Player and the Prude

Title & buy link: Player and the Prude
Author: Daisy Harris
Cover Artist: Jinger Heaston
Buy link: Amazon.com
Publisher: Siren/Bookstrand
Genre: M/M contemporary
Length: Novella (101 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie S

Review summary: Conflicted college boy who dreams of rough sex meets sexy, doing-it-for-a-dare college playboy. Angst and fireworks ensue!

Blurb
Brooks Price loves a challenge. So when a frenemy dares him to sleep with a dorky, over-tall film major, brooks amps up his considerable charm.

Matt Porter can’t guess why Brooks is flirting with him. Raised religious, Matt doesn’t believe in sex before relationships. Unfortunately, Brooks is all about sex, and Matt doubts Brooks is interested in anything else.

Slowly, Matt chips away at Matt’s armor—taking him on dates, asking for kisses, holding hands—baby steps, none of which Matt can resist or refuse. However, when Brooks pushes too far, Matt freaks out.

Despite his stoic exterior, Matt’s painfully conflicted over his sexuality—scared of his darker desires, worried about hurting Brooks. The pair explores boundaries, but when things turns rough and Matt unleashes his inner wants, he doesn’t know if he can overcome his shame about sex in order to be with the man he’s growing to love.

Review
This is book 4 in the Men of Holsum College series and while I’ve enjoyed them all, so far this is my favourite 🙂

Lacrosse-player Brooks is from a wealthy social-climbing family. Rich and gorgeous, he’s slept with pretty much every hot guy on campus. His teammate and on/off fuck buddy Hunter says he’ll give Brooks $500 if he manages to sleep with Matt Porter, the tall, geeky guy who’s overseeing the lacrosse team’s community service project. Hunter is the son of a senator and acts like a real jerk, but Brooks is determined to use his time at college to gain valuable networking opportunities for the future and so he puts up with Hunter’s crap. He accepts the bet and goes straight after Matt—who might be a nerd and wear horrible clothes, but he’s big and tall and Brooks is sick of being with smaller guys that he can push around emotionally and physically. Matt, he thinks, might be a challenge.

Matt isn’t sure what to do when Brooks comes after him all flirty. Matt’s had a thing for Brooks since he first arrived at college, but he’s always thought Brooks was out of his league. Plus he knows Brooks is a player, and that makes Matt angry—and horny. Also there’s the fact that Brooks once dated his housemate Gabe, even though Gabe says it wasn’t anything serious. Indeed, Gabe actively encourages Matt to show some interest in Brooks. Gabe says he’s worried that Matt is going to be alone forever and that he should make an effort to flirt, meet guys, and have some fun.

But it’s not that simple for Matt. He was raised in a very strict religious household and was told that anything to do with sex was a sin, and that homosexuality was a terrible thing. Even the naked form is something Matt has issues with, and on their first not-really-a-date date, Brooks is startled by Matt’s vehemence about erotic art. Matt admits part of his background, and Brooks is intrigued. He decides to coax Matt out of his shell, and he’s Matt’s first kiss.

Brooks decides he wants to be Matt’s first everything else, too, but he knows he has to take things slow or risk scaring Matt away for good. For maybe the first time in his adult life, Brooks finds that what he wants doesn’t come easy—but he’s prepared to wait and put the effort in, and over time, Matt begins to open up, and they start to fall in love.

Except the bet is still on-going, and Hunter keeps asking about it… and Matt still hasn’t given voice to his deepest, darkest desires…

This is one of those books that felt like it was written just for me 😆 I’m a real sucker for characters with huge internal conflicts, so I adored Matt. I found his struggle to accept himself to be very believable, and while all of the Men of Holsum College books have a light-hearted style that remains light even through more serious scenes, this one seemed deeper than the other books in the series. Matt feels so much, the poor lamb, and he’s so confused—I just wanted him to work through his issues and be happy! His anger at his emotions was particularly realistic, and his fear that he was somehow a freak for wanting rough sex.

Matt thinks his desires make him a bad person, and I liked how when he started the relationship with Brooks, it wasn’t a case of the ‘magical healing cock’ that cures all ills. Instead, things became more confusing because Matt doesn’t know how to communicate what he’s feeling to Brooks, and while what Matt wants is a massively big deal to him, to Brooks it’s not all that kinky… but saying ‘oh, is that all?’ is not the best way to encourage someone to come out into the open about their innermost fantasies.

I also liked the way Brooks shed his playboy image (as well as ditching horrible Hunter) and discovered a kinder, more patient side to himself as he went further into the relationship with Matt. I’m a sucker too for slutty characters being tamed by a special guy, especially if that guy can make them rediscover their sensual sides—and this book plays that trope to the max and made me very happy 🙂 I especially liked the compromises Brooks was willing to make to put Matt at his ease, particularly when this was set against the compromises Brooks’ parents expect him to make in order to gain social position.

All the books in this series are worth a read because they’re fun and easy, but this one really touched me, too. Recommended!

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