At First Touch (International Men of Sports) by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

atfirsttouchTitle: At First Touch (International Men of Sports)

Author: T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes

Publisher: Totally Bound

Cover Artist: Posh Gosh

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Blurb:

Excelling at the game he loved was everything to King, until Lukas showed him at first touch how much better his life could be…

Ewansiha ‘King’ Kroenig is at the pinnacle of his professional football career, even with a problem knee. He keeps his cool and keeps his head down, and that control has served him well. King is bisexual and has been known to date beautiful women, while he also occasionally satisfies his craving for men with the team’s trainer. It’s a good life, but starting with one bizarre and personal request from his ex, Silvia, his orderly life goes spinning out of control.

Lukas has no problem admitting he’s gay, but with a loudly homophobic team captain, he knows better than to go there around the team. He has his whole career ahead of him and is being groomed to take over for their star player, King Kroenig. If he admires King for more than his athletic prowess, what can it hurt?

No harm, no foul…until a certain trainer who knows them both well decides to play matchmaker, then all bets are off. And once they’ve experienced that first taste, they want more. But it’s not as simple as hooking up or dating when you’re teammates, with high profiles and little privacy. And when they each suddenly gain responsibilities they never expected, they must figure out a way to reconcile their personal lives with the expectations of others.

Reader Advisory: This book contains one MMM ménage scene and brief references to offscreen underage sex.

My View:

So this one was weird for me and I am torn on how I feel about it. One the one hand, I liked it. King and Lukas were good together. Once they got past their assumptions and reluctance to communicate, they made for a satisfying couple. There were also some pretty hot scenes, especially the one when Sergio facilitates King and Lukas getting together for the first time.

I loved the way Lukas took Xav in and showed the young boy that there are good people in the world. I loved the way the authors incorporated the message that everyone is worthy of love into the story. The way they used the secondary characters to make a statement about how all forms of hate should not be tolerated period, but how it is especially more important for sports stars to watch their image as they are role models for young children. It was a good message and it was presented in a natural way that was not overly political or preachy.

On the other hand, this story often felt disjointed and I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction and incompleteness with the way it all ended. There were times when I found myself needing to re-read sections because I felt like the story jumped forward and I missed something vital to understand how the characters got to where they were. Only upon re-reading, I still felt confused.

I also felt like there was too much going on in this story. Lukas rescuing Xav, Lukas and Sergio, King and Sergio, Silvia wanting King to father her child, King and lukas, Padraig being a racist homophobe, Lukas and Sergio outing themselves to Padraig, Lukas and King having Silvia move in to hide their relationships, and Sergio’s unrequited love. I didn’t even understand the purpose of some of these plot elements because it felt like the authors lost track of it all and left things hanging. Like what happened to Padraig after his big explosion and the big reveal? This overtly homophobic and vocal racist just disappeared. Did he cause trouble for the men after learning Sergio and Lukas were gay? What happened between him and Paolo after their big BFF falling out? I don’t know because the man just disappeared from the story, never to return. And who was Sergio’s love interest that had him deciding that he needed to move back to Spain to get away from the unrequited nature of his emotions?

Finally, it felt like the story needed an epilogue or something to wrap it up more cohesively. The authors ended things just as Silvia was pregnant and moving in, just as Xav’s brother showed back up, just as King announced he was looking to retire early and just as King and Lucas decided to be exclusive. Well, what happened to them all? Did having Silvia and Wendy move in allow them all to live HEA without outing themselves? Did they ever get tired of hiding who they were? Did the stress of hiding become too much and affect their relationships? Did Padraig cause them issues or out them? I was just left with so many questions that were not answered and it made this story feel incomplete to me.
Maybe there will be more from these men in a future book, but as it stands right now, I finished this book more confused than satisfied. The potential was there for this to be great, but there was too much going on for the focus to settle on the love story so I felt short changed.

Links

At First Touch (International Men of Sports) on Goodreads
Totally Bound
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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