Exception to the Rule 2: His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner

Title : His Fair Lady                 Word Count :53,059

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Mark Talleo is something of a dog with the ladies. Any girl, anytime, anywhere is his motto until he meets Josie Frazier. The long lean redhead not only shares his love of musical theatre, but her smoky sexy voice and infectious laugh drive Mark wild and haunt his every step. Equally fascinating is his sense that she has a secret, one he is determined to uncover on his way to becoming her leading man.

Josie does have a secret, one she guards with her whole self. Although she has always known she was female, her name used to be Joey and she’s still biologically male. As much as she yearns for love and acceptance, her fear of rejection is just as strong.

Mark’s need to know the truth is matched only by Josie’s need to hide it. But when malicious gossip reveals her deepest secret the price of honesty may turn out to be too high to pay. But if each can accept that the woman he wants is the woman she is then at last Mark may find His Fair Lady.

My Review : From the moment that Josie is introduced,  she pulled at my heartstrings.  I was instantly in love with this character.  She seemed sweet , innocent and she was like a breath of fresh air. Mark was instantly attracted to Josie when he noticed her bright red hair, green eyes and luminous pale skin. Josie shut him down at first , but Mark’s charming personality won her over. Josie really likes Mark but she is hesitant,  because she knows a guy like Mark would never truly want her if she exposed herself to him.  

Josie is feminine in every way, except for the most important way; she is anatomically male. As much as she would like Mark to accept her for who she is , deep down inside she is ultimately scared of rejection.  She is not an out and proud transgirl. Mark and Josie get hot and heavy pretty fast through phone sex and hot make out sessions above the waist, well for her anyways. Josie is a virgin, but she loves to explore and she gives Mark anything any red-blooded college guy wants. Mark loves this side of Josie, but he is eager to touch her and give her all the pleasure she deserves. However, Josie’s secret has her constantly pulling back, because she is hyperaware  of her  unchanged male body.

It is very evident that her secret is going to end up biting her in the ass. It is like an uncoming train wreck you see about to happen, but there is nothing to be done about it, it’s inevitable. One day while Josie is in the bathroom,  another student accidentally walks in on her. Josie thinks nothing of it, thinking that there is no way the other student saw her partially exposed body. She is soooo wrong! Being as busy as she is with school work and the play she is casted as the lead for,  she puts the whole bathroom mishap out of her mind. 

Mark’s vindictive ex girlfriend starts spreading rumours around campus that Josie is a guy. Mark is a staunch defender of Josie’s until certain doubts start surfacing.  Mark realized that he’s never seen Josie fully naked in all the time that they have fooled around. As predicted,  it all blows up in Josie’s face when Mark confronts her about what he has heard. As soon as Mark sees  Josie’s reaction, he knows the rumours are true. Mark is devastated and he feels betrayed by Josie’s ommission. Harsh words are exchanged between the two and they storm off their separate ways. 

Josie starts getting harassed with  anonymous transphobic notes. She tries not to take it too seriously, until she is physically hurt and left unconcious by one of her cast members . Mark bumps into Kyle DiStefano,  Josie’s best friend at the hospital.  Kyle gives Mark some insight into what Josie’s life has been like since she was a kid. Mark is upset that Josie has been targetted because she is trans. He hasn’t ever been upset at her for being trans , but for the fact that she didn’t trust him enough to tell him.

They try to work things out when they realize that they still want to be with each other. Makeup sex is the absolute best and their first time together was extremely explosive.  They were both vulnerable in the moment, because it was something new for both of them . This heightened the sensuality rather than detracting from it. It was a truly beautiful moment between the two. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. 

Exception to the Rule 3: Straight From the Heart by Kimberly Gardner

Title : Straight From the Heart            Word Count :60,555

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : College student Kyle diStefano is having trouble paying his tuition. So when he hears about a job as team mascot with the accompanying full scholarship it seems like the perfect solution. Except he knows nothing about football. But why should that stop him?

Known as the Big Cock on Campus, Dave Masterson never lets his antics with the ladies interfere with his true love, playing NCAA football. But when his coach suggests the team do some off-season conditioning at the ballet barre, most of the guys scoff. Only Dave takes him seriously.

With Dave’s knowledge of football and Kyle’s knowledge of ballet, it seems each has exactly what the other needs, except they play for different teams. Or do they?

Kyle knows one sure path to heartbreak is falling for the straight jock who’s teaching him the rules of the game. Dave falling for another man is going to mean nothing but trouble. But neither man can seem to help himself.

When a public display of affection casts doubt on Dave’s NFL dream, he is forced to make a choice. Stay with the game plan or call an audible straight from the heart.

My Review : I am totally obsessed with the Gay for You trope. I really like the idea of being attracted to that special someone irrespective of their gender. Dave is the star quarterback of the team and he is a shoo in for playing in the NFL.  He is big, brawny and a sexy ass jock who is known to get any cheerleader he wants. He is juxtaposed to  ballet dancer Kyle who is the very definition of a twink. Kyle is graceful , delicate, very pretty and knows absolutely nothing about football. Kyle has to turn to Dave when he finds out that the mascot position comes with a full ride scholarship which he desperately needs to stay in school.     

When they meet each other for the first time, they rub each other the wrong way because they see their stereotypes rather than getting to know the real person. It seems Dave needs Kyle as well , when his coach suggests that ballet will improve his skills on the field.  They both start hanging out more , especially  since both their roommates Mark and Josie are in a committed relationship. 

When Kyle sees Dave passed out on the floor at a party after having too much to drink, he gives him a hand to his room. Dave is afraid to ruin his straight boy image so he has been  suppressing his bicuriosity. By the time he gets to his room, he is a little more sober than when he left the party. He takes advantage of his ‘drunkenness’ to ask Kyle for an experimental blowjob. Kyle can’t seem to resist his ‘straight crush’ despite his reservations that he is probably walking into heartbreak territory. Once he is done, Dave promptly rolls over and pretends to fall asleep. Even though he is flabbergasted and wants to try gay sex again, Dave is extremely scared of what people will think. 

It’s a few weeks before they see each other again at Mark’s and Josie’s 4th of July weekend getaway. Kyle feels weird about seeing Dave again ,but Dave is not fazed. After a night of carousing and drinking,  Kyle and Dave wakes up in the same bed. One thing leads to another and before they know it , they are going at it hot and heavy and it’s exceeds both their expectations. Kyle and Dave gets more comfortable with each other and Kyle starts falling in love with Dave. He sees a more vulnerable side of Dave that nobody else sees.

Things finally come to a head, after a kiss shared by Kyle and Dave is captured on film and put on Facebook for all to see. Dave’s father and coach does damage control by spinning some elaborate drunken tale for the public, rather than admitting that Dave is gay. Kyle is left heartbroken and picking up the pieces of his heart.

Dave is troubled by his decision and he is devastated that he will lose Kyle when he notices another teammate making a play for him. Dave realizes that he can’t live his dream of playing in the NFL,  if he can’t have his dream guy by his side. He comes out by publicly claiming Kyle with a scorching-hot liplock for all to see at the final game of the season. They definitely don’t have it easy but they have each other.  This was a sweet romance without too much drama. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.