Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
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!
For the most part I liked this book too, but I did think there were quite a number of inappropriate things that the MCs or the secondary characters blurted out. But Matt was adorable and Trevor was kind of a bad ass so I still enjoyed this a lot.
Yeah, these guys weren’t much with the discretion!
Every single one of these tropes appeals to me!
LOL, yes! Total book catnip!
Thanks for the review! It’s bumped my interest up from curious to putting it on my wishlist.
I’m with you the blurb – the book – is filled with buzz words for me, except the football thing, but I can work around that, lol …. I’m glad it doesn’t appear to have any of the things I feared or more so am over reading about. I’m def going to have to get this book now, tho it was only the word count that had me double thinking, I tend to not read novels that often (trying to work on that)
Yes, if you are not into sports, I think you will still be ok. It is definitely not a “sports” book in the sense that we don’t see him really playing games, practicing, discussing the ins and outs, etc. Football is used as a frame for the coming out story, the dealing with others’ expectations, etc. So even if you aren’t into football, I don’t think that will bug you too much here.
Interesting review. It sounds like a “ripped from the headlines” based on Michael Sam. I don’t much care for the closeted trope, though, so not sure when I’d get to this one.
Yum! Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell got me on the football train and I am ready to ride. Sign me up.
LOL, awesome! Climb on board!
This sounds pretty enticing, so I’ve just downloaded a sample. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, Jay. It’s always fun to see a new author get a good review.
I love the Virgin Hero…in fact, the book I chose for this weeks challenge has a virgin hero. YUM!
LOVE virgin heroes! I did our first theme week surrounding them. It is one of those tropes that will almost always make me take a closer look.
I was just looking at this book on Hoopla. NA isn’t always for me, but I think your review has convinced me.
Wow! Another of my favourite tropes, and another new author to me. It sounds really good, and your review makes it look even better, so I’m going to add it to my TBR list. Thank you for the review, Jay!
You are welcome! And I hope you enjoy!
I’m reading this book now for the reading challenge , i would have read it anyway but i had to read it now because when i was looking for a book to read for this weeks challenge this book was screaming at me pick me, pick me so i just had to get it LOL. Love your review and i’m loving this book so far.
Oh yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
That sounded like a fun book. Maybe i should put it on my wishlist.
If only all authors wrote exactly to our wants, Jay! This doesn’t hit as many buttons for me, but it doesn’t sound like I’d have to kick it off my nightstand either. 😉
Oooh sounds interesting! I love virgin heroes! *-*
Thanks for the good review, Jay. You’ve sold me. I love football, and like the MC, I’m also a southern boy & went to a conservative Baptist school. But I’m older, from a more repressive era, yet I’d say it’s still tough to come out in that sport. Even so, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in this debut. – Purple Reader,
TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com
Thanks! I hope you enjoy if you give it a shot!
Thanks for the review. I’m sure I’ll be checking this one out when I can find the time.
Thanks for the review. I’ll admit that none of the tropes really appeal to me but I’ll try anything with a high rating. I didn’t like hockey books until Avon Gale and now I love them AND I’m watching hockey. So maybe this will be my gateway book 🙂
Oh good! Let me know if you give it a try and what you think!
I keep hearing good things about this book! I hope to read it soon. I tried to look up info about the author to see if she plans to release more mm soon but no luck.