Crossing the Touchline (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: Crossing the Touchline (Auckland Med. #2)
Author: Jay Hogan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Sports
Page Count: 302
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5


What if you’ve worked your whole life for a dream, to play rugby for the most successful sports team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks?
What if that dream is so close you can smell it?
What if you meet someone?
What if you fall in love?
What if your dream will cost the man who’s stolen your heart?
And what if the dream changes?
Reuben Taylor has a choice to make.
Cameron Wano is that choice.

I love rugby so I was absolutely hyped to read this story of a young Kiwi rugby player striving to make the legendary All Blacks while struggling to figure out how to handle his attraction to his teammate’s brother, all the while adamantly staying in the closet. Reuben Taylor is a young talented player with a lot on his plate. His father is a homophobic hard@ss who runs roughshod over his sons Reuben and Craig. Craig’s son Cory is on the autism spectrum and needs diagnosis and help but Craig is too weak to stand up against his father and casts Reuben in the role of protector and provider.

When Reuben meets Cameron Wano, he is immediately smitten but believes he can never have a relationship with the lean, lithe charge nurse with the guyliner. Becoming an All Black and getting endorsement deals would finally free Reuben of his father’s toxicity and provide him with money for Cory’s therapy. But Reuben just can’t face becoming the first out All Black and Cam won’t go back into the closet for anyone, no matter how sexy.

Anything … between us … Is.Not.Happening. So what are you doing? If you want to keep your gay undercover, it’s maybe not the best idea to be seen talking to the guy wearing eyeliner, and who may as well have ‘I love dick’ tattooed on his forehead. I’m hardly a shrinking violet, yeah?

I like the premise of this story but the pacing almost made me DNF this book. At 300 pages, the book feels bloated with all the melodramatic scenes rehashing this central conflict between Reuben and Cam, as well as Reuben trying to get therapy for Cory and dealing with Craig’s excessive drinking. Sure the sex is very steamy and erotic but after a while, I found myself skimming the sizzling sex scenes because I didn’t get any sense of an emotional connection between the two MCs. There is no resolution to either situation until after page 250 or so, and while other readers may not feel the same, by this point I was done.

And a few minor niggles – there is some discrepancy on the time frame (mentioning how one year has passed, and into the second year, and then at another point referring to only a few months) and Cam is continually described by his use of eyeline/guyliner (over 20 times). “Crossing the Touchline” just did not work for me and I cannot recommend it, although please note “your mileage may vary.” 3 stars.

Auckland Med Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Crossing the Touchline provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader