The Endgame | Riley Hart

The Endgame by Riley Hart published 20th April 2021
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When I left home, I swore I’d never hide anything about myself again. From college, to law school, to the United States Senate representing California, I’ve done it all as an out gay man. So, when I’m in DC and see a beautiful guy at the hotel bar, I don’t hesitate to proposition him…right before he runs out on me, leaving his sunglasses behind like my very own Cinderfella.

I’ve always known I’m gay, but never acted on it. Pretending isn’t easy, but it means I can keep playing football. No one has ever guessed my secret until the gorgeous man at a bar in DC. At least he doesn’t know who I am–the best tight end in the NFL, playing for the Atlanta Lightning. Though my identity doesn’t stay a secret from him for long.

Between texts and late-night phone calls, we get to know each other. West’s the only person who knows all the parts of me, just like I know his. When he asks for one night together so he can show me what it’s like to be with a man, I can’t say no. But once isn’t enough, and we keep sneaking around together–brief encounters, in California, Georgia, or DC, filled with passionate touches and whispered truths.

I never thought I’d have love. West never thought he’d want it. Now we’re all in with each other, but he still has time left in his Senate term. I have contract obligations to fulfill, and I’m closeted. We don’t even live in the same state. The odds are stacked against us, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s how to win. He’s the endgame in the biggest challenge of my life, the one I’m banking my future happiness on.

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How was it?

I don’t know what it is about sport romances but when they’re well written it’s very hard for me to put them down. I devoured this book in two days – because yes I was stupid enough to start it in the middle of the night, I lost sleep reading this.

This book started well but I almost lost hope when it looked like Anson, our very closeted main character, turned out to be a 26 year-old virgin. That almost put me off – I don’t have time for that – but then we met, Elias, his brother and Anson’s circumstances made a little more sense to me. Anson is a top NFL star, who knows he’s gay, so not in denial per say but someone who choses to hide by focusing on his career instead; with the occasional hetero performance to avoid phobes and make some coin. While Weston is an out and proud senator who vowed not to shrink himself for other people’s comfort.

The characters in this book, secondary ones included, are very grounded so it makes the emotionally charged moments very intense. It’s a treat. The author rides that edges where she’s making a point about how our society perceive and react to queer athletes while telling a compelling love story. You’d think that a story about a deeply closeted football player would’ve been overcharged with angst and self-hatred but it’s not. It deals with the reality of Anson and Weston’s relationship given who they are in the world without overdoing it.

The passion, the heat, some the push and pull is there but it’s earned. It’s not instalove nor a story of the endless pining for something these characters are afraid to have. I loved the pace and the evolution of their relationship. The ending speed things up a bit by letting us somewhat fill in the blanks because to me this book was more about the f’d up situation these two gay men still have to navigate because of society and their job.

The Endgame is a treat, I enjoyed throughout and recommend it to any sport romance fans.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Endgame by Riley Hart is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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