Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at a small southern school with a very conservative outlook. Matt has always known he is gay, but he also knows he will lose his place on the team, along with his scholarship, if anyone ever found out. When his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor with a male masseuse, Matt is totally freaked out. He is both terrified that his friends seem to know his secret, but also totally turned on by his hot masseuse.
Trevor Kim works part time doing massages — but not the happy ending kind. But when he finds gorgeous Matt Lancaster on his table, Trevor is willing to make an exception. He has had a crush on Matt since they were freshman and is totally hot for him. Matt pretty much freaks out during his first visit and Trevor assumes that is the end, but when Matt returns, the guys have a chance to do some experimentation that turns them both on like crazy.
When they reconnect on campus, Matt and Trevor decide to continue seeing each other by beginning a little sexual “tutoring.” Being with Trevor allows Matt to not only experiment with all the things he has been wanting sexually, but also to have that tiny bit of escape where he can be himself. Slowly the guys begin to move from friends-with-benefits to real feelings for one another. But Matt is still fearful of anyone learning the truth. The team is counting on him to help win the National Championship and he is sure the Director of Athletics would be rid of him if there was even a hint of his homosexuality. But the more time they spend together, the more Matt realizes how much he hates being closeted, and how much he wants a real future with Trevor. Things are more complicated as his jerk of a father puts pressure on Matt, and Matt’s increasing fame leaves him in the public spotlight. As Trevor and Matt fall further in love, Matt must figure out if he is ready to be open with the truth so that he can have a chance at a real future with Trevor.
So this book pretty much reached out and grabbed me from the minute I saw the blurb — hot football player, college guys falling in love, virgin hero, happy endings massage, and lots of sexy times. So when I was looking for a book for New to Me Author Week as part of Reading Challenge Month, this seemed like a great choice. And I have to say that I loved it as much as I had hoped.
First off, this book is super sexy. Things start off pretty intensely as Matt goes to the massage parlor and he and Trevor do some experimenting. I love reading “first time” experiences, so I found this section fun and super heated. And the steaminess continues pretty much throughout the book, so if you like sexy virgins and hot, tattooed guys who know just what to do, you will love this. But I did appreciate how over the course of the book we see the sexual interaction between these guys really grow from two strangers having fun getting each other off, to two men in love who are finding a way to share that romantic connection with one another in sexy ways.
Matt and Trevor fall for one another pretty easily and the real source of conflict here is Matt having to hide that he is gay. We can understand from early on what is at stake here, and so it makes sense why Matt chooses to handle things the way he does. At times Matt being in the closet is a source of tension between the guys, which makes total sense. But mostly Trevor supports Matt and understands his reasoning. Of course, that doesn’t make it easy for either of them, and again I think Blair does a nice job showing growth over the story as Matt goes from fearfully in the closet to recognizing that he wants more for himself and his relationship.
I also enjoyed the side characters here. Matt’s best friends have figured out he is gay and so he gains a nice source of support. Both guys have people in their lives who are able to be a sounding board and to help provide support as they go through rough patches. I also appreciated that while these guys do have their fights, and at times they both behave poorly, they are good about working through their problems and patching things up. With the big conflict an external one, I liked that they didn’t get too bogged down in the problems between them. I don’t want to go too much into the ending, but I think things resolve nicely here. At times I felt like everything seems to work out far better than expected (or maybe realistic), but I still found this one nicely rewarding in terms of how it all ties up.
So overall I really enjoyed this story. It was basically tailor made for me and I was completely entertained. It was a great introduction to Mackenzie Blair’s writing (and appears to be her debut book), and I am eagerly awaiting more of her stories.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for New to Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Riptide Publishing. One winner will win a set of Advanced Review Copies before the books are released (or if it is a non-U.S. winner, an electronic copy of the books upon release). Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New to Me Author Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more details about the awesome prizes!