Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about Jock Week. I am not a sports fan. However, what I’ve come to discover is that we can all get behind a good story with sweaty, muscular men pushing their bodies to the limit in a competitive bout with other equally attractive and determined men. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. So it was no surprise that I enjoyed this novel by Keira Andrews.
Love Match takes place on the tennis courts as Luke Rossovich and Jesse McAllister train and compete as doubles partners. Luke is much older than Jesse. He’s at the end of his career while Jesse is just really getting started. Luke has won three grand slam tournaments and is working to win the U.S. Open. He’s got million dollar endorsement deals that keep him extremely rich and the focus of a lot of attention. When Jesse suggests they play doubles to help them both in their singles’ games, Luke agrees. What he didn’t expect was to feel such an attraction to the younger man.
Luke was in a long-term relationship with his coach, Nik, who died two years earlier in a collision with a drunk driver. There are only a few people in his life that have any clue he’s gay and he intends on keeping it this way. He knows that, should the news come out, his endorsement deals will disappear and he’ll suffer taunting and bullying on the court and off. When he starts to fall for Jesse, he initially feels guilt over his dead partner and doesn’t make it easy for him. Then, when things start to get good, they are forced to keep their relationship a secret. The question is whether this relationship can survive the kind of scrutiny and secrecy that they’re forced to accept as part of their lives, or if they’re willing to take the risk and live their lives out in the open.
There’s something innately sexy about tennis. It’s a physically grueling sport that requires optimal physical conditioning as well as developing a mental focus and determination that needs to be present in order to win matches. In other words, don’t mess with a tennis player. That type of single-minded resolve is extremely attractive. Add to that some glistening sweat and a pair of tennis shorts and good luck thinking of anything else for the next week. Also, good luck not googling “hot male tennis player” after you finish reading this book. P.S. You won’t regret it.
Luke and Jesse are different in a lot of ways. One has age and experience, the other has youth and optimism. But they also connect in ways that are not just based upon physical attraction. They respect each other. They help each other. They laugh and relax and keep each others’ minds off the stress in their spare time. They’re good for each other, and their relationship is the best part of this book. Jesse has the courage to stand up for himself and their relationship and shows Luke that all the trouble they’ll have to face will be worth it. You root for these two, and in sports, it’s good to have a cheering section.
Unfortunately, the thing holding back this book is that it stays within the lines (look at me and my sports analogies!). There are a lot of stories out there like this one. It doesn’t really stand out in any way. The writing is adequate. The storyline is sweet yet predictable. The characters are similar to a host of other characters who already exist. It was a pleasant read. There wasn’t anything that I disliked. I just wasn’t compelled or surprised or excited — qualities that can push a book from good to great. Perhaps as an unfortunate coincidence, I happened to be reading two tennis books at the same time, and Love Match lost the set. Or the game. Or whatever. (I warned you — just wait until I get to my hockey book.)
You should give this book a chance, especially if you enjoy tennis. And if you need a couple of photos I may or may not have stored on my desktop, let me know.
P.S. Keira Andrews has generously donated a copy of Love Match for our Jock Week giveaway so be sure to check it out!