Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Strong Side
Author: Alison Hendricks
Series: Eastshore Tigers #1
Heroes: Jason Hawkins/Derek Griffin
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 264 Pages
Publisher: Alison Hendricks
Release Date: January 20, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Their chemistry on the field is undeniable. But can they ever be more than friends?
Jason Hawkins is about to throw the biggest Hail Mary pass of his career.
If he can’t turn NFL recruiters’ heads this year, he’ll lose his shot at the one thing he’s ever been good at. But every quarterback needs a man he can count on down-field. For Jason, that man just might be the Tigers’ new receiver, Derek Griffin.
Four years ago, Derek nearly lost everything after being outed by his teammates.
Now he finally has a chance to get it all back as a walk-on for Eastshore College… if he can resist his immediate attraction to the gorgeous and very straight star quarterback.
An instant connection during practice leads to an easy friendship that only grows stronger off the field. Derek is convinced friendship is all it’ll ever be, but a very confusing moment of impulse leaves both of them fumbling for answers about their relationship.
As curiosity gives way to passion and passion gives way to something deeper, Jason and Derek will have to tackle their own personal demons to bring home the win and earn their happy ending.
Review: This one totally caught me by surprise. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t this lovely gem.
Jason is the straight star quarterback, but struggling to graduate due to the time he spends on football. His sole focus is making it to the NFL. When he sees rookie receiver struggling with tackles but showing a ton of potential otherwise, he steps in to help, for the good of the team.
Derek is gay, but not out due to a really bad experience in high school that almost left him paralyzed. That same fear is what holds him back on the field. He is already crushing on Jason when Jason offers to help, but he manages to focus on the football for the most part.
I loved how these guys became friends and just what the other needed. Each had a secret to keep for the other and it only brought them closer. Once Jason starts to accept his feelings for Derek, things really heat up. They take things very slowly, only advancing when Jason was comfortable. There is a ton of sexual tension, wonderfully done first times, exciting coming out and just an overall love that grows between these guys.
I found it hard to believe while reading this that it was a debut author because it really didn’t feel like it. All I know is that I was turning pages rapidly and read it in one day, which bumped this up from a 4 star to 4.5 star read for me. I will definitely be looking for more from Ms. Hendricks and especially the continuation of this story.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*