Title: Out in the Field (Out in College, Book 4)
Author: Lane Hayes Narrator: Michael Pauley
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: July 25, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 5 hours and 31 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.
Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.
This has been an enjoyable sports-based series with each main closeted character facing the challenge of coming out to his team-mates and family. The characters are often connected via a previous relationship or a friend at college. Although each story could be read as a standalone, I think it is worth reading/listening to the books in order to gain an insight into the various situations and relationships that have gone before. In this case, I would definitely recommend listening to book 3 as there are quite a few plot and character links with this story. Overall, book 3 has been my favourite so far, with this one, Out in the Field, running a close second.
Lane Hayes always does a great job of writing the main characters getting to know each other and showing how they gradually fall in love. There’s plenty of conversation here and several steamy scenes that move from being friends with benefits to meaning much more. I love how she blends the journey of falling in love with the main character deciding to come out because of that love. Sky, Max’s spiteful ex, again provides some additional angst to the plot. I hope Sky gets his happy ever after in a future story.
Max and Phoenix are opposites in many ways, yet they gel as a couple. Max is the sporty one and Phoenix’s total lack of knowledge of anything sporty leads to some humorous moments. It’s great how Max moves out of his comfort zone to spend time with Phoenix. I especially loved the ‘break up’ scene and onwards to the end of the story. The coming out scenes were great as were the make-up and epilogue. I had a few issues with some points in the story, but nothing major.
I liked that Christian and Rory (the couple from book 3) were involved throughout this story. I just wished the narrator had been consistent with his voices for these characters as they were different in books 3 and 4. Also Phoenix sounded very much like Mitch from book 2. Having said that, Michael Pauley narrates the story well and makes it easy to follow. He creates a range of emotions and varies his voice and intonation accordingly. A recommended series of audiobooks.