Out of Bounds

outofboundsTitle: Out of Bounds
Author: Viki Lyn
Publisher: LooseId
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (155 PDF pages)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

A guest review by Tj

Summary Review: A very moving and realistic exploration of an ex professional football player’s struggle with coming out.

The Blurb:

Titan Douglas has a brilliant NFL career of legendary statistics until he blows out his knee. For two years he mourns the loss of his career, status and lifestyle — until the day he wakes up with a strange man in his bed and realizes he needs to go home. Slowly, he rebuilds his life, keeping his sexuality safely secret.

After a painful breakup, Chandler Stowe leaves behind Los Angeles with all its memories and returns to his hometown to take care of his parents’ estate. Then Chandler meets Titan and his heart leaps back to life. But a relationship with a closeted gay man is risky. When the town folks turn against Chandler and want him to leave, Chandler’s not so sure his lover will get his back.

Titan must determine what his heart truly longs for — and if he willing to step out of bounds for a chance at true love.

The Review:

Artist Chandler moved from LA to the small town of Cholla Arizona where he grew up, initially to take care of his parents’ estate. But Chandler decides to stay in town for a while and lick his wounds from the heartbreak of being dumped by his ex for a much younger model. Well that and he can’t face returning to LA and seeing all of their friends as half a couple or go to any of the places where they used to go. So here he was, hiding in the small town in which he grew up. Thanks to his friend Robyn’s prodding, he was at least filling some of his free time with teaching an art class at the high school. That’s where he meets the football coach/ex NFL player Ti. Although Chandler is certain that Ti is as straight as they come, he could swear there was some kind of spark between them.

When Chandler tells Ti that he needs to find some warehouse space to work on his art, Ti offers to sell him a piece of his land (he has a large family plot) for him to build a studio on, since there are no warehouses in Cholla. Therein lies the stage for them to be alone as Ti offers to take Chandler out to see the land. Alone in the fields, Ti makes a move on Chandler and they end up frotting. (Boy, I love a good frot! And it was pretty sexy to read about. Why isn’t there more frottage in m/m books?) Sorry, back to the review – I got distracted by the hot men rubbing off. 😉 As soon as the deed is done, Ti is suddenly very cold towards Chandler and tells him that he’s straight, making Chandler realize how deeply in the closet he is. To put him at ease, Chandler assures Ti that he has no intention of telling anyone about what happened and would actually just like to forget it. Chandler knows that sex with a closeted man is a one time, dead end road, and expecting more is just courting heartache.

But forgetting Ti is damn near impossible, especially with working in the same small town high school together. And for Ti, as much as he wants to  just shove everything back in the closet, their little afternoon delight won’t let him go. Out of sheer need to help and maybe even be near him, Ti offers Chandler his grandfather’s studio (conveniently on Ti’s property) to work in. Now they will be in close proximity day and night and the inevitable happens.

I must say that as  a gay man, I found Ti’s struggle to be very realistic. Coming out is a very scary proposition, with the uncertainty of how loved ones will react, and the very real possibility of rejection. Without the safety net of a partner, friends or a loving and accepting family, it can be damn near impossible to come out. So Ti’s decision to stay closeted makes perfect sense, especially in light of his fame as an ex NFL player and the underlying fear of losing his coaching job at the high school.  Viki Lyn manages to convey all of these feelings very effectively and I felt complete sympathy for Ti’s predicament. There are many, many LGBT people in the world who are terrified of coming out, and for good reasons.

The characters of Ti and Chandler are very well drawn and act in such a natural manner that I could see them existing in real life. Actually the entire story is so well written that I could picture it as a movie. That’s when I know a book is good, when the story comes alive in my head. The secondary characters of Mary, Ti’s sister, Alan, Chandler’s ex and several more minor inhabitants of Cholla are all convincingly portrayed and engaging in their interactions with the protagonists. The townsfolk who turn against Chandler at one point in the story are a very real portrayal of how people sometimes act when scared of something that they don’t understand. You only need watch the nightly news to witness this in action.

I hope that this didn’t sound preachy, but I wanted to impress upon you all that what Viki Lyn accomplished here is very impressive and moved me deeply. I loved Ti and Chandler and their journey evoked many emotions in me from fear to that “stupid grin on my face” joy. And don’t fret, they do get their HEA and it is very satisfying. Please don’t miss the opportunity to experience this touching and very moving story.

36 comments

  • Hi TJ,

    Great review, bought and read the book after this rec. I really enjoyed it. My only negative was I wish it was longer and had explored the after of “coming out”.

    I realize this is m/m romance not m/m lit, but I appreciated the added realism of the bullying.

    Bullying of LBGT teens is a hot topic right now in the U.S.. On you tube a video campaign called “It Gets Better” is aimed at at risk teens by out LBGT celebrites. This is a very “current” issue unfortunately but I’m glad its being addressed openly. Check it out

    Reply
    • Thank you Reggie. I can tell that you enjoyed Out of Bounds, since you wished it was longer. That’s great to hear. It would have been good to have more on how Ti and Chandler managed after his coming out, but who knows, there’s always the chance of a sequel. The realism was a big part of what I loved about this book.
      I have seen some of the “It Gets Better” videos. There are a lot of stars joining in to get this message out to young people, and it’s a very good cause. I’m hoping that all of the publicity will make a real difference. Thanks for mentioning this and stopping by to share your thoughts.

      Reply
  • Yeah bullying is a really tough topic with me… I just think the pedophile accusations were really severe and the adults in this town should have handled it differently. Made me feel like they had no integrity.

    Reply
    • Hi Sunshine – That’s understandable. I hate when I read or hear about bullying since I have gone through some tough times in my own life. As for the accusations, I was really angry during that part of the book, but sadly similar things do happen in real life. Some parents do not want gay people to teach their children and react out of fear of something that they just don’t understand. This is part of the reasoning behind Coming Out Day and Month, to make people aware that there are many gay people in the world and everyone knows someone who is gay, although some may not be out. But I do agree that it was hard to read about at times. I really appreciate your opinion on this.

      Reply
  • I didn’t like this story at all… The characters totally drove me insane with their inability to set limits or say no when needed to.

    Reply
    • Hi Sunshine – I am so sorry that Out of Bounds was a disappointment. I’ve also read many highly rated books that just didn’t do it for me either, so I understand the frustration. I always chalk it up to personal taste of the reviewer vs. my tastes. Hopefully there will be something else reviewed that you’ll like better. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  • I feel I should clarify that my “unfortunately” comment was meant for only parts of the story, as I hope most have deduced already *g* … And also, I sure did not mean to convey that I think artwork is shallow, sheesh, I’m a painter myself. Must be the cold I have addling my brain….

    Thanks Wave for bringing over the name of the cover artist, April Martinez.

    Reply
  • For those who are interested in the cover art, April Martinex was the artist and she did a wonderful job. This cover will definitely make it on my list of Top 25 covers this year. 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m with you Wave. This is at the top of my list too. The book was so good that I forgot to mention the fantastic cover in my review, but I did notice it right away when I got the book.

      Reply
  • I just finished reading this story.l Loved it. Wonderfully developed characters and setting and I felt the story a very realistic portrayal (unfortunately) of what many go or are going through in their lives and various relationships. I highly recommend it.

    On a more shallow note, yes, I too feel the cover art (for once!) does great justice to how I envisioned the characters. I didn’t really give it a good look until now. Nice job.

    Reply
    • Hi Dianne,
      I’m so pleased that you loved the book as well. You know, we read and review these books in a bit if a bubble and really appreciate the opinion of other readers, whether they agree or disagree with us. So, thank you very much for stopping by to let us know how the book affected you.
      And I completely agree that this has a perfect cover. It’s very rare that the cover matches how the characters are described in the book.

      Reply
  • Really good review! On the superficial side (and more importantly of course) Chandler is a looker even though he’s clothed and in the background. That is Chandler right? I figured the NFL jock would be the one with the biceps, mmm yummy ones too… 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Ebi. I didn’t even mention the cover art, but this one actually is a very good representation of the 2 characters as they were described in the book. In which case Chandler would be the hot guy in the background. And Ti’s not hard on the eyes either. LOL

      Reply

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