Quinn Beck and Montgomery Adams went to school together. Monty was the star football player and he and his friends made Quinn’s life a nightmare with Quinn sometimes pretending to be sick just to avoid going to school and having to see them. After high school, Monty left town for a football career. It didn’t matter that Quinn always thought Monty was hot; he was just as happy to never have to see him again. Until, ten years later when Quinn is the history teacher at his former high school and Monty becomes the new coach.
Monty wants to pick right back up as if they were always friends, but Quinn isn’t having it. Monty is irritating and annoying and it doesn’t matter that he’s still hot—or does it? Monty knows what he wants and he wants Quinn. But Quinn isn’t going to just let Monty in so easily. This time Quinn will be the one on top.
The bully and the victim falling for each other is a popular trope and Topping the Jock is another book following that format. Quinn was bullied by Monty and his friends and, even though ten years have gone by, Quinn hasn’t forgotten. Even with the subject matter, however, the book is lighter on angst.
Behind the bullying, there was always some attraction and when Monty returns, the attraction is still there. Quinn is not at all pleased that Monty is not only back in town, but now a co-worker as well. Quinn doesn’t trust Monty and doesn’t want to be around him, but there is sexual tension that simmers beneath the surface. Monty really has no idea what he and his friends put Quinn through and doesn’t understand at first why Quinn is still so irritated with him. When I read books with this storyline, I do need the former bully to show a little more remorse than Monty did and, while the men do work through some things, for me it read mostly as Quinn just having to get over it and acknowledge that everyone is now older.
The working through it part comes in the form of hookups where Quinn gets to be in control. But even with the hooking up, the scenes came off to me as more matter of fact. Quinn is out the door each time before the men barely catch their breath as he doesn’t want to catch any feelings and, for me, it missed the erotic tone it seemed to be going for. We do learn more about Monty’s background with his father, but it wasn’t that well developed and when his father was on page for a small scene, he was shown as a caricature and it was too overly dramatic for me.
Monty and Quinn did have their moments as they worked to get to their happy ever after. Not everything in the book clicked for me, but I did like the setting and the secondary characters were interesting enough to have me take a look at the next installment in the Blue Harbor series.