Roughing the Passer (ESC Mavericks #1)

Roughing the Passer.Title: Roughing the Passer (ESC Mavericks #1)
Author: Alison Hendricks
Publisher: LoveLight Press
Release Date: 24th Oct, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Page Count: 189
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

They couldn’t be more different, and yet they might just be exactly what each other needs.

Garrett Barnes is no stranger to overcoming the odds. Forced to walk away from a Division I scholarship to take care of his family, Garrett was sure he’d never play football again. When an offer comes in from the ESC Mavericks–a school near his hometown–it seems like a dream come true. There’s only one catch: he’s expected to single-handedly save the worst team in the state.

Diego Ruiz has known his whole life that the deck is stacked against him. The harder he tries to fight it, the more it hurts when it knocks him back down. With a lifetime of disappointment to back him up, he’s stopped trying for anything more than mediocrity, both on and off the football field. If not for a promise he’d made years ago, he’d probably just be some nobody in a nowhere job.

So when Coach Ladner brings in some D1 “hero” to save the team, Diego is determined to show him exactly where hard work and perseverance get you–absolutely nowhere. Despite his best efforts, Garrett’s unwavering optimism starts to get under Diego’s skin. Caught on the verge of giving in, he relies on the one thing that’s never failed him: his ability to get curious straight boys into bed.

As the friction between them gives way to passion, the stakes of their former rivalry increase tenfold. With both men’s hearts–and a state title–on the line, there’s no time for playing games. But when Diego’s past comes back to remind him that everything eventually goes to hell, Garrett will have to convince him that some things are worth fighting for.

Roughing the Passer is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

“Roughing the Passer” by Alison Hendricks is the start of a new series, which is a spin-off of the “Eastshore Tigers” series. I have always enjoyed reading this writer and this time around she has given us another sport romance which had his ups and downs but with a great and satisfying HEA at the end.

Diego plays football on scholarship. Life has always let him down big time and he is positive that playing football and getting a decent education is not going to change a lot for him either. He is a talented player with a huge potential but he never gives his full effort. He goes through the motions and it does not help when his coach is a verbally abusive good for nothing.

Garrett Barnes is the new starting QB in Diego’s team. He is the golden boy who according to their coach will lead the team to victory. Garrett does not want to be treated as a hero but he do wants to give his all and play ball. He is optimistic and is positive that they can win with lots of practice and training.

Garrett’s efforts and attitude towards making a difference riles Diego to no end. Diego has a plan to get under the golden boy’s skin. He just have to flirt with the straight QB, accidentally show some skin and make him uncomfortable enough to lose his cool. Diego’s plan backfires royally when his supposed torment results in a hot as hell kissing session that leaves his head reeling. The golden boy is not so straight after all but can Diego hope for something more romantically for the first time in his life or will he get let down once again and left behind???? Read to find out!!!

I loved the entire sports part of the story. It’s a sport romance and the author has not skimped on the “on-field action” of the team at all. Their growth from a miserable team to a winning team was great and inspiring to watch. I loved how Garrett turns the team around with the help of Diego and get them the win they so deserved.

The story was angsty and emotional both with Diego’s baggages and Garrett’s stressful home life. Diego has been passed around in enough foster homes and let down by someone who he has trusted to love him so he is always ready to jump to the conclusion that Garrett will leave him too. He knows Garrett is the most dependable and solid person who will never let him down but he does not trust it to be true. Thus leading to angst which creates a very small gap between the couple but Diego realizes his mistakes quickly and able to make up for it in the best way he could.

Garrett is a very responsible human being who has single handedly kept his family together after a tragic accident that changes his life completely. He loves Diego and is always there for him. He always sees the best of every situation and his overall positive and trustworthy nature makes Diego fall for him hard.

I had a few issues with the overall story. First being, Garrett’s acknowledgement of his sexuality. Garrett is not gay or pretending to be straight. The first guy he has ever been attracted to is Diego so I wanted to see some angst in that department. It is a whole lotta confusing when someone suddenly finds out that they are not so straight after all but Garrett does not feel any confusion at all. I found that a little unbelievable.

Second, the lack of heat or chemistry between the MCs. There were few scenes but mostly everything was off the page. Ms. Hendricks’s previous characters have always had the right amount of heat to successfully show off a gfy relationship but it was completely missing here. Some well placed sexy scenes would have been really great in my opinion.

I have always enjoyed Ms. Hendricks’s books and hopefully this is the start of another winning series like the “Eastshore Tigers”. Recommended to all Football lovers out there!!!

ESC Mavericks Series

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Galley copy of Roughing the Passer provided by LoveLight Press in exchange of an honest review.

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