wait all these years?”
I made you wait? Hell, I’m the one who finally worked up enough courage to do something about it.”
Turning him loose, I backhanded his arm and made a silly face. “I guess I’m glad about that.”
His jaw fell into an open-mouthed smile, and he shook his head. “Every man for himself, Johnson!”
He took off running, and I laughed hard as he bent over to pick up a fistful of snow. Quickly shaping it into a ball, he threw it at me and missed by a mile.
“You throw like a girl, Jensie!” I followed that up with a snowball of my own, hitting him in the middle of the chest.
“That’s it, you’re really gonna get it now!”
An epic snowball fight followed as we whooped and hollered, tossing chirps back and forth almost as fast as we volleyed snowballs. We worked our way into the woods as we ran. Ty was a good shot, and we played like little boys on recess after a hard morning at school. When we were both covered with snow and out of breath, Tyler stared at me until my heart raced with anticipation. Finally, he broke into a run. His hug was bone-crushing, and the hungry kisses were messy and delicious. The moment was all fire and promise, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorm. He pulled away from my mouth and mumbled, “You’re the most beautiful thing I ever saw, Nick.”
I huffed in cold air while my heart tried to hammer through my ribcage. “Not as beautiful as you.” I pulled him closer for a slow, deep kiss, and when that finally broke, he got a naughty gleam in his eye.
“We’re already covered with snow, so—” He pushed hard, and I tumbled backward into a snowbank. He jumped on top of me, and we wrestled around, making out while we laughed and played. My scarf slipped out of place, and Ty kissed my throat over and over, making me as hard as one of the trees surrounding us. After more rolling around, I was on top, and we lay humping in the snow. We had on heavy parkas, and it was too cold to take off any clothes, so our game was destined to end in frustration. All the better for a mind-blowing first time later that night.
We’d long since removed our mittens, and when we stilled, I wiped some snow off his cheek. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never felt this way before.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Nick. Everything’s right for once. We’ve got each other.”