Drew and Vince (Jock Dorm #2)

Title: Drew and Vince (Jock Dorm #2)
Author: Bobby Michaels
Publisher: Loose ID
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

THE BLURB

Gregg Halversohn brings his younger brother Drew to the university on a wrestling scholarship. Drew is running away from the same rejection Gregg had faced at home because he’s gay. Drew, at first, figures he’s made a terrible mistake by coming to the university when he ends up rooming with Vince Collucci, a wrestler Drew had seen at a tournament and was strongly attracted to. He falls in love with Vince and is just about to finally tell him how he feels, when Vince has a surprising announcement of his own.

Can two jocks find love together?

Jock Dorm Series

THE REVIEW

Drew and Vince is the second book in prolific author Bobby Michaels’ Jock Dorm series. I am reviewing the three-book series in order. Book one, Dar and Gregg, is reviewed here.

Unexpectedly and joyfully reunited with older brother Gregg and rescued from his terrible living situation, eighteen-year-old Drew has arrived on State University’s doorstep with a wrestling scholarship and a new life. Drew had been living in fear that his hyper-religious parents would find out he was gay and disown him, the same thing that happened to Gregg three years earlier. Assigned to rooming with hunky Vince, a fellow wrestler and someone Drew has been attracted to ever since he snuck away to see Gregg wrestle at the state championships, his challenge now is to keep that attraction to himself because Vince isn’t gay, right? Vince is known across campus as a ladies’ man with a reputation of “bangin’” as many chicks as he can get his hands on. But things are not always what they seem; unknown to Drew, Vince had come out to Dar and Gregg several months before and is drawn to his new roommate as well. Once everything comes out, so to speak, can they work through the multiple challenges that life throws at them?

Even though I included this in my review of Dar and Gregg, I thought I’d repeat it for those who happen upon this review first. I am a big fan of Bobby Michaels from back in his Nifty days, reading just about everything he has published under the name RimPig there. If you haven’t already read something by him, there are a few things to note before diving into any of his stories, including this one. First, I find his writing to be honest, opinionated, heart-felt and more-often-than-not very sexually graphic. He makes no secret about where he stands on social and political issues, and many times his stories are commentaries on one or more subjects, such as prejudice, gay marriage, gays having/adopting children, gay coming of age/coming out, parental acceptance and support — or not — of homosexuality of their children, religion, politics, war, the Marines, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” There is also no doubt that these are guys who love guys, with prevalent kinks including fit, athletic bodies, raunchy man scents, and rimming sessions that go on for days (note that there are other, less conventional ones on Nifty that don’t appear in his commercially-published works). Additionally, there is a healthy dose of autobiography in his stories; he has many decades of both writing and loving (his love life is legendary) and his stories usually touch upon some aspect of his many experiences. He is not to every reader’s taste, but I think his stories are worth it.

In some ways, I liked this second book both better and less than Dar and Gregg, which I will try to explain.

For me, the beginning of this story was like reading Dar and Gregg all over. The nerd/jock element may have been missing, but the instant attraction, the try-to-hide-the-attraction-then-the-reveal-of-feelings/I-want-a-committed-relationship-not-just-sex/the narrator-is-a-virgin aspects, the smexxin scenes and their kinks, the dialog all reminded me of the previous story — to a point. These early scenes, while not making me dislike the book — and I do like this author’s style — made me say “I hope things change up a bit because I’m ready for something new.”

I got my wish. From chapter five onward it became its own story to me. It became angstier — though never overly so — with conflicts the previous book didn’t have. We are introduced to Vince’s family, the members of whom have varying levels of acceptance of Vince and Drew’s relationship; there is a health crisis; there is an unexpected addition to their family. We also are treated to a longer timeframe of the story, which covers about five or so years, allowing us to witness perhaps a more solid relationship than in the previous book. The challenges thrown at them make them stronger as a couple, I thought, and I liked watching them deal with the issues as they come along.

I liked both protags, young men finding their way in the world: Drew, who has known he was gay for a long time, but had to live oppressed for years, and Vince, who just recently discovered his true sexuality. Once again, we have atypical jocks. Like Gregg, they are sensitive and willing to let their feelings show, not matter what those feelings are. Guilt, shame, love, lust, fear all make appearances here. But make no mistake — our heroes are men.

Because there is more focus on the internal and external conflicts and plot that happens after they get together, I found there was less smexxin overall, which for me was an improvement over the last story where I found myself skipping whole scenes. Don’t get me wrong; there is plenty of raunchy man smells and rimming and BJs to go around, just less description of them.

In this book we are also introduced to David, who is Vince’s older priest brother. We already know that the next book is devoted to his story, and the author took the opportunity to lay groundwork for that that here. Not only are issues around religion brought up, but we also get to know the Collucci family well, allowing for the possibility of some familial conflicts to carry over into book three as well.

A few things/niggles:

Although Drew and Vince become friends first over the course of several months, it happens just about all off-screen and not only did I feel denied of watching that happen, but their declarations of love and commitment felt very fast to me — almost too fast. In fact, there are parts of the book just felt rushed to me, and that could be a product of fitting five years into the story. It sometimes jumps months or even a year or more, and there were times where I was a little confused as to where I was in the timeline.

As is common in stories by this author, wanting/acquiring children happens in an almost insta-child way. Though this doesn’t necessarily bother me, it is possible that some readers may find the relative ease in which both a child (or children) is made available and the legal process — if there is one — gone through as being an exercise in suspending your disbelief.

As I said in my review for Dar and Gregg, the smexxin is quite graphic and if you are turned off by raunchy man smells, rimming and some serious dirty dialog, this may not be the book for you.

OVERALL

Once again, Bobby Michaels gives us a great romance in Drew and Vince, the second installment of the Jock Dorm series. Book three is waiting for me to re-read and review next, so I think I’ll go do that now.

8 comments

  • Hi Lynn! I agree with you about the timing of them getting together at the start of the book. I got whiplash & that turned me off a bit. But I did appreciate that we got to see them together over many years. Also, I felt the scenes with Vince’s family seemed more preachy than actual conversations. Actually in all 3 books, I felt the family coming out conversations were a bit off. I did really like this book, but slightly less than Dar & Gregg and David & Conner

  • Lynn
    You did an incredible job on this review, even better than your usual excellent work. 😀
    *
    I haven’t read Book 3 as yet because I’m waiting for your review, but so far this is my favourite book in this series.

    *
    As you said in the review, Bobby’s writing is not for the faint of heart, especially in this series. He has many other books that are a little less raunchy, although not by much 🙂 One I like a lot and have read quite a few times is Veterans: For The Love of the Corps reviewed here
    http://www.gaybook.reviews/?p=173
    To me this is Bobby at his best and he writes with emotion in this book that I’m not sure he has ever surpassed.
    *
    JD 2: Drew and Vince is a terrific book and I love the characters and the way that the story spanned years rather than a few months. However, you are right to include a warning about Bobby’s politics and the amount and kind of sex in the book, since the more conservative readers may not appreciate these aspects of his writing. Also, people do say that writers include a part of themselves in their stories, and maybe Bobby had an unfulfilled wish to be a parent at some point in his life which is why kids and adoption are featured in some of his books..

    • Thanks Wave. Despite the few issues I had, I really did like this book and think, with not having reviewed book three yet, it’s my favorite in the series so far as well. I agree that the span of the story had a lot to do with it, as well as throwing some wrenches into the plot. Book three promises even further conflict and higher emotion, so I am eager to finish up that review for posting early this week.

  • Yes, I enjoyed this one as well. I found the health “twist” interesting in how it was written and handled. And I agree, the declaration of love felt very rushed – and I thought it was! I didn’t realize that apparently months had passed; totally somehow missed that…. 🙂

    • Good evening Sherry. Even though several months pass before Vince gets up the nerve to talk to Drew about his orientation, because it almost all happens off page, it felt like no time had passed. I would have liked to have seen more interaction between the two.

  • I have never read any sports theme m/m novels. After reading this review, I’m interested in trying one.

    • Hi Tracey. Though these are two very good books, please note that there is little wrestling that occurs on page. It is much more focused on the relationship, the conflicts and their resolution, and the smexxin. It is obvious, however, that our heroes are athletes.

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