The Quarterback by MacKenzie Blair

Title: The Quarterback                      Word Count:304 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him. 

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

My Review: It is a real eye opener for star Quarterback Matt Lancaster when his closest friends take him to a ‘happy endings’ spa. He is certainly shocked beyond words when the guy he has been crushing on since freshman year walks in. Trevor works three jobs to pay his way through college. Seeing  Matt Lancaster laying on his table is a temptation he can’t resist. For the first time ever, Trevor is excited to offer the deluxe  package which includes a prostate massage.

Being the star Quarterback of a school in the south Matt knows he has to stay in the closet or risk losing his scholarship. Matt is scared of what will pop up with him having a male masseuse. He is enjoying the feeling of having Trevor’s hands roam all over his body. It is definitely a treat , but he freaks out when Trevor goes where no man has gone before. Trevor is certainly delighted to be touching a godlike man like Matt. However, he soon despair when he ventures too far and Matt flees the scene.

Matt feels overwhelmed and he feels like he has been setup by his friends. His closest friend Connor tells him its time to be truthful and admit he is gay. Matt tries to deny , but when he sees the lack of judgement on his friends faces, he knows he can finally reveal a part of himself he’s always kept hidden. It takes him about a week to go back to the spa and truly enjoy Trevor’s services. Trevor is surprised to see Matt again but he is oh so willing to be the one to touch this hunk of a jock. It is very exhilarating to be with Matt, but he is soon brought back to reality with how tawdry their session really is, when he leaves the room without his happy ending.

Matt is hooked, but when he goes back for another visit he finds out that Trevor has quit. He hunts him down on campus after Trevor’s boss reveals that he is the reason why she lost her best masseuse. Another shocker for Trevor comes when Matt approaches him in his dorm and request tutoring in sex lessons. Trevor is a bit wary of a ‘closet case’, but he just can’t resist the sexy jock. They start hanging out two nights a week and soon they’re both craving their explorations. They find out that they really like each other and they commiserate on their shitty family issues.

Trevor introduces Matt to a whole new world of gay sex with some dominance kink thrown in. Matt is a malleable student and he relishes his new endeavors with Trevor. It doesn’t take them long to define their relationship as boyfriends, but  only in private. It kills Trevor to see the public face  that Matt has to express to the world being the Quarterback. When Matt is tricked into claiming one of the sorority girls as his girlfriend in front of cameras, Trevor is hurt deeply. All his fears of dating a closet case is coming true. Things get smoothed out when Matt introduces Trevor to his core group of friends. This goes a long way in soothing Trevor’s acceptance of their closeted relationship.Both these men realize they have a relationship to cherish.

More obstacles are thrown in their path when one of  Matt’s homophobic teammates suspects their relationship. Matt wants to cool it for a bit, but Trevor lets his hurt feelings push him to ultimately end their relationship. Matt goes off to his Thanksgiving holiday feeling extremely dejected. This is made worse by being in close proximity with his opportunistic swindler of a father. Things get heated between them when Matt doesn’t conform to his dad’s idealistic plans for his future playing football. Matt’s dad become violent and Matt ends up in the hospital.

Things aren’t going too well for Trevor either when he tries to reach out to his family. Once again he is rejected by his mom for being gay. He feels so utterly alone. When he gets a call from Matt’s sister saying he has been hurt, he rushes to his side. Matt feels a sense of relief at having Trevor back in his life. He takes the plunge and introduces Trevor as his boyfriend to his uncle and aunt who are very welcoming. Matt is more ready now to embrace his feelings and become more open about his boyfriend to certain people.

When they go back to campus Matt embraces his newfound relationship. It is definitely not an easy road especially with him being the star Quarterback, but he knows that he can handle anything with Trevor by his side. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Welcome to Alvarado 2:Unwelcome Home by C.E. Kilgore

Title : Unwelcome Home             Word Count : 192 pgs
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Sometimes the best way to get back on your feet again is to help someone get back on theirs.

Five years ago, Clint Shepfield broke the town of Alvarado apart when he used his fists to break Samuel Garrett’s body. In prison, Clint’s had plenty of time to deal with the guilt and accept the real reasons behind his actions. He’s now accepted his homosexuality, Sam has forgiven him, and he’s being encouraged to return to the town he thought would never welcome him home.

In the blink of an eye, and the stomping boots of drunk bullies, Rick Santos lost everything. Once a track star in the making, Ricky’s been left confined to a wheelchair, his hopes for the future gone. His happy zeal for life is taken over by a pessimistic, bitter attitude, leaving Sam and Cody at their wits’ end. The first time Ricky snaps at Clint, everyone is surprised when Clint bites back.

Clint makes it his mission to get Ricky out of his funk and out of that chair. Maybe if he can help Ricky stand up straight again, Clint will be able to do the same. But, not everyone in Alvarado is ready to welcome them into the community, leaving Clint and Ricky dealing with the possibility of being unwelcome home.

My Review : Self-hatred is a very profound emotion that eats away at our very souls. Nobody knows this better than Clint Shepfield who made a horrible mistake in his teen years that he will forever regret. He hurt the sweetest young man Sam Garrett who he had a crush on, a crush he could not own up to out of fear of being acknowledged as gay. His horrific actions sent him to prison for five years, a penance he would willingly pay over and over again if it could erase his past. Instead of being the soccer star that he was meant to be he is now the town’s pariah.
Clint has a long hard road ahead of him especially since he will be staying with the same young man who he almost destroyed. It so happens that Sam is in love with Clint’s best friend Cody and they are living together. Sam has since forgiven Clint for his actions when he finally understood that his rage was not motivated by homophobia but rather it was self -hatred. It comes from the inner most part of Clint’s ‘self’ that was not able to understand his feelings. He lashed out at Sam who had the courage and owned his sexuality even though it meant that he was bullied and treated harshly especially by his father.
Initially, Clint is bombarded by all the emotions and all the updates of the old town. He realises there is so much that he missed out on. He also feels a bit unwelcome when he meets the other house guest Ricky Santos, Sam’s best friend. Ricky is staying with them after enduring a homophobic attack which left him in a wheelchair. Ricky is very bitter and he also hates what Clint had done to Sam. There definitely is no love lost between Clint and Ricky, but they soon realize that they feel somewhat adrift and lost in the house with their two best friends who are madly in love. These two shattered men accept that they both have to acknowledge the part they played in the path that their lives have taken. They have to discover how to forgive themselves for their actions. They both have a lot of healing to do and it soothes them to tag team their issues together.
For the most part, Clint is not able to trust his instincts due to his inexperience and his past violent acts. He has to learn to forgive himself so that he can trust in what feels right. It is undeniable that there is a spark between Ricky and Clint and they can’t help but to explore this option.Ricky is there to guide him into the foray of intimacy between two men. Although they are able to relate on both being lost in their new realities, they are constantly reminded that their roles are vastly different. There is a juxtaposition of Clint being a felon while in contrast Ricky is a victim. It is hard to see how they will reconcile their two personas without Clint’s past intruding. As soon as they get beyond this, there is yet another hurdle for them to jump.
Clint has to relearn how to live again and how to be a normal man. On the other hand, Ricky is battling his disability and trying to revise how to live in a wheelchair and how to be content with that corporeality. Clint does all he can to help Ricky and gives him the push he thinks his brain needs. He has a feeling that Ricky’s disability is more of a mind thing and he wants to see if he can get the physical body to work in conjunction with Ricky’s battered pysche. Clint comes up with the juiciest incentives in the form of foreplay to try to get Ricky using hand crutches instead of his wheelchair to get him mobile. They decide to trust in each other and stand strong together in love. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

November Rain by Daisy Harris

Title : November Rain                                    Word Count :40,455

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :Detective Joe Klamath is used to guys falling on their backs at the arch of his commanding eyebrow. Yet he can’t seem to get a read on a cute, department-store sales guy. The vagrant who just walked in, though? He’s easy to read. He’s dangerous.

Joe’s training kicks in, but as he wrestles the gun-wielding man, he gets shot.

Raised in a conservative Ethiopian community, Elias Abraham keeps his natural attraction to men under wraps. But Joe’s heroism moves him to care for the man who saved his life. After all, Joe is hurt. Chances are slim he’ll demand the types of things boys in college always wanted. Sex acts Elias wasn’t—and possibly never will be—ready for.

Gradually, Joe’s easy confidence softens Elias’s resistance. But as Joe’s healing progresses too slowly for a man of action, and trouble brews in Elias’s family, Elias begins to wonder if he can handle the pressure. Because though he hasn’t given all of his body, he’s already given all of his heart.

My Review :  I would have to say this was my least favorite out of this series.  Actually , I don’t really see how it fits into the series, other than mentioning the name of a previous character. There is an age gap between the two main characters and I think the older more experienced Joe takes advantage of his younger Ethiopian fuck buddy.  I wouldn’t even say that they were in a relationship,  because this was definitely not a give and take scenario. Joe was doing a lot of taking from Elias, and Elias was just the unsure virgin getting whatever  crumbs Joe dropped for him.

Joe gets injured at the beginning , trying to save Elias from a crazy gunman. I think  he uses this injury to be a mean old cuss to Elias. Their relationship was just really lacking in romance, it was more cloaked in unsurity and insecurity. Most of the times Elias was worried about what his traditional Ethiopian family would say if they found out he was gay. He was very hesitant to take that next step of losing his virginity to Joe. On the other hand, Joe wasn’t sure how to deal with Elias’ insecurities about his sexuality and it seemed as if he was always worried about how Elias would be perceived because of his race.

The sex scenes were totally hottt,  their was a lot of frottage and this was so great watching them explore each other. The main event was even sexier, Joe had a raw commanding attitude that was truly a turn on. The sex was hotm but the dialogue throughout was a little bit stilted for my tastes. Overall this one gets my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try.