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!
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.