Tag Team Review: The Blueprint by S.E. Harmon

Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.

NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.

When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.

It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.


Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 3.5 Hearts

Sometimes the heart just wanted what the heart wanted, and to hell with the consequences.

There is SO MUCH to like/love about this story: the banter, the heehawlarious family dynamics, these characters, witty writing, great team dynamics and verisimilitude that spoke to me. The Blueprint is the story of the evolution of platonic into romantic love and how uneasy that road can be. It's not fluffy and possesses a genuine melange of emotions. Maybe I would've liked more fluff, but throughout I respected where Harmon took the narrative. She stayed true to them and I applaud her for that.

Part best friends to lovers, part sports romance and part jock/nerd trope this is the story of Blue and Kelly who have been best friends since forever. Through thick and thin. Through a mom leaving. Through bunk beds and a shitty father. Through a metric ton of peanut M&Ms and a surprise peanut allergy. Through a trouble making sister and a plethora of bad decisions. Through high school when the jock/geek dynamic was fertile ground for a breakup and even their experimental college days. So something as fickle as the NFL doesn't stand a chance at separating them. They are family.

Family could be awkward, but you stayed.

Kelly has always been in love with Blue. No relationship has ever worked because they all suffer by comparison. Blue is straight and Kelly knows his pining is futile but there's a big difference between knowing a thing and accepting a thing. Even more confusing, every time Kelly tries to pull away, Blue tightens his hold. Blue knows he needs Kelly, knows he loves Kelly. He just doesn't know what that means or what to do with or about those confusing feelings.

The Blueprint tells the story of their watershed moment from both of their perspectives.

The things that I loved about this story are many including how accurate I found the portrayal of the NFL to be (it's NFL heavy) from the locker room dynamics to the pressure to perform and conform. Blue is 30 but in NFL years, that's old. He's two years older than Gronkowski, who's basically held together with twine, duct tape and Gorilla glue, so that sense of always looking over his shoulder for the replacement that's breathing down his neck resonated. I also loved how much he loves the game, because it's literally all he knows. 

Which is why I think Kelly will be good for him long-term. Kelly won't allow him to give up once he's hung up his cleats; he'll bolster his self-worth. Because he is an indomitable SassMonster who will stay on his heels like a terrier. That's precisely what endeared him to me. He's snarky, witty and kind of a dick at times. Gawd, I hearted him and his dry erase markers and love of all things Star Wars.

Neither one of them are perfect, but they are soulmates.

The sex was true to them and sometimes funny. Really, many things about their interactions had me tittering and I liked that they could have fun during the sexy times. They have a synchronicity in all things that translated well to the bedroom. What they do seemed like a natural progression for a virgin. I enjoyed their size difference most of all, but there is also a big guy bottoming, rimming, frottage and oral. Also, there are mentions of sex with other people and some on page kissing for those that are sticklers for the couple to be true blue.

As much as I appreciated the truth of Harmon's narrative, the organicity of it, the push/pull is interminable. Harmon showed me why, showed the emotion and the angst they both struggle with, and as much as I understood their struggle I needed more of a payoff at the end. I would've liked more of them being incandescently happy together once they decide they're going to give boyfriending a go, though I did appreciate that there wasn't a manufactured/unrealistic ending. But an epilogue probably would've gone a looooonnnnggggg way.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed Harmon's writing style and look forward to reading her in the future and were she inclined to write Connor's story, I would be tickled pink to read that.

Recommend to readers who enjoy a hefty dose of realism in their friends to lovers romance and sports romance fans.

Sara - 5 Hearts 

Me and this book, we got a thing goin’ on and it’s too strong to let it go now.

It’s not just physical attraction or sex or being buddies. I love you.

This book did it for me in so many ways. I am a huge fan of the friends to lover’s trope and I adore unrequited love. I blame John Hughes for my addiction to stories that frustrate the holy heck out of you with waiting for the couple to get together. This was a test in the frustration department turned up to eleven but it couldn’t have been told any other way if we wanted a bit of reality in the romance.

Part of me thinks I could fall in love with you.

The other part of me knows I already have.

Kelly Cannon has been in love with his best friend Britton “Blue” Montgomery since they were 12. They are the best of friends, the best friends you could ever hope to have or ever want someone else to have. They are in one another’s pockets, getting in all sorts of trouble but always having the other’s back. They share Kelly’s family and even as adults, the besties hashtag is staying strong. But Kelly is so in love with his best friend and his best friend is so clueless that Kelly sabotages a very public proposal and inadvertently sets into motion what will be the end all be all of his existence.

Blue Montgomery is all about the world of the NFL and his position of tight end *grins* on the Aventura Outlaws. He loves what he does and he has everything he can think of. A great career, different woman at his beck and call as well as in his bed and he has the decades long close friendship with his best friend Kelly. But Blue needs to take a moment and check his life skills play book before he loses everything that means anything to him. It’s that love is everything, EVERYTHING sort of thing and Blue is so damn clueless.

“How long have you been in love with him?”

“It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t.”

I loved this book. I loved how witty, snarky and downright funny Kelly is with everyone but mainly how he is with Blue. He is in love with his best friend but under all the unrequited longing, Blue IS HIS BEST FRIEND and their friendship flies off the page and smacks you in the face. The fact that everyone around Kelly knows how he feels is hilarious because while they can see the heart eyes on Kelly, they can also see how Blue’s eyes track his best friend around the room.

When Kelly decides he needs a break from Blue to figure out how to deal and really own his feelings, Blue doesn’t know how to deal and needs to be in Kelly’s space and quick. But Kelly isn’t around because he has to go back home and face his parents who didn’t know he was gay but was proposed to by a man on national television. Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds but the book is so much fun. Kelly’s family is amazing and the whole coming out is one for the books. But… there are some other things that happen dealing with bunk beds, admiration of ones ass and a mutual albeit solo exploration that leaves Blue questioning everything he thought he knew.

This. This was what I’d needed. I might not have been ready to admit it to anyone else, but, goddamn it, I could admit it to myself.

I loved Blue’s sexual exploration. It wasn’t quick and insta anything because Blue takes his time to do some soul searching when it comes to his feelings for Kelly. Sure, some of that soul searching was physical and required a bit of liquid courage, but Blue recalls everything this new man on man experience gives him. This new deal gives Blue exactly what he’s been missing and not just because it’s with a man, it’s because it’s with Kelly. Blue just needs a bit of time to come to terms with what he’s feeling and what he wants *ahem* some dick *ahem* and what it means to his life and his football career. Wow. Did I just talk in circles or what? Trust me, it will make sense when you read it.

I know the book is frustrating with the push and pull between these two but I think if Blue submitted his love for dick card too soon, it wouldn’t have been believable. He knows he loves Kelly as a friend, he knows he’s never felt what he does in bed with Kelly with anyone else but Blue needs to wrap his brain around it to be on the same page with his heart. He’s just really freaking lucky that Kelly loves him so much because Blue, really needed to unfuck his shit.

Now, Kelly. OMG I loved Kelly. I got his crush on his best friend and I got him taking what small bits of Blue he would offer and storing them away in his heart and his spank bank. It’s hard to get what you want, even for one night, and go back to best friend jail without passing go or getting a sloppy but sexy blow job. He is head over heels in love with Blue and is so clueless about Blue’s true feelings. These two took the road less traveled and it indeed made all the difference. They just took the smallest of baby steps to reach their destination.

When the heart was involved, sometimes you didn’t get second chances.

I admit the end threw me for a three second loop I wasn’t prepared for. But when I took a moment it all made sense. Sure, it could have been an over the top Disney ending but really, it couldn’t have gone any other way. I am just going to say that Kelly had tunnel vision when it came to being with Blue, to getting Blue to admit his feelings and them to be together as a romantic couple so that end, it made sense. He wasn’t thinking outside of the Blue/Kelly bubble of them as lovers so when his bubble gets pin pricked, he freaks out a bit. I do love Blue’s response though and that very end? GAH! Killed me.

This book, is smoking hot. Kelly and Blue have amazing chemistry together that my fingertips started to singe while they explored and got it on. I fully enjoyed them finding their way from best friends to friends with benefits to the love of each other’s lives.

Oh and one last thing? I loved Connor O’Rourke. Connor needs a book.


Pretty Please?


I’m done.

ARCs were provided by the publisher.

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