Reviewed by Morgan
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Narrator: John Solo
Series: Horizons #1
Heroes: Clark Stevens/Jody Williams
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 6 hours, 48 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 7, 2015
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: College football player Clark Stevens, a popular wide receiver with a potential NFL contract, has a few problems. He’s got a jealous girlfriend, a narrow-minded and controlling father, an attention problem, and an unexpected and powerful attraction to the trauma doctor—the male trauma doctor—who treats him for a broken bone.
Dr. Jody Williams is getting some really mixed signals. He can’t ignore how much he wants Clark, because it’s obvious Clark feels the same way. For the out and proud doctor, the solution seems very simple. For Clark, it’s not! His world is not gay-friendly, and the obstacles he’s faced have led him to deny his sexuality for years.
It’s the Super Bowl of disasters, no matter how you look at it. In the end, Clark has to decide if he’s going to stick with the only life he’s ever known or take a chance on a new one with Jody.
Review – Book: Clark is the Berkley star wide receiver. He meets Jody in the ER when he breaks his arm. Though he’s never acted on it, Clark knows he’s gay. Jody’s out and proud. They dance around their attraction for one another for weeks until finally Clark gives in to the passion between them.
Jody is more than happy to indoctrinate Clark in the joys of gay sex, but he wants more. He wants to live and love Clark openly. Clark can’t conceive of a world where the NFL or his family would welcome him as a gay man.
When Clark’s family forces him to choose, who will he pick?
In the prologue, Mickie Ashling explains that this story was originally written in 2002. Even in what feels like a short time, a lot has changed regarding sexuality and pro-sports. It’s not a perfect world, but it’s definitely more open than the world described in this story.
Clark is the stereo-typical closet case. He’s a “gay virgin” but he knows what he wants. Jody, however, is like no doctor I’ve ever met. He agrees to tutor Clark in English to help him with his grades. He goes out to dinner with the guy. They hang out. All of this with Clark thinking he’s fooling someone into thinking he’s straight.
I’m not sure why Clark invited his ER Doctor/tutor to Thanksgiving instead of his steady girlfriend… or at least why he thought nobody would think that wasn’t weird as hell. But he does… and his family begins to suspect. That’s when the dramatic threats and beatings begin.
On the one hand, I liked this story for what it was. A coming out story and struggles of a gay football player in 2002. On the other hand, I didn’t buy Jody as a realistic character. He was too gullible and did things that didn’t jive with my image of an ER Doctor (in age or position). And I didn’t like Clark or his version of being “gay” (he worries about how “gay” he is since he liked to bottom). Or how over the top crazy his family was about being gay. I was very uncomfortable with the way Jody referred to himself as a jealous queen and insecure fag. It didn’t seem to fit his “out and proud” persona and seemed inconsistent.
I also thought that the whole ADD thing was kind of tacked on and didn’t really add to the overall story, but it was nice that it finally got resolved.
This story would have resonated a bit more for me if Jody hadn’t been a doctor but maybe another male friend, and if the family would have been a bit more toned down, and if there were a few less slurs and cliché’s about being gay thrown around. There were just a few too many “topics” in this story that didn’t get explored to their full potential: the age gap, the education issues, HIV, Jody’s previous lovers and Clark’s vision of what being “gay” means.
The smexy times were super hot and the romance was very sweet.
Review – Audio: John Solo did a nice job with giving each person a unique voice. He handled the emotions and drama well.
All in all, I give both the book and the audiobook a 3 of 5 stars and recommend it to fans of gay virgins, GFY/OFY, college football romances and coming out stories.
Overall Impression: It was good
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*