Erryn reviews ‘Kick Off (The District Line Book 1’ by C.F. White. The ebook was published March 13, 2018 and was 302 pages.The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Piers Ryman, released December 11, 2019 and is 7 hrs and 38 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I’m always game to try a new author.
What happens when opposite sides of the track collide?
East Londoner Jay Ruttman has only ever wanted one thing: to be a professional footballer. But after a disastrous brawl on the pitch gets him released from his pro-academy, he has to follow plan B and enrolls as a university sports scholar. Head down, train hard, and get scouted is his motto…until he crashes into the man who might just shoot his dreams out of the park.
Kensington elite Sebastian (Seb) Saunders has only ever wanted one thing: to be a rock star. But his father has other plans for him, including taking the helm of his multimillion pound new business venture across the pond. Live it up, chase the dream, and rock out for as long as he can is his mantra…until he crashes into the man who might just rock his world off its scale.
Jay and Seb live at opposite ends of London’s District Line, separated by wealth, status, family traditions, and their own lifelong dreams. This startling and gritty contemporary romance story sees them both having to overcome barriers, face fears, and beat rejection to fight for the love they need to achieve it all.
The tag line for this book is what happens when opposite sides of the track collide? It’s perfect because of course there’s the literal collision and then all the mini collisions afterward. Talk about two men who should be together, but are facing a million obstacles.
Jay Ruttman is a footballer. It’s all he’s ever wanted and mostly what he’s good at. He’s in uni studying psychology, but his heart is in the game. He almost made it to the pros but got sidetracked. Now he’s waiting for a scout from a pro team to come and see him play. See how good he is. Pluck him from obscurity and take him to the big leagues. Pull him out of his working-class life into something amazing.
Seb Saunders is rich. Well, his dad’s rich, and Seb has no problems taking daddy’s money. He’s in uni because that’s the way to keep the taps flowing with cash. He’s got a ‘job’ helping out with his dad’s company and he only half pays attention. The truth is that he wants to be a guitarist. It’s all he’s ever wanted. He belongs to a band with two other guys and they haven’t made it big yet, but they do have potential.
So when Jay and Seb collide on the campus at uni, they truly are coming from different worlds. Rich versus poor. A sloppy student versus one who takes his studies seriously. Guitarist versus footballer. There is also the little matter of their sexuality. Neither man is truly ‘out’ and both knowing coming out will spell disaster. For Seb it’s all about daddy’s approval, and for Jay it’s the little matter that there are no professional out footballers. Plenty of gay ones, undoubtedly, but none who’ve been brave enough to show the world who they truly are.
Where does that leave the men? In a push and pull. There’s attraction, to be sure, but Jay is completely inexperience and Seb isn’t much further along. They are new to true intimacy – physical and emotional. They are new to a same-sex relationship. I felt my heart break as I saw all the obstacles piled up before them, keeping them from being their authentic selves.
Then Seb’s father steps in and it looks like there’s no hope for the men.
I won’t spoil the ending, but there is an HFN and more books to come. I can’t wait to see how the men overcome all their problems because, of course, I want them to have their happy ending.
Piers Ryman is a new-to-me narrator and I thought he did a great job. I don’t know from English accents, but he certainly put in a strong performance and I’ll definitely listen to more of his work. So, sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next book.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
Brought up in the relatively small town in Hertfordshire, I managed to do what most other residents of the town try and fail. Leave.
Going off to study at a West London University, I realised there was a whole city out there just waiting to be discovered, so much like Dick Whittington before, I never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold; slowly coming to the realisation that it is mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of stare at them endlessly whilst holding a polystyrene foam cup of watered down coffee.
Eventually I moved from West to East along that vast District Line, and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles, and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job, creating a life, a home, a family.
Having worked in Higher Education for the most proportion of my adult life, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper, having written stories as a child but never having the confidence to show them to the world. Now embarking on this writing malarkey, I cannot stop. So strap in, it’s a bumpy ride from here on in.