Author: Vanessa North
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 130 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.
Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.
Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.
Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.
Review: This is my first Vanessa North novel, and I would definitely read another. Double Up is a refreshing change from the storylines I am use to reading.
This story takes place in Florida where a good looking architect, Dave, stops by a board shop looking for a coach, Ben, to teach him how to wakeboard, in a few weeks, so he can compete in the annual Double-Up contest. Once Dave came out to his mother and stepdad as a teenager, he was kicked out and unable to stay close with his younger half-brother, Ridley. Ridley is now a thirteen-year-old wakeboard phenom. Dave believes his only way to spend time with Ridley is through wakeboarding, so he invests time, money, and energy in doing the impossible: compete in the Double-Up.
Ben, a once professional wakeboard champion, is now manager of his best friend Eddie’s board shop. He was injured years ago and fights demons that continue to plague him from the past. He is portrayed as washed up at first, but as the story continues, he becomes one of my favorite characters in the book. Ben has a huge heart and is a loyal friend to all and their pets. He sits in judgment of no one except himself. His relationship with Dave helps him to shed his self-loathing attitude, until he meets an unexpected hurdle.
Dave, smart, talented and good looking, is looking for what everyone wants: love, companionship, friendship and family. Ben fills all those holes until Ben’s past demons bleed into the present and could affect their future.
This book takes you on a journey of love, heartache and possible heartbreak. The characters are forced to deal with their biggest fears and demons without destroying their new found love. There were several characters I fell in love with in this book. Of course, the first was Ben, he was my favorite. I loved the way he loved. It was unconditional, and he put everyone’s life and feelings ahead of his own (which almost bit him in the butt). Next was Eddie, owner of the shop, flaming queen, wealthy man, ex-lover of Ben and still best friend to him. His character was hilarious and his friendship to Ben was beautiful. Tina, transgendered ex-wakeboard professional who used to be on the circuit with Ben and her dog, was another favorite in the story. (I wish the author had given more of Tina’s backstory. The little that was described seemed like its own possible book). Amber (bisexual Double-up queen) was cute, and I would love to see a book develop with Tina and Amber. Dave grew on me as the book progressed, but I tend to fall for the underdog, so Ben took the prize.
The book was written from Ben’s POV, and at times, the conversations were a little disjointed. Ben would make statements, then the author would switch to what was going on in his mind, then back to a conversation he was having with another character. It took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the author’s writing, but once that happened, I really enjoyed the book. It is a sweet love story with great characters that you will love. Enjoy!
You can buy Double Up here: