Title: Frat Boy and Toppy
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: Novel

Rating: 4.75

Brad Feller is a burly college football player and fraternity brother.  Everyone has always expected him to be a “macho” guy based on his appearance and athletic ability, and Brad has sort of let himself be carried along, doing what is expected of him, from playing on the college team to majoring in physical education.  But now after years of semi-denial, semi-avoidance, Brad has finally reached the point where he is facing the fact that he is well and truly gay.  And not only that, but totally crushing on his history TA Sebastian.

Sebastian has been eying the hot guy in his class for a while too, although he always assumed Brad was straight, especially given his reputation with women.  But when Brad lets Sebastian know his is gay and quite interested, Sebastian is thrilled.  Sebastian isn’t much for relationships, but he is quite experienced with men.  Sebastian sort of sees himself as a mentor, teaching Brad all there is to know about having sex with another guy.  And Brad is definitely an eager student.  The two begin seeing each other regularly (and are insanely hot together).

So the sex part is great, but the other aspects of coming out are a bit more complicated for Brad.  First off, he deals with a lot of guilt over all the women he used when he was still coming to terms with his sexuality. Although he didn’t recognize at the time that he wasn’t actually interested in them, he still feels bad that he led them on.  In fact, one former girlfriend is particularly angry when she figures out Brad’s feelings for Sebastian, although over time she becomes a confidant and big supporter. Brad also has to work through his coming out process.  Telling his family proves easier than expected, but he isn’t sure how to go about telling his fraternity brothers.  Although he wants to tell them, he knows it will cause a bit of an uproar, especially given the way most of the guys view him.

The hardest part for Brad might just be how hard he has fallen for Sebastian.  From early in their relationship, Brad is totally into him and recognizes the seriousness of his feelings way before Sebastian does.  Although Sebastian realizes that Brad makes him feel differently than he ever has with another guy, he has never really thought in the long term.  While Brad is open about his feelings, it takes Sebastian a lot longer to figure out that Brad is what he really wants.

I really loved this story and think is a great mix of lovable guys, great humor, and super hot sex.  First off, I thought both Brad and Sebastian were great.  Sebastian is so nurturing and loving and cares so much for Brad’s fragile feelings. Although it takes him a while to sort out his own thoughts, he is able to read Brad so well and makes a great effort to meet his needs, both physically and emotionally. And I just loved Brad.  He is so sweet and vulnerable and such an interesting mix of physically strong but emotionally sensitive.  I think it says a lot about him how much he worried over the women he had dated and how they would feel to learn he had never really been interested in them.  Especially because he really wasn’t self-aware enough at the time to realize he was even doing it.

As much as this is a story about the guys and their relationship, it is also largely about Brad coming to terms with what he really wants out of life.  He has been sort of floating along, following others expectations of him due to his size, football skills, and allure with women.  He has never really stopped to think what he wants out of his own life.  The process of coming out, along with his relationship with Sebastian, really help to reevaluate his life and start moving it in the direction he really wants it to go.

Ok, so I can’t leave out that this story is super hot.  Sebastian is the titular “Toppy” and he is definitely the dominant one in the bedroom.  Brad has never had any experience with men, and we follow along as Sebastian teaches him all the wonderful things two men can do together. They are scorching hot (and the scene where Brad does his “penitence”?  Whew!).  There is just that tiny bit of dominance and submission to their relationship that is so sexy, especially since smaller Sebastian is the top.

The story has a nice tone; it’s just the right mix of fun and humor combined with serious issues. I liked that Brad is not all stressed and angst filled about realizing he is gay and dealing with coming out.  Although it took him a while to figure it out, once he recognizes he is gay, Brad jumps into it with both feet.  And although he’d like to have some control over how his friends find out, he also deals with coming out quite calmly when it finally happens.  One of my favorite parts is when Brad talks to his best friend Kyle about gay sex (and taunts him a bit). Not only did it crack me up, but it illustrates what Brad is dealing with in terms of how other people perceive him.

“There are lots of things you can do to your anus—or someone else can do—that are pretty fucking awesome. And that’s not even mentioning the prostate.”

“Oh, God,” Kyle whined. He planted his elbows on his knees and hid his face in his hands.

Some devil made him do it. Brad smiled big and winked at Collin before saying, “And of course, there’s getting fucked.”

Kyle’s hands fisted in his hair. “But you don’t do that, right?”

Brad just sat there, the chair creaking as he rocked it back and forth on its hind legs. Collin stared at him. Kyle froze.

Collin cleared his throat. “You bottom?”

Brad nodded precisely. “All the time.” Enunciating. He didn’t know why he wanted these guys to know. Well, he did. It pissed him off for some reason that they would just figure, since he was the jock and Sebastian was the brain, that Brad must be fucking him.

Even fucking Collin thought so, Brad could tell by the way his eyes bugged out.

Kyle lifted his head and looked at Collin. “Did he say what I think he just said?” he asked faintly.

Collin stared at Brad, but answered Kyle. “Yeah. He did. Um . . . excuse me, I think I need to go take a shower.” He grabbed a clean pair of briefs and a T-shirt off the bed and scrambled out the door, holding his clothes in front of his groin.

I loved that his friend Kyle is so accepting that by the end of the story he has become a “guy fag hag.”

I was a little confused at times as to whose POV we were getting or who was doing what.  Common hazard in m/m romance with all those male pronouns (especially in ereaders where section breaks are more dicey), but I did find myself rereading at times to clarify who was doing what.  I also wish I had understood a bit more why Sebastian’s roommate Paul is so hostile to Brad. I mean, I get the jock thing, but it seemed so extreme.

Despite these small issues, I really loved this story.  I just adored Brad and Sebastian together, enjoyed the humor and the tone, and thought it was super hot.  Definitely highly recommended.

P.S. For more about Frat Boy & Toppy, check out Anne Tenino’s guest post!

Cover review: I am making an exception to my usual thoughts on headless torso covers, because, hello, do you see these guys? A girl can not live on fine art alone!  I also love that these guys (or their bodies at least) actually look like the guys in the book.  I could totally tell who is supposed to be Brad and who is Sebastian, which is so unusual in most romance covers.  Beautiful job!

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