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Fair Catch (Players of LA Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Her writing is solid and she has the story running smoothly. The plot might be a little predictable but it works.
Her characters are well developed and likeable even when they have there moments of stupidity. You can relate to them. They are real people with flaws and whatnot.
If you are still considering getting this book, I fully recommend exercising you one-click finger.
Tobias Bennett wasn’t at the gay bar looking for a hookup, but it happened, and not only was the guy incredibly hot, their connection seemed genuine. But Toby’s only real relationship was with an abusive man who now has him afraid to pursue anything—even hooking up was way out of character for him. NFL wide receiver Sullivan “Van” Archer is among the best in the game and wants to keep it that way, despite the fact that it means hiding his true desires and limits him to meaningless one-night stands. After a serious injury puts him back in the path of the hot guy his friend hooked him up with all those months ago—the guy who ran off like a spooked animal, the guy Van hasn’t been able to forget—he breaks tradition and decides to go for more. But if they’re going to work as a couple, they’ll both need to overcome their own big issues and learn how to trust one another.
Sports romances are often among my favorites in the genre of M/M romance, but I have read enough of them now so that I can say that when one of the main characters is a professional athlete (especially a professional football player) and the other is not, they are often so similar to others in the subgenre that there is a definite risk of these characters being cliché. On the surface, Van’s character fits the pro-athlete stereotype of this sort of book: he’s at the top of his game, deeply closeted, and petrified of what would happen if his secret were to become public. Toby’s character also fits the mold in many ways: he is clueless about who the athlete is, supports (to some degree) the decision to keep the relationship hidden but isn’t happy about it, and ultimately gets hurt once there is a serious threat of the secret being revealed. And probably the biggest relationship factor that’s common to this category of book comes through loud and clear in this one as well: communication is a huge problem between them.
But it’s the background plot involving Toby and his ex-boyfriend that keeps Fair Catch from being just another example of the cookie-cutter professional-athlete trope. Their past makes Toby so leery to get involved with Van that twice in the early stages of the story, Toby ends things before they can get too close. And that’s not counting the initial hookup that starts the story. This makes for a good and frustrating slow burn, because weeks and months pass between these episodes where both keep thinking of the other but neither takes the step to get back into contact. The intensity of their physical desire for one another adds to the problem. For the reader, it’s blazing hot, but for the characters, it comes at the price of overpowering their need to communicate with one another in order to keep their problems from getting worse.
While this could have made it difficult to connect with the characters, the individual character development and the pacing of the novel had me wanting these two to stop running from each other and get their acts together, both individually and jointly. The conflict between them is also the common formula the subgenre—Toby doesn’t want to be Van’s dirty little secret, Van knows Toby deserves better but doesn’t think he can be that man, and so on—but then throw in the ugly drama of Toby’s abusive and domineering ex into the mix and things get quite angsty. Powder keg, meet lit fuse. From a broad-brush standpoint, this part of the plot is also largely predictable, but because I had developed an attachment to the characters and their tumultuous relationship, the inevitable explosion kept me flipping the pages until it was resolved because I wanted everything to work for them, both individually and together.
Fair Catch had all the makings of a book that should have been only meh for me. But instead, it was a sizzling, intense, and dramatic read that had just the right amount of vulnerability and sweetness in the characters that I couldn’t put it down. I think the reason was simple: instead of what we might expect out of such a pairing in the real world, here it’s Toby, as the everyday guy, who inspires Van, the guy at the top of the heap, to become a better person not only for Toby but for himself. And that’s the sort of thing that keeps me reading romance as a genre.
Fair Catch is the second book in The Players of LA series, but can be read as a standalone. It is a real emotional roller-coaster if I have ever read one. My heart-rate and blood pressure were all over the place almost all the way. I often wanted to get in the story and smack these guys on the head a couple of times. I was screaming some, my heart was melting some more and I was at edge of my seat throughout the whole book. When I thought things are getting settled the writer threw some more twists and turns into the mix. If you enjoy truly angsty stories, this is a perfect read for you.
I love sports themed books and I also love American football so I was pretty excited to read Fair Catch. Van Asher is a professional football player in the NFL. Being gay in one of the most homophobic and macho organizations, he is deeply closeted and only hooks up in secret, avoiding any kind of possible exposure. When he meets young and adorable Toby, his whole world turns upside down.
Toby is a cute twenty-two year old yoga instructor who enjoys parkour and is secretly a multimillionaire software developer. He also has a horrible, abusive ex-boyfriend who still haunts him from time to time.
Of course Toby and Van’s forming relationship has a lot to overcome. Disappointment, betrayal, misunderstanding, the abusive ex, some blackmail, and insecurities all form serious obstacles in the way of their happiness, but eventually they manage to fight it all and come out stronger together.
The writing is solid, although a bit soap opera like in a few scenes. There’s plenty of sexy-time, with well written scenes and good chemistry. Some of the bedroom language was a bit too sweet and unreal for me but overall, Van and Toby are very cute and hot together. My favorite character in the book is Leo, Toby’s best friend. He is a great secondary character, who was a voice of reason along the way and he deserves his own book imho. The emotional ups and downs were a bit too much for me, but everything has a purpose so I think it’s just my personal taste.
This story is a real page turner, and I can’t wait to read more in this series.
Love Bytes Reviews