Gavin Williams is having a bad month. He wakes up hungover, in pain, and not ready to face the sudden end of his hockey career. On the advice of his teammate, Carlos, Gavin limps down to the local coffee shop to try coffee as a hangover cure. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like coffee and he’s in a temper he doesn’t have a handle on. He immediately butts heads with Piper, the owner of the Friendly Bean, who is also having a bad day. It’s a spectacularly un-cute meet. Piper and Gavin loathe each other and are embarrassed by their own behavior. Which makes them dislike each other even more. So how do we get from Meet grumpy to HEA?
Carlos’ sister works at The Friendly Bean, and he wants to do some fundraising events with Gavin at the coffee shop. Piper likes Carlos, so she’s willing to tolerate Gavin. Gavin apologizes to Piper. As they get to know each other, they find they are attracted to each other, and decide to have a fling.
In Too Much Man, Davis explores identity and the expectations we set for ourselves. Piper is a queer woman – bi. Being queer and a part of the queer community is important to her. Being in a relationship with a straight cis man might lead others to assume she is straight and that makes her uncomfortable. Creating a queer friendly neighborhood coffee shop and being a part of the local queer community helped Piper heal from the sudden loss of her parents. For Gavin, his identity has ben tightly linked to hockey and Vancouver. An injury has ended his career, and while he was with a Philadelphia team, not the Vancouver team. He clings to his ideas of who he is to navigate this new territory. Neither is what the other wants for themselves long term.
I requested this from NetGalley largely because Anna Zabo said she had read an early partial draft and liked it. I love their books and if they say a writer is worth investigating, I will. Katy James has created a lovely, queer friendly, world in which to tell more stories. I’m interested to see how she will grow as a writer.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley and Carina Press. My opinions are my own.