False Start by Alison Hendricks

False Start by Alison Hendricks
Eastshore Tigers Book 2
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (203 pages)
Other: M/M, anal play/intercourse
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

The heat between them is impossible to ignore. But can they ever be anything but rivals?

Dante Mills has one more year to prove he can hack it in the NFL. If he can’t score attention from the scouts this season, he’ll never be able to give his hard-working mom the life she deserves. The last thing he needs is more competition, but that’s exactly what he gets when blond-haired, blue-eyed behemoth Mitchell Erickson walks into the locker room.

Mitchell Erickson has one year to prove he belongs on a football field. He’s spent his whole life struggling to find acceptance in his family, and now his father’s finally giving him the chance to follow his passion… for one season. If he doesn’t bring the Tigers to victory, it’s back to upholding the Erickson legacy in a suit and tie. But how can he possibly succeed when someone as talented as Dante stands between him and a starting position?

As if the tension between them wasn’t high enough, Mitch is insanely attracted to the very straight linebacker. As the season ramps up and both men fight for their place on the team, a heated locker room encounter leaves Dante questioning everything he thought he knew about himself.

When Dante and Mitch work together, they’re unstoppable. But can two men destined to be rivals ever be anything more?

Their chemistry on the field is a force to be reckoned with, what they have off the field is down right nuclear! It’ll take some eye-opening revelations to show these men that they work best as a team in all situations.

The whole “rich boy, poor boy…we come from different worlds” trope isn’t new but I really enjoyed the way Ms. Hendricks played it out in the second installment of the Eastshore Tigers series.

Dante and Mitch are alike and different in so many ways. The fact that Dante has to come to terms with his sexuality is the first major obstacle. Ms. Hendricks skillfully ties in the first book of the series with his discovery without making it necessary to have actually read Jason and Derek’s story.

It wasn’t hard to figure out early on that their backgrounds would also be a hurdle in their tumultuous relationship. Mitch was trying to step away from who his family wanted him to be but he was still influenced by the way he was raised. He makes more than one snap decision that, though they always came from his heart, results in escalating conflict with Dante. And Dante, for his part, has a bit of chip on his shoulder but I could actually understand his reasoning even if I really wanted him to not be so prideful. But that’s who he was, it was who he felt he had to be for his mom.

I really liked both Dante and Mitch. I like them separately and very much enjoyed seeing them work through their issues so they could be together. I haven’t read the first book in this series but I didn’t have to to understand that they were especially fortunate to have the backing of their teammates when they went public with their relationship. The scene in the gym between Dante, Anderson and Trent was perfect. No doubt these guys were going to have plenty of opposition to their relationship so seeing the support of their team mates was good.

False Start is a very appropriate title for Dante and Mitch’s story. As with a false start in football, there were penalties (repercussions) for when one or the other made a decision based on an assumption. But a brief set back didn’t have to mean the game in regards to their future together. There are lots of other analogies with football terms that I could use here but the bottom line is they didn’t give up, even when that would have been easy, even when stepping back was hard but necessary.

This story flows very well. Each chapter is headed with either Mitch or Dante’s name telling the reader who’s POV they’ll be seeing the story from at that point. First person POV isn’t my favorite but the chapter headings helped and the story itself was so captivating I wanted to see how they would work it all out.

This novel would be considered and “interracial romance” but the color of Dante’s skin is never made into plot point. The story has a comfortably realistic feel to it, except for the part about a small university team beating Alabama, which is pure fantasy, but I still very much enjoyed the story as a whole. I’d like to go back and read book one to see how this team first came together for Jason and Derek and I’ll be watching for the next installments as well. Easy recommend!

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