Just Before Sunrise, as the fog lifts from the pool, the light reveals the tapered backs of male swimmers in Speedos concluding their morning workout.
Nicky O’Hare, a promising freshman recruited to the Tampa Bay University swim team, shows promise both in and out of the pool. The lean Irish kid with the ‘boy-next-door’ good looks from Brandy, South Dakota, is likely the most talented swimmer on the team. Ready to experience all that college life has to offer, Nicky has even put finding a boyfriend on his wish list.
Coach Phillip Silva, a former Olympic swimmer with a once-impressive swimming career, has recruited Nicky as part of his mission to rebuild the University’s failing swim program. Focused on the upcoming season, Phillip’s real challenge will be keeping his secrets and demons submerged below the surface.
All seems well until one night when Nicky and Phillip end up at the same Fourth of July celebration. With fireworks in the sky, the hot and humid night reveals the attraction between the two. But can these boundaries be crossed? Suddenly forced to reevaluate his life, Phillip is met with the moral dilemma of discovering true love with the University’s rising star.
Before Sunrise presents a story of friendships, love, complicated relationships, and deception, woven into a hard-earned happily-ever-after.
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Coming of Age, First Time, Forbidden Love, May/December, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 1149000
Languages Available: English
Cora R on Amazon wrote:
The romance in this story is sweet. The moral dilemmas, however, are harsh and address touchy subjects that often get in the way of romance, friendship or goals.
Before Sunrise is the story of a young man’s college years as he progresses in his goal to swimming at the highest competitive level, earning a degree, finding love and figuring out exactly what he wants in life. Nicky is an extremely talented swimmer, and his college coach recognized that from the time he first saw Nicky swim. Nicky wanted something else from Coach Philip from the moment he met him. And thus begins a tale of making adult decisions.
When we first meet Nicky, he already is a mature young man at 18, who knows who he is and what he wants. Or thinks he does. His parents have given him a loving and somewhat sheltered life growing up. Nicky respects and loves them and wants to make them proud. As he spends more time away from them, Nicky begins to form his own judgments of right and wrong.
Philip is a broken man who hides his scars, physical and mental. In order to be more than a swim coach for Nicky, Philip has some hard decisions to make, decisions that may ultimately take him away from Nicky.
The secondary characters, Nicky’s friends and Philip’s co-workers, play major roles in the story. Mr. Clark does a masterful job of developing all of the characters in this story so they play out their parts in this drama in such a way that you will become very invested in them. Tyler, the teammate whose life before college surprises everyone; JB, fighting to stay out of the 'hood and become the man he wants to be; Conner, raised with so much hate; other teammates and coaches who have their own personalities and agendas that clash instead of bond.
This is an excellent book, full of surprises and romance that is harder to earn than any athletic award. I highly recommend Before Sunrise as a great read and Bryan T. Clark as a master storyteller. Don’t let the blurb’s warning about an “unexpected ending” worry you. Sometimes life's unanticipated events lead to the greatest happiness ever after.
S. Humphreys on Amazon wrote:
Nicky O’Hare’s only goal is to have the best swim times to impress his new Coach Phillip Silva. He has to learn to maneuver himself in this new world of gay and straight young men at his new school and swim team at Tampa Bay. Some poor choices, naiveté and youthful self doubt complicate his life as he gets increasingly more serious about Phillip. We watch his growth and increased confidence about himself build as he finds his place in this sometimes confusing competitive world. Does his coach feel anything for him, or is this just another youthful fantasy? And what could possibly come of it?
A sweet M/M romance that wriggles its way into your heart, gay or straight—after all love is universal.
Ososmom on Amazon wrote:
This M/M romance follows several characters: a college swim coach and members of his swim team. The sex isn't graphic, but there's lots of romance. The book explores its secondary characters to a greater depth than I expected, and I liked seeing the very different personalities interacting. The last third of the book a lot happens, and my appreciation for the story grew. Several characters have big reveals and/or transformations, and they surprised me. Clark went deeper into the characters than I expected, and brought an unexpected dimension to the story.
Touching story of forbidden love and discovery. Great characters. Heartfelt story.