Title: TLC 101
Author: Janey Chapel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (76 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Sports psychologist Kip Rigsbee feels like an outsider, not part of the players’ circle and not accepted by the coaches of the college team he’s been hired to help. But that hasn’t kept him from feeling the gravitational pull of defensive coordinator Greg Browne, despite the fact that Greg dismisses Kip’s methods as “motivational bullsh*t.” An accident brings the unacknowledged attraction between the two men to the surface, but the common ground of their erotic connection may not be enough to help Kip overcome Greg’s determination to keep his personal life separate from his job.
Kip Rigsbee and Coach Greg Browne are on opposite sides of the ledger when it comes to coaching techniques for the football players on their team and in their charge and they are not exactly close off the field either, so it was quite a surprise when Kip received an SOS from Greg after he broke his ankle and ended up in Emergency. When Kip showed up at the hospital, Greg was giving the staff a hard time and they were only too pleased to release him into Kip’s care.
It was clear that Greg could not manage the stairs to his apartment after the accident since he lived on the upper floor so the men agreed that the best solution would be for them to share Kip’s apartment on the ground floor for three days, until Greg was fitted with a walking cast. Although they had never been friends, Kip and Greg lived in the same building because Greg had recommended the apartment to Kip when he was looking for a place to live, after arriving from out of town. Kip had had the hots for Greg since he first saw him but he wasn’t even sure if the man was gay. Greg was not exactly open about himself and his sexual orientation, as he felt it was no one’s business, and it wasn’t until Kip was helping him out of his tighty whities (because he couldn’t manage to get out of them on his own with a cast), that Kip realized they were both batting for the same team.
Greg was your typical jock who kept everything locked up inside. He didn’t want anyone to know any more about him than he chose to reveal. His feelings for Kip were complex. Although he was attracted to him he didn’t play where he lived or worked, so most of his sexual encounters with other men happened when he was out of town, and he never indicated any interest in Kip. Now that he had Greg where he wanted him, in his bed (or on his futon):-D Kip showed why he was so good at his job – he broke down Greg’s barriers before he knew what hit him and soon Greg was begging for more and more sex.
I loved these two characters because they seemed so real and opposite. For Kip there was life outside the game having been a part of football royalty all his life with a very supportive extended family, while Greg lived the game of football to the exclusion of personal relationships. Kip’s apartment was typical of what one would expect a guy’s apartment to look like if he were living alone – clothes strewn everywhere, laundry not done, unmade bed, packing boxes everywhere even though he had been living in his new apartment for at least a month, while Greg was a neat freak who colour coded everything; his apartment was the exact opposite to Kip’s and it killed him to live in the untidy mess that was Kip’s place.
The prose was quite good and the dialogue was typical of what one would assume two guys would think and/or say to each other. The story was well done and I liked the way there was a lot of give and take between the protags in terms of their romantic relationship. As is normal in M/M books, the sex was very hot when it happened but there was emotion underneath the hot sex.
There were a couple of areas where I had a few niggles and perhaps had to suspend disbelief. One had to do with whether Greg with his broken left ankle could drive – even though he did crash his car in the hospital grounds. If the car had an automatic transmission then I guess it was possible, but somehow, given Greg’s characterization, I would have thought that his Sebring convertible would be a stick shift, in which case there was no way he would have been able to drive with a broken left ankle. The other area had to do with having sex the day after the accident when Greg was in such agony, but again, with some juggling of positions I suppose the sex could happen in real life, with a lot of discomfort but not enough pain to stop him.
The writing was crisp and funny and Janey Chapel did a good job with the characters who were fresh even though the plot was not original. Here’s a small example of some of the better lines in the book. In this scene Greg is naked –
“Put that thing away,” Kip told him.
“You could poke somebody’s eye out.”
Realizing his faux pas because Greg didn’t appear to think what he said was funny, Kip compounded his error by this line
“It’s all right, Greg,” Kip said, backing off a little,
handing him a towel. “No biggie.”
That made Greg snort. “Speak for yourself,” he
muttered, holding the towel around him with one hand …
I think this book was well written with likable characters and a realistic ending. I definitely enjoyed and recommend TLC 101.