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Collide - Riley Hart Rating: 3.5 stars

"Twenty years ago you collided with me over that damn football, and my life was never the same."

Up to this point in my reading career, I have never read a gay-for-you story involving two childhood best friends. It was a refreshing spin to the GFY theme I love so much. The author hit on all the right nuances of childhood best friends. Basically, Cooper and Noah were inseparable best friends at the age of 10. For three years, these guys lived for one another, until their lives were forced apart in a sudden flurry of confusion and unexpectedness.

It takes 17 years before these two bodies collide. This time, the gravity of their emotions will prevent them from leaving each other.

What I really enjoyed was the pacing. Cooper and Noah meet right away, and by 30% into the story, they begin to enter a new level of intimacy. Everything is new to Cooper, who finds his attraction to Noah a little disturbing. But that's okay for him, because it's...well, Noah. Noah, his best friend from childhood. The only person he could talk to about his guilt over his parents' death.

People may roll their eyes at this kind of logic. And say it's not realistic (for fiction, anyways). But anyone who has a childhood best friend knows that there is a level of intimacy that defies logic. (I've been told many times that I treat my best friend since the second grade differently from my other friends; I roll my eyes at them and say, "Well, it's Tyler" like that explained everything. No one gets it apparently. *eye rolls*).

What I came to appreciate very much was Cooper's honesty with himself. Even the whole "am I gay even though I only love one guy?" scenario didn't take up as much word count as I expected, which was nice. Not saying there wasn't some of that internal debate going on, but it was relatively painless. Noah was also a relatively likeable character. Unfortunately, his character didn't feel as fleshed out as Cooper. Or maybe compared to Cooper, Noah's problems didn't seem as important?

Asides from that, there were your usual scatter of cheesy dialogue (e.g. "You are my light") and proofreading mistakes. While there was conflict and even a predictably bad event that occurs towards the end of the story, I would label Collide as a mild read. It didn't push me very hard in either end of the emotional spectrum (asides "arouse" during the plentiful sex scenes).

But overall? I was glad to pick this book up. Riley Hart does a good job portraying a GFY story involving childhood best friends who collide in the best of ways. So if you're looking for something on the mild side with sexy characters with a dash of "childhood best friend"-nostalgia thrown into the mix, Collide is the perfect read. ;-)

P.S. I met my childhood (and still) best friend over a lunchable pizza. Not as exciting as Cooper and Noah, though. *sadface*