Rating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

Three years ago, football player Griffin Parker and science student Raj Mehir shared a hot locker room hookup.  But neither man was out and both were too terrified to even speak to each other afterwards, so things went nowhere.  But now they have run into each other again as Griffin works in the building where Raj has his science lab.  At first Raj wants nothing to do with Griffin.  He is still not ready to accept his sexuality and is wary of what Griffin wants with him.  But it turns out, Griffin has been harboring a crush on Raj since that day in the locker room.  The two begin to develop a friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship as well.  But neither man is ready to come out.  Both face pressures from their family to meet expectations, not to mention fears of being out on campus (and in Griff’s case, to the football team).  As they grow closer and their feelings develop into love however, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to hide their feelings for one another.  Both men must decide if they can face the reactions of friends and family so that they can finally be open in their love for each other.

This is the seventh book in Harris’ Men of Holsum College series and so far it is my favorite. I just loved Raj and Griffin, both separately and together.  Griffin is this huge hulking football player on the outside, but so sweet and sensitive on the inside.  He is so loving and kind with Raj, taking small steps forward as Raj slowly becomes comfortable with the idea of dating him.  Griffin would love to come out and live his life openly, but he fears reaction from his family as well as from the rest of the football team. He knows he already has let his father down by not pursuing football professionally. In fact, he doesn’t even like football all that much. So he really worries about letting his family down further by telling them he is gay.  And he knows the guys on the team will not handle the news well either.

Raj is brainy and a bit prickly, but he is also sweet and a little vulnerable.  Yet in bed he is intense and heated and incredibly passionate.  Raj faces incredible pressure from his traditional parents.  They want to see him married and hoped he would become a doctor.  Raj is afraid of disappointing them and knows they won’t react well to finding out he is gay.  Raj seems to have the harder time of the two guys facing his feelings and coming to terms with his sexuality. While Griffin has known he wanted Raj for years, Raj really just begins to accept things as he and Griffin develop their relationship.  Despite the fact that his best friend Cal (Bossy and the Brat) is gay, Raj still feels terrified about coming out to him.

What I liked most about this book is that despite the title and the outward differences between Raj and Griffin, they are both facing the same challenges and are in the same place in their lives.  Neither one has ever been with a man (besides each other years ago).  Both are struggling with coming out and each faces disapproval and pressure from his family.  I loved watching them grow together, from their first awkward sexual fumblings, to taking steps toward facing their families.  The story really is a journey  these two guys go on together.  And even as they move forward, they face setbacks.  At first they decide to keep their relationship a secret.  Yet as time passes, it becomes difficult for each of them having to hide, to keep their love a secret, and to act like there is not something important between them.  But I really like how they work through it all together, and each man pushes himself just a bit to be there for his partner.

I thought this was a really lovely story of two guys growing up and figuring out what is important.  It is romantic and sweet, and also incredibly (!) hot.  I loved Raj and Griffin and really enjoyed their journey.

P.S. Although this is the seventh book in the series, as with the rest it stands alone just fine. We do spend some time with Cal and Ty, and a few other characters from past books make brief cameos, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble following along if you jump right in here.

Cover Review: I am not always a fan of these covers, but ummm, Raj is hot!