Quarterback Sneak

Title: Quarterback Sneak
Author: Pepper Espinoza
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary GLBT (M/M)
Length: Novella (23K words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Can an athlete overcome his greatest challenge yet for the only man he’s ever loved?

The headline “Quarterbacks Garnett, Patton, Rumored to be Gay” greets Cache Garnett the morning after he wins the football championship, and defeats his biggest rival, Eric Patton. Facing a potentially career-ending knee injury, the last thing Cache wants to deal with is speculation about his personal life. If the injury doesn’t end his career, the swirling rumors could.

Especially since all the speculation and rumors are true…


In Quarterback Sneak Pepper Espinoza has written a tale about 2 quarterbacks who had been football rivals since childhood, trading victories over time. But football is not the only thing they have in common. They are both gay in a sport that abhors homosexuals and fans are not forgiving to their favourite athletes should sexual orientation rear its ugly head. When Cache and Eric found out in college that they were attracted to each other they had a one-time sexual encounter after a big college bowl game, but don’t see each other until 1 year later when they have sex again. The guys realize then that their emotions were seriously involved and that they were not looking for a one night stand but a relationship, which they had for 9 years, until they are outed at the worst possible time. Do they confirm or deny that they are gay? If they do, obviously their careers would be over. Would their love for each other withstand the media spotlight?

This story has all the elements I love and I obviously I did. But I did wonder at one point in the story, when Eric talked to Cache about his abuse at the hands of his father until he went away to college, why he allowed it to continue for so long — after all, he was a big guy and could have stood up for himself. However this is a very small part of the story. It was clear that Eric really loves Cache but the reverse was not as obvious until the end, as Cache seems to be more concerned about his career and the impact that any revelation of his sexual orientation would have on it, while Eric just wants to be with Cache as his life partner. When Cache suffers what appears to be a career-ending injury all bets are off and he re-evaluates the importance of Eric in his life.

Most of the regular readers on this blog know that I’m a sports junkie, therefore when I read an erotic M/M story with a sports theme that’s written by one of my favourite authors I’m in heaven and usually inhale the book. This was definitely the case with Quarterback Sneak. However, it was difficult to rate this book because while the story was probably as well crafted as every book I have read by this author, I didn’t really like one of the main characters, Cache, because he seemed quite self centered and not as committed to the relationship as Eric. It happens!

In this book Pepper Espinoza delivers another well researched story about 2 football heroes who just happen to fall in love with each other. The plot worked, with some fine secondary characters especially Cache’s manager Mimi who is a bit ‘over the top’ and very concerned about the impact of any revelations on her own job. I didn’t get to know as much about Eric as I would have liked because the story focuses mostly on Cache, who is a complex character, although it’s not a 1st person POV and perhaps that’s why I could not get into Eric’s head. Clearly, he loved Cache more than he was loved in return and he was willing to give up his career to be with Cache. I only wish that I had more time with his character. But that aside, I did find Quarterback Sneak enjoyable with the elements I look for in a sports oriented story.


  • Pepper
    I love all your books. In this case Cache did not appear to be hero material, for me anyway, although in the end he did make up for it and I forgave him.:) I thought it was just me and I had no idea that other reviewers wanted to damage the other knee. I wouldn’t go that far but I would admit that I didn’t love him, much. *g*

    If you do write another book starring Eric and Cache I want more of Eric – he’s so sweet and he clearly loves Cache. A sequel would work for me.

  • The response to Cache is basically people want to beat him over the head or break his other knee. Which I totally understand because there were moments I wanted to break his other knee. For me, I think, the issue with Cache was that it never occurred to him that he could love something more than football–that is, it never occurred to him that he was allowed to have a higher priority than football. Which is probably why people have the sense he wasn’t as invested–or feel the urge to bludgeon him over the head, lol.

    But I have high hopes for those crazy kids! I was about to mention those high hopes just now, and it occurred to me that it’s probably sequel material. Hmmm.

  • Pepper
    What I love about all your stories is that they are character driven. I thought you set out to make Cache ambivalent about the relationship to create a bit of tension and conflict. I really loved Eric though and thought he was hot. There were just nuances in Cache’s characterization that gave me the impression that he was not as much involved in the relationship.

    Did other reviewers come to the same conclusion? I don’t read other reviews because I don’t want them to influence me. I did love the book and read it again since I wrote the review.

  • Hi Wave. Thanks for the review 🙂 I’m a little bit bummed because judging from this review and the others I’ve received, I’m the only one who likes Cache. I think he loves Eric very deeply, and that’s why he held the press conference at the end (and lives with Eric and has a tattoo of his number), he just isn’t the emotionally aware person in the world. I obviously managed to convey the part about being emotionally unaware without managing to convey to the reader just how deep his feelings went.

  • Oh, fuck a duck. Are you serious? Good thing I bought that Elton John DVD for my mom the last week of December. I don’t buy much from Amazon.com, but I know you do and lots of other people too. I hate when they do things like that and don’t even have the courtesy of warning you first. Would it kill them to send a mail to all the members with Canadian addresses to say “hey, folks, watch it, from next January there’s a new tax on all exports to Canada????” Ghah. I hate when they do that. When Chapters started charging full shipping price for each pre-order (the free shipping appllies only to books already out anymore) they also didn’t sned a warning and I almost got caught and paid 25$ for shipping. Bastards. No mail or warning either.

  • Thanks Mary
    I’m going to check them out in amazon.ca. Did you know that effective January 1 amazon.com is now charging an import charge based on the value of the book or whatever you buy if you’re Canadian? I had the biggest shock with my latest purchases. So looks like I’ll be ordering from amazon.ca from now on unless my book or DVD is not available here.

  • Almost like being in love was published by Harper Collins in 2004. The copy I have is a trade paperback I got from a bargain place. Well worth the price. I’m tryign to write a review for the yahoogroup about it – which mean, as for 10 other books I need to review, I have a bunch of random handwritten notes about it on the inside of the back cover *g*

    Here’s the link to the publisher:

    And will you look at that! I just checked Amazon for more books by this author, and his other two books include one titled Changing Pitches: A Novel of Life and Baseball, and the other one Last Days of Summer is about a young man who start writing letters to his idol – a baseball player. And they have excellent ratings. Odds are that you’ve read them already, but who knows?

  • Hi Mary
    Welcome back!

    How you wound me – laughing about my comment about being a sports junkie *g*

    I fully understand that Cache would be ambivalent re his career. After all, he had worked all his life for it and he was very competitive. I just didn’t like his character as much as Eric’s. As I said in the review, even though this wasn’t a 1st person POV, it felt like it and I just wanted more time with Eric.

    When I reviewed Standish it was no secret that I hated the characters but I gave the book my highest rating because I thought the writing was brilliant.

    Which publisher released Almost Like Being In Love? It sounds familiar – hope I haven’t read it 🙂

  • You? A sports junkie? No way!!! :-p

    Characters are the main element in a story for me too, so I can understand a story being harder to enjoy if you don’t like them. But I think I can understand one of the heroes maybe not wanting to abandon his career for his relationship…who would want to choose between two cherished dreams, after all? It might not be what we want in a romance, but I think it’s realistic. I think I’d still like to read this one 😀

    Apeaking of sports stories, I read an excellent gay fiction that had a bit of sports in it last week, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE by Steve Kluger. Loved it, light and very funny. That nerd fell in love with the football jock (who returned it) when they were in high school and years later, he’s become a teacher and somwhat famous for being the only teacher able to interest his jock students to American history because he makes analogies with sports. Hilarious.


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I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports - especially baseball
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