Reviewed by JustJen and Susan65
Title: Last Man Standing
Author: Mercy Celeste
Series: Southern Scrimmage #5
Heroes: Damien Sullivan/Raphael Acosta
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 159 Pages
Publisher: MJC Press
Release Date: August 22, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: There’s no dating in football.
After living his entire football career in Levi Brody’s shadow, Damien Sullivan is set to take the NFL by storm. Angry at the world he lands in New Orleans with a chip on his shoulder and a need for some action. He wants nothing more than to experience life to the hilt, but a controlling parent and a set of rigid fraternization rules work seek to slow his roll. A chance hook-up before camp leads to a showdown with the very young, very attractive starting quarterback.
Starting quarterback for the disgraced New Orleans team, Raphael Acosta has his work cut out for him. His team doesn’t respect him, his coaches barely know his name and now there’s this hot-shot kid lauded as the second coming of the great Levi Brody. The last thing Raf needs is an insufferable rival for his position. The problem is he can’t seem to keep his hands off the man in private.
When new rules and old prejudices converge, only one could be the Last Man Standing.
JustJen’s Review: I was a tiny bit hesitant about this story, knowing it was about different characters that we really hadn’t gotten to know yet. However, following the amazing story that preceded it, Bootleg Diva, I think this was the smartest and most clever way to go about it.
This is the story about two quarterbacks who are the backups now fighting for the position of the now injured Levi. These guys hook up one night before either knows who the other is. So, when they come face to face on the field, the sparks really fly. Both of these guys had some rather unique upbringings, with Raf’s dad being a famous pro-baseball player with whom he has had little contact ever since Raf switched from playing baseball to football. He also has Melanie, who seemed ok at first, but then turned into a whole other person. There is quite a bit more to his story, but I don’t want to give too much away.
Sully grew up with lesbian mothers. He is struggling with getting out from under their thumbs, as they just can’t seem to cut the ties. He also has his suspicions about who his father is, and is determined to find out for sure. Sully and Raf have some major chemistry, both on the field and off. They have a lot going on, but it never felt like an overload.
Again, I will say how difficult I believe it would be to follow up a story like Diva, and kept thinking about that in the back of my mind for about 75% of this story. That part was really good, but just wait, because the ending of this story wrapped the whole thing up in a giant bow. We find out the truth about Sully’s father, and though we don’t see him make an appearance, we do see the others close to him. Let me just say that it brought back all of the feels from Bootleg Diva and had me wanting to run back and reread it again just to relive it again. Bravo, Ms. Celeste! Though I am hesitant to see this story end, I can’t wait for the final installment.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
Susan’s Review: I was very eager and a bit nervous about this book. Excited because the book prior, Levi’s heartbreaking journal, was so good and it ended with my heart firmly lodged in my throat and I needed to see where this book was leading. Nervous because these are new characters and I was unsure how they were going to fit into this fabulously dysfunctional series. From the rating you can see that my nervousness was unfounded and this book was just as incredible as the previous books and I, more than ever, need to get my greedy paws on the last book. I am beyond excited to see it all come together, but am also sort of sad that it’s coming to an end.
Raf, not Rafe as he will resolutely let you know, and Sully turn it up from the moment they meet until the final page. These two are both a little dysfunctional in their private lives before they even get together as teammates or as a couple. Raf with his family history and personal life is like something out of a Hollywood memoir where only those living it can understand it. I was not a fan of Melanie, at all, but she definitely fit her stereotype.
Sully surprised the heck out of me. I knew his past would be revealed but I was blindsided by who he actually was…probably as much as he was. Just knowing how that part ended makes me more eager for the last book. So much was revealed but so much is still left to be told. His having two moms was very unique for a MM book, but I loved his interaction with his one mother, Sheila. The poor woman just could not cut the apron strings on her “little boy”. Annoying for him, but amusing for me.
Together, Raf and Sully were scorching; super competitive on the field and off. They were alike in so many ways, but different enough that I knew that once they got past all of their on-field and off-field issues that they would be a tight couple. They didn’t have it easy, at all, and at times they were the catalyst to the drama that surrounded them. But, they had reasons, and so many hoops to jump through before they could even commit as a couple, but it was so wonderfully told that my only disappointment was that the story came to an end.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*We received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*