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.
Bryan T. Clark, author of Ancient House of Cards, has again masterfully crafted a romance where the fine line between right and wrong must be resolved for love to survive.
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.
B.D. Ross wrote:
I love May/December romances as you may all know by now. For those who don't, well, I do! There is just something about older man/younger man relationships that makes my heart thrum. I love how the maturity of one balances out that of the more insecure one. But with Before Sunrise, things are not what they seem.
Nicky O'Hare is the younger man. A freshman and new member of the college swim team, he is the stereotypical hesitant guy with a man crush on his handsome coach. There is nothing he wouldn't do for the man, he'd swim to win just to guarantee coach looks to him other than as a swimmer.
Coach Philip Silva has his eyes on young Nicky. He'd recruited him a year before and now that he was in the swim team, Nicky is proving to be a good choice. But it's not all platonic on his side. Never really looking for a relationship in his life before, he is confused with his growing feelings for the younger man. When Nicky and Philip finally get together for dinner, things went a little bit too fast for Philip's liking and puts a stop. The next day, well that's a different story.
On the sidelines are the members of the swim team. Their life stories seemingly unconnected to Nicky and Philip's. What their roles are soon become apparent. Good and bad, Nicky and Philip will realize who their friends really are, what they really mean to each other and a surprise realization that it is not the age that makes someone mature and responsible, it is the man.
This was a sweet, romantic read and I couldn't put it down despite my busy schedule life and dogs. Nicky and Phil's story pulls on the heartstrings and it doesn't take long before they guarantee your attention never leave them. Quite a different read from the author's first book, Ancient House Of Cards whose men are mentioned here. This has a lighter feel to it compared to the first book but it is just as engrossing and all encompassing. The drop in star is because of something left unresolved though I wonder if there is a follow up story. I doubt there is, but I do wish it.
A recommended good read.
Okay! I have to say right off that reading Before Sunrise took me right back to my youth and all the mystery, excitement and curiosity of budding sexuality and of being attracted to other guys. I was a swimmer all through high school and I was discovering my own sexuality. Being in the pool everyday and hanging out with a bunch of good looking guys in speedos was, to put it mildly, both overwhelming and scintillating at the same time! Author Bryan T. Clark captures these feelings and a host of other emotions and feelings of youth as he tells the story of the beautiful innocence and sexual awakening of the young college freshman, Nicky O’Hare. Nicky is a budding star on the swim team. We feel Nicky’s excitement about his newly found independence away at school and the growing curiosity about his sexuality as he pursues a college education and his dreams of being an Olympic swimmer.
Nicky was recruited from his small hometown in South Dakota by Coach Phillip Silva, a former Olympic swimmer. Coach Phillip has been hired to help rebuild the Tampa Bay University swim team. From the moment they meet, Nicky feels a strong and questionable attraction for the coach. Little does he know that the coach is having similar feelings about him. The stage is set for the development of a tender and loving relationship within a setting that is complicated by their age difference and the fact that they have to conceal their love from the other swim team members and University officials. Throw into the mix a wonderful array of secondary characters, who bring the energy of youth and sexual tension that young people often face and you have the makings of a very entertaining and enticing read.
Mr. Clark is a creative writer who understands what it is like to be a young man who is on the brink of self-discovery and the acceptance of his sexuality, all the while facing the challenges of being away from home for the first time, pursuing his educational and athletic dreams. He contrasts the innocence and youth of Nicky with the maturity and experienced Coach Phillip Silva and weaves a story of love and compassion, wrong turns and u turns as the reader becomes more and more connected to the dilemma they face. Mr. Clark is a master of character development and in moving the storyline forward in a way that captivates the reader. His writing style is fresh and full of energy. I felt like I was right there alongside the characters, experiencing their emotions and always hoping they would succeed and find happiness as they dealt with the various life changing issues before them. I highly recommend Before Sunrise. You will not be disappointed! Jump in, the water is fine!