Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 9 hours, 35 minutes
Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback of Bodine College, a small southern division II school in Alabama. Matt is a senior, and a closeted gay virgin, who fears his secret getting out because his homophobic athletic director might pull his scholarship. Matt’s also sure his alcoholic, wheeler-dealer of a financial analyst father would disown him and cut off all contact with Matt’s younger twin sisters. So, he’s really upset when his best friends and teammates take him to a massage parlor and request a male masseuse. Matt thought it was a cruel joke, but it turns out his pals guessed his Big Secret and wanted to right by him—getting him an attractive man who’d relieve some of his pent up sexual frustration.
Matt’s mortified by their plan, and his reaction to Trevor, his masseuse. Matt remembers the sexy, androgynous, fellow student from an English seminar. Three years have passed, but Trevor’s only gotten more sexy—and forbidden. Still, Matt’s concentration is slipping on the field, and maybe if he tries to blow off some sexual steam with Trevor, well, he seemed down for it at the massage parlor.
Trevor’s family cut him off and shut him out near the end his senior year of high school when he came out. It was brutal, and Trevor had to come up with alternative plans for his life. He works two jobs, the massage parlor and a café, as well as private tutoring, to pay his expenses that aren’t covered by his scholarship. Meeting Matt at the massage parlor was kismet; he almost never helps his male clients get off, but he was willing to do whatever was necessary to help the sexy quarterback. Unfortunately, that plan totally backfires…at first.
Matt is in many ways naïve, and not just sexually. He’s not good at talking with people, but that makes him a good match for salty Trevor. The narrator Greg Boudreaux’s expressive voice lends a lot of sensitivity to both Matt and Trevor. They have messed up home lives and a lot of emotional depth, and this came through so beautifully in the audiobook. There were definitely moments that made me pause, because I really felt the ebb and flow of the emotional turns in the plot.
There are some delicate moments, too, as Matt is almost completely untouched. Trevor’s excitement at tutoring him in ways of man-on-man love is both fun and tender. Matt and Trevor intend to only have fun sexytimes, but this becomes more than simple activity, and Matt and Trevor both find themselves falling too deep. I really liked how the love story developed over the course of weeks and months, and not suddenly. They are friends, and their friends facilitate their alone times. But, when a teammate learns of Matt’s extra-curriculars with Trevor, it has a ripple effect that could cost Matt both his scholarship and his family.
Both the narration and story are well laid and engaging, and the characters of Matt and Trevor were great on their own, and yet better together. They show a lot of vulnerability, which makes them understandably prickly at times. Boudreaux’s performance carefully renders a wide range of emotion. It sometimes happens that I really want to skip ahead to make sure everything is going to turn out okay. Obviously, this is hard to do with an audiobook. I guess that’s why I was glad I didn’t have an ebook—it forced me to be patient, and I’m a better person for it. Probably.
As it stands, I could listen to this book six times and want to restart it again.