Melissa reviews The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair Published September 9th 2017 by Riptide Publishing, 304 pages.
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.
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I took a chance on a new-to-me author because the blurb really intrigued me. I like the “in the closet” trope because I think it will be an angstier read, and I love angst. 🙂
I’ve never read this author before (and according to goodreads, this is her first novel), and it’s always a crapshoot when you read a new author, throw in college, football (or sports in general) star, hiding in the closet and of course religion/ family pressure. It could be a mess of a book or a really, really good one. This book falls into the latter category.
I was of course apprehensive about what to expect from these characters but I was delightfully entertained through the whole book. I really liked Matt and Trevor, not just as a couple but as people, period. They were real, which sometimes is hard to pull off when dealing with young characters. I did have a few eye rolling moments but they didn’t hurt and it was mostly because they did something silly/stupid, but I could understand why they did what they did, or said what they said or whatever. They have feelings for each other and that doesn’t always equal level headed thinking.
Matt is the virgin star quarterback hiding in the closet, Trevor is the regular guy on campus who works hard for his money any way he can earn it, so he can stay in school. On the surface these two don’t really have a lot in common and should not work as a couple, but when you really look at the person and not just their outward persona, they have so much in common: They are both smart (yeah Matt isn’t a dumb jock in any way), they are kind and caring, loyal to their friends, they like kinky sex (though Matt is still learning), and they both come from families that look down upon homosexuality.
What I found the best part of this story is that there were no overdone histrionics just for dramatic purposes to create storyline conflict. No, the drama and angst felt genuine and natural – exactly how two people coping with hiding their relationship (and all the reasons why) should act.
Matt is scared to lose his scholarship because he needs his degree to get a job after college. He knows what the other guys on the team would say if they knew he was gay. Yes, Matt’s close friends know and support him, but that’s not always enough. Trevor is very sweet and understanding, sassy too. 😉 And he gets that Matt isn’t ready to come out. There are moments the closet gets a little claustrophobic for Trevor, but they work it out (sometimes with the help of their friends) like mature adults (mostly, haha).
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and thought the writing was great. I will definitely read more from this author and really hope she writes a story about Drew, Trevor’s friend and roommate. Talk about sass!! 😀
To sum it up I just LIKED these characters and their friends. The sex between these guys was awesome, FYI. Trevor agrees to tutor Matt in the art of gay sex and Trevor takes his tutoring responsibilities very seriously. Everything about this story worked for me and that epilogue is so sweet, but alas too short.