Closet Case ( Sexy Nerd Boys 4) by K .M. Neuhold

Title: Closet Case                        Word Count: 168 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Jax

That awkward moment when you accidentally fool around with a closet case. I have a strict policy against dating closeted guys. Confused straight guys? Absolutely. Guys who don’t mind being out and proud? Duh. But closet cases are a hard pass. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt with a giant picture of a broken heart on it. It would be a lot easier to stick to my dating rule if Matthew Hart could be slightly less irresistible. 

Matthew

Being a closeted gay college football player is not all it’s cracked up to be. After I broke my high school boyfriend’s heart by refusing to come out of the closet, I swore off serious dating. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that again, and I’ll admit I’m protecting my own heart in the process, too. It was a lot easier to stick to my no dating rule before I laid eyes on Jax Greene. He’s exactly my type in every possible way. If there’s even the slightest chance that history won’t repeat itself, I want to see where things might lead. Convincing Jax to give me a chance though might be the toughest play I’ve ever made. 

**This book is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for 18+ due to language and all kinds of hot sex.

My Review: Jackson is very ‘out and proud’ and that’s the way he likes it. His former boyfriend Beck was a closet case and he has decided never to make the same mistake twice. Jax has hookups but nothing meaningful. When he meets the sexy straight looking quarterback Matthew in his anthropology class, he decides to flirt a little. Matthew sees Jax and knows that he’s definitely his type. He can’t seem to get Jax out of his head.

When he goes to hangout with his friend Hadley and her boyfriend, he is surprised to see that Jax is a mutual friend. Jax re-evaluates his little flirting game when he realizes that Matty is not straight, but rather gay and firmly in the closet. Jax has certain rules in place to protect his heart from another relationship filled with secrets and lies. Even though they are both lonely, they decide to stay in the friend zone, especially when they are paired up for their anthropology project.

It doesn’t take long for Jax to realize that he can’t just be friends with the sexy stud muffin that is Matty Hart. Things get hot and heavy between them after they go to a gay club with their friends. Jax watches another guy who is his look-alike hit on Matty and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jealousy rears its ugly head for Jax and Matty knows he needs to take his man home and prove that Jax will be his. 

They settle in a mutually beneficial sexual arrangement that works for them for awhile. Jax knows that he has fallen into the same trap he has avoided since his last breakup, but he can’t resist Matty. He genuinely likes him and it helps that he is a cuddle bug. They have quite a few meaningful nights canoodling while watching Marvel movies and making out. Matty loves all the quirky little things about Jax and wishes that his NFL aspirations didn’t conflict with a future as a gay man.

This bone of contention soon comes to a head when both halves of Matthew’s lives clash at a frat party. Jax is surprised to see Matty at the party and approaches him in front of his football buddies. He is harshly rebuffed and this hurts more than he can say. Matty feels horrible about how he treats Jax, but his fear of being outed is a powerful thing. Jax lets him know that he can’t continue living a lie and walks out of his life. 

Matty is broken by the turn of events and turns into a zombie. His friend Hadley tries to drag him out of his slump, but it’s his mom who finally pulls him out and tells him to stop hiding. A big part of Matthew’s self image and his view on ‘coming out’ is steeped into the vitriolic standards of how a ‘real man’ should be according to his father. When his father was alive he would verbally abuse him and call him a sissy. Matthew acknowledges to himself that he needs to stop caring what other people think, because he can’t see a future without Jax. Matty knows he needs to make a grand gesture to win Jax’s heart and that comes in the form of their anthropology project. They chose the topic on homosexuality and how it’s viewed in different cultures. When Matty starts talking about sports culture and how homosexuality is tied into ideas of masculinity,  one of his teammates shout out that there are no gays in football. Matty doesn’t even think, he just shuts his teammate down and outs himself in front of the whole class. A statement that was once panic inducing, has now liberated him. Jax is in shock, but he supports his man and is very proud that Matty has finally found himself. They celebrate by consummating  the new parameters of their relationship expressing their love with lots of sweet kisses.

This is certainly a happily ever after and we get a glimpse eight years in their future where we see them  settled and getting ready to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. It was just the right amount of angst, sweetness and sexual chemistry between Jax and  Matty. Loved it!!!

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Dream Boy by Shawn Bailey

Title : Dream Boy                                         Word Count : 32,000

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :Being gay and in love with the most sought-after college quarterback did nothing for Hiro Aoki’s heart except make it break every time he saw Christian Hill parading around town with pretty girls on his arm. Christian also dated debutants and got invited to the most popular parties, while Hiro and his friends stayed home on weekends studying and trying to improve their GPA. What good did it do Hiro to be smart when the love of his life didn’t return his feelings?

But to Hiro’s surprise, when he agrees to tutor Christian in math, he realizes the football star may be harboring a secret longing for him also. Can the two young men actually become lovers and keep their growing relationship a secret from their families, the rest of the students, and the bullies on the football team?

My Review : I am such a fan of Shawn Bailey.  His books are usually short but they are very sweet. This one was really great, not too much drama. I am such a fan of the nerd/ jock trope. I just can’t get enough of these opposites attract themes. I really loved Hiro, a cute little Japanese nerd who can be very bold when he wants to be. He has been in love with the quarterback Christian since they were kids,  however they don’t run in the same circles.

The first interaction where we are introduced to both Christian and Hiro,  Christian mows poor Hiro down trying to catch a football. Hiro is certainly in hog heaven. Within the same week Hiro gets knocked over again by Christian  and Christian starts believing in fate. Christian is a little bit surprised at how his body reacts to Hiro but he doesn’t fight it. By chance he ends up being tutored by Hiro in math. When they are enclosed in Hiro’s room , a little bit of flirting leads to them exploring the sexual attraction that they have both been feeling.

I really loved the sex between these two, it was dynamic and magical. It was obvious to see that they were both meant for each other. Hiro makes Christian want to be a better person and he strives harder towards a better educational future seeing as how Hiro is already a genius. They keep their relationship behind close doors more for Christian’ s sake, because he is hoping to play pro football but he really wants to get closer to Hiro and not lose him. Another closeted football player really has it out for Hiro but Hiro shows him that geek doesn’t always mean weak. Hiro and Christian gets their happily ever after and goes off to med school together where they will be living in their own apartment.  I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. It was such a sweet romance with lots of steamy scenes.