We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Sports
There’s really no one single event in this book that I can name as outstanding or exciting or remarkable. And yet, there’s a depth of emotion and shared moments of love and unity between two men who first captured my attention, and then my heart, many years ago when I met them in Tigers and Devils. These MCs are unforgettable simply because they are so very real—rock steady, down to earth guys who bring life to the pages of my e-reader and take me away to their world during the time they share a glimpse of their lives with me.
It’s been eight years since the last book in this series, Tigerland, and Simon Murray no longer has his friend Nyssa as his assistant. Instead, a young man named Coby has filled the role of both his assistant and best friend for the past few years. Simon is a television producer and he’s still as snarky, funny, outspoken, and emotionally bumbling as ever. His rock is Declan Tyler, former AFL football player turned announcer. Declan is as steady as ever, and in this story, Declan is working with LGBTQ teens in GetOut, a nonprofit mentor program he’s started. A few times a week, before and after school, they meet with their advisor(s) to help them cope with their issues, whatever they may be.
The student Declan seems to need to spend the most time with, Micah Johnson, is seventeen and could become the first AFL player to be already out when drafted. Micah was outed when caught with his boyfriend in his last school, and the new school he’s transferred to seems to be a bit more tolerant, but he still has issues both there and at home, with his parents. Plus he’s angsty, unruly, sullen, miserable, troubled, and just an overall pain, who Simon actively dislikes, and the feeling is mutual.
While Declan’s tied up with Micah’s issues, Simon gets a shock when he finds out that the reason Coby has been so secretive lately is that he’s dating Simon’s nemesis, Jasper Brunswick. Yes, the same man who was involved in the fight on the bridge with Simon in the last book. To say that Simon isn’t happy about this is an understatement. Naturally, he brings his troubles home with him, so Declan is now pacifying Micah at the mentoring program and Simon at home. Thankfully, even when this couple has issues, they rarely carry them over to the next day, finding that the resolution to their problems is usually an apology, and this is most often done by Simon since he’s usually the one who created the argument. They are just so ying and yang, so perfect together, I always exhale an enraptured sigh when we get a glimpse into their private time as they snuggle up and repeat their vow of love to each other.
There’s quite a bit of emotional turmoil in the story, mostly surrounding Micah, but secondarily surrounding the Jasper/Coby relationship. When everything comes to a head, Dec and Simon end up taking a road trip, along with their bestie, Francine, and both Coby and Jaspar, now that Simon has finally accepted him in Coby’s life. The trip is to find Micah, who has run away, but the trip serves a greater purpose than a simple search. It explores the emotional issues between both Dec and Simon and Jaspar and Simon, and remarkably, it’s Simon who ultimately helps Micah after a heart to heart on the beach. Once he leaves, Dec surprises Simon behind the sand dunes, where more takes place than a simple sand rash. And readers will be happy to know that the guys plan to stay together much longer than simply through the next installment of this beloved series. Yes, the good news is the author indicates that we’ll be getting more of this couple in the future.
I highly recommend this series if you are a fan of M/M romance without explicit sex scenes but with explicit emotion. This is a couple we’d all love to meet. Reading this story generates the feeling of friends reunited after several years’ absence, and shows readers the insight into what it means to truly love someone with all your heart. This one is romance with a capital R. Don’t miss out.