Title: Diving In
Author: Bru Baker
Length: 13,106 words (50 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Being the pool boy makes it easy for Max Jansen to ogle his long-time crush, water polo player Everett Caldwell. Never mind the fact that Max owns the company and is overqualified for the task of monitoring chlorine and cleaning skimmers. He’s just happy to watch his unattainable dream play—until one day Everett invites him over and suddenly Max is his platonic plus-one for everything from movie nights to racy industry parties. Then Max learns the one-time Olympian isn’t as straight as everyone assumes, and he isn’t sure how long he can hold out before his crush grows much deeper.
I haven’t read very many of the Daily Dose stories, yet, but I found the length of this one much more rewarding than some of the super-short stories that I did read. It gave a lot more latitude for the relationship to develop rather than just be a set-up to a relationship.
Max runs a successful family pool business, but insists on remaining the pool boy at the estate of a straight porn mogul, only so that he can watch the man’s son and his water polo team practice. One day he discovers that the pool needs some chemicals, but because practice is just starting he promised to come back in the evening to take care of it. To his surprise Everett has dinner waiting for him and invites him to attend the birthday party of his father’s current girlfriend (who likes ponies, Popsicles and pools *snort*). He also tells Max that he’s gay which shocks Max, putting an out of reach crush into close territory.
At the party, to avoid the crush of women hoping to score with the mogul’s son, they fake a threesome with another woman who works behind the camera and sneak off to watch movies. Soon the three are spending a lot of time together, and Everett seems to be using his relationship with Max to ease into being fully out to the world, which sits a bit wrong with Max, who doesn’t want to be used as a method to ease Everett into openly being gay.
I quite enjoyed the relationship between Max, Everett and Nikki. She was a good friend, one of the boys, and there was no jealousy, but she would take Max out drinking, they shared hotel rooms, they were just best friends. Given that Max always felt like a geek, it was nice to see him finding really fast friends. Because of the length of the book it gave time to see Max and Everett grow closer and besides Nikki, Everett was also a bit snarky, but confident in himself, even while mostly hiding his sexuality from his father’s business interests. It was also interesting to see a gay man who’s a photographer for straight porn. A career that doesn’t usually come up.
So I really enjoyed this one. It wasn’t overly angsty, but was nicely paced and I enjoyed the touches of humour such as the guys trying to work the gauntlet of potential starlets. Definitely one I would recommend.