Series: Changing Lanes: Book Two
Author: Layla Reyne
Length: 180 Pages
At a Glance: Medley was good but the constant drama, much of which felt over the top or unneeded, kept it from being as good as Relay for me.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.
Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.
When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.
Review: I absolutely loved Relay, the first book in Layla Reyne’s Changing Lanes duology (at least I think it’s only meant to be two books). Alex and Dane were amazing, but I also loved the side characters, including Sebastian and Jacob, whose stories get told in Reyne’s newest novel, Medley. In this book we finally get to the Olympics and get to see the outcome of the much-anticipated medley relay. There is a bit of an overlap in the timelines of the two books, but most of Medley takes place in Vienna, at the training center, and then in Madrid, at the Games. It was cool seeing a couple of the events that took place in Relay retold here, either in more detail or from another viewpoint; I liked how Reyne structured the story, and kept the buildup going that she began in the first book.
Sebastian has been tasked with watching over Team USA’s nineteen-year-old rookie sensation, Jacob Burrows. We find out very early on in the story that the guys are attracted to each other (we actually saw it coming in the first book), but Bas has drawn a line in the sand as far as any fooling around with Jacob, AKA Pup, goes. We also find out very quickly that Bas is rubbish at both consistently sticking to his plan to stay away from Jacob, and at communicating. The reason for his wanting to back off is simple, albeit misguided…He’s tormented by his dramatics at the last Olympics and his belief that he cost his team the gold medal in the medley relay because of all the distraction his nonsense caused. But, beyond that, he is also convinced that he’s incapable of having a relationship, that he’s destined to just leave and hurt people, because that’s what his dad did to him and his mom, and what he did to his ex, Julio, four years ago. He’s certain that if he lets things happen with Jacob, he’ll end up hurting him.
All Jacob has ever wanted is to swim for Team USA at the Olympics, and his dream is finally coming true. Also a dream come true is hanging out with Sebastian Stewart, one of his longtime idols and current crush. Jacob is Mr. Fix It. Always trying to make things right for everyone, and always putting everyone else’s needs above his own. Jacob never asks for what he needs, because the last time he tried, when he was thirteen and he asked his mom to stay, it didn’t work out for him. So, he’s pretty much given up on ever trying to put himself first—which Sebastian immediately notices. Though Jacob wants Bas desperately, he thinks he’s not worthy of him, that he’s pathetic, awkward, and dorky. In my opinion, however, it’s Bas who isn’t worthy of Jacob.
I was reeeeaaaaally bothered by the way Bas treated Jacob in this book. His inconsistency and hot and cold treatment of Jacob did nothing to help change Jacob’s viewpoint of himself. In fact, Jacob is so confused and hurt by the way Bas is acting—hooking up with him one minute, totally pushing him away the next—he’s second guessing everything about himself, and his performance in the pool starts suffering. As if the overwhelming activity and chaos of his first Olympic Games isn’t enough, now poor Jacob is also dealing with confusion and heartache caused by the person who’s supposed to have his back. And the fact that Bas is in a position of power over Jacob, being older, more experienced, and his mentor, made his actions that much more bothersome. Also, it drives me absolutely crazy when one guy decides what the other guy needs. Bas has decided that he’s no good for Jacob and is making alllll of the decisions about how things are gonna go down between them, completely taking away Jacob’s autonomy. Bas thinks he’s protecting Jacob by pushing him away, but he’s actually only confusing him and messing things up more.
Alex and Dane each try to step in and help, both individually and collectively, and do their best at trying to get Bas and Jacob to talk to each other. It was great seeing those two so happy; I loved that they had such a good-sized cameo. I was also really happy to see a bit of Bas’s mom, who’s a total badass, and get some other cute moments from Coach Hartl. And, I really, really liked Jacob’s cousin Josh, who I wish we would have seen more of. Jacob could have really used some support at different times in the story; it might have been nice to see a convo or two between him and his cousin.
Medley was good. I loved the characters and was SO happy to see Team USA’s performance in the Games! But the constant drama, much of which felt over the top or unneeded, kept it from being as good as Relay for me.
You can buy Medley here:
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