The heat between them is impossible to ignore. But can they ever be anything but rivals?
Dante Mills has one more year to prove he can hack it in the NFL. If he can’t score attention from the scouts this season, he’ll never be able to give his hard-working mom the life she deserves. The last thing he needs is more competition, but that’s exactly what he gets when blond-haired, blue-eyed behemoth Mitchell Erickson walks into the locker room.
Mitchell Erickson has one year to prove he belongs on a football field. He’s spent his whole life struggling to find acceptance in his family, and now his father’s finally giving him the chance to follow his passion… for one season. If he doesn’t bring the Tigers to victory, it’s back to upholding the Erickson legacy in a suit and tie. But how can he possibly succeed when someone as talented as Dante stands between him and a starting position?
As if the tension between them wasn’t high enough, Mitch is insanely attracted to the very straight linebacker. As the season ramps up and both men fight for their place on the team, a heated locker room encounter leaves Dante questioning everything he thought he knew about himself.
When Dante and Mitch work together, they’re unstoppable. But can two men destined to be rivals ever be anything more?
False Start is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhanger.
Dante, who is Jason’s friend from book one, is in his last year at Eastshore and he NEEDS this year to go well for him on the football field. His mom has struggled for years to make ends meet and he needs to be drafted into the NFL so that he can give her all she needs, wants and deserves.
Mitch comes from a long line of lawyer who go you Yale and do the family proud. He’s never felt that he fit in and he only finds satisfaction in playing football. His father has given him one year to “prove himself” in football and even though he’s a freshman, Mitch is determined to be vital to the team and prove to his dad that this is where he belongs.
Mitch is gay and open if not out and proud. He’s immediately attracted to Dante, though he knows it’s ridiculous as Dante has to be straight. When the two realize they are fighting for the same position on the team, things between them go from strained and awkward to openly hostile. But… they’re on the same team and being a team player means supporting everyone – or else.
In time, the two realize they make better team players than enemies and a truce of sorts develops. The simmering attraction between Mitch and Dante becomes more than that as Dante begins to explore a new aspect of his sexuality.
But… the dividing line between them isn’t their sexuality or race or their competition on the football field – it’s money – pure and simple. Dante knows he can never fit into Mitch’s world and at every turn this is proven true. In the end – even if they try to make a go of it – can it last? There’s at least three years between them and a potential job that would take Dante on the road for months at a time. It seems like it’s really not worth it…or is it?
I loved book one in this series and was so excited to see book two come around! I find Alison Hendricks to have an easy and engaging writing style and her love of football is clear but not so overwhelming as to give us non-fans a headache.
The GFY/OFY trope is one of my favorites and I was really looking forward to seeing how Dante adapted to his own sexuality given his friendship with the newly out and proud Jason as his best friend.
First I think that I have to separate my expectations for this based on book one from my assessment of it on it’s own merits.
As a book by itself, I think it was pretty good. The writing is nice, the MCs were well developed, the major plot points made sense and the romance was fairly sweet.
Where things begin to get weak for me: I didn’t enjoy Dante’s exploration as much as I wanted because it was fairly rushed and though I appreciated that he didn’t really dwell on it a lot – it is a big thing and a stark contrast to his past belief about himself – and I don’t think it was given enough weight in the story.
Another area that felt neglected was the future. Without giving away the ending – Dante has to make some big decisions about his future and that of his family – the end result while pleasing is absolutely rushed and there is absolutely no discussion of it until the dust is settled and I felt left out in the cold. It felt a bit deus ex machina and I didn’t think it flowed well with the rest of the story.
I liked that the major obstacle for these guys was class/perception and two alpha personalities clashing – but I don’t think their resolution (on page) was very satisfying. I wanted a bigger MOMENT when the two make sacrifices and speeches of devotion to one another.
All in all this felt a bit bland to me and here is where I have to speak to the previous book. Because the first book was SO GOOD, I can’t help but compare the two and side by side this lacks the luster and brilliance of book one. The MCs aren’t as well developed, their romance is a bit too rushed and not nearly as “deep”, and the final portion – though happy – wasn’t nearly as shiny and joyous as I’d hoped for.
All in all, both in comparison to book one and on it’s own merits, this was just a bit disappointing – still very enjoyable – but not as wonderful as I’d hoped.
3.75 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review
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