Down By ContactRating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Zach and Griffin found in each other in college and quickly fell in love. But while Zach loved Griffin, he also loved football and coming out was not an option. When Griffin couldn’t take being a secret anymore, he left without a word. Now Zach is a professional football player and while his career dreams have come true, he has never stopped missing Griffin.

When Zach arrives at training camp for his second professional season, he’s determined to keep his spot. But Zach was not expecting to be selected to be part of a reality show that follows players around during training. He certainly wasn’t expecting Griffin to be the cameraman assigned to him. The attraction is still there, but Zach’s not sure he can ever forgive Griffin. Zach also is still struggling with coming out and when the TV producers make Zach a target, his career and his relationship with Griffin are both tested.

When this book opened I was drawn into both Zach and Griffin’s lives and with dual POV, the book offers an inside look at both men. This is a second chance romance as Zach and Griffin were in love in college and when Griffin felt that Zach would truly never come out, Griffin left. But he didn’t just leave; he left without a word and no further contact. Griffin was completely in love with Zach and a strong part of him felt that he was doing what was best for both of them, but he has also regretted it ever since. I appreciated that the author doesn’t draw this part out. In the earlier chapters the guys get it all out in the open and try to move forward as they have to work together. We are then told they both still have feelings for each other, but it all read as muted.

The football aspect, as well as the reality show aspect, didn’t work out for me. Zach was a football player in name only. We only see him working out with trainers a few times and talking to the coach and other than that, there is no football in the book and it’s not until the halfway point that Zach’s position is even mentioned, although in passing. The reality show scenes itself were predictable and Griffin became an unreliable character with each passing scene. He learns early on that the show’s producers are looking to exploit Zach, yet he doesn’t say anything and then is surprised when they follow through. Then, he bounces back and forth between talking to Zach, the coaches, and the producers and the conversations surrounding the show were overly convoluted, while the actions of the reality show moved forward in the most predictable manner. It’s all standard reality show fare, yet none of the characters see the deception coming.

The show, also, wasn’t very interesting. Zach says he’s just a regular guy and he is. There is mostly only Griffin with one camera filming Zach work out and unpack from his move. Then, when things start moving along in a somewhat contrived manner, you had to wonder just whose side Griffin was on. He said he was looking out for Zach, yet that wasn’t always made clear as he was also trying to keep his job. The book primarily moved from one conversation to the next and while talking between characters can certainly be a plus, we were given the run down on what had happened and what was going to happen and there was minimal movement, which became frustrating.

This book is also a spin off from Kennedy’s Homeruns series where Zach’s brother was an MC in one of the books. If you have read that book, there are links back to that storyline and while it didn’t affect the overall story here, it could be just another hindrance to a book that already had issues. This is the start of a new series and there is a possible set up to feature two side characters and their introduction also didn’t flow well into the rest of the story. The end story with the reality show just sort of fizzled out and while I liked the reunion angle between the men, the remainder left me cold.

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