Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new New Adult M/M romance from Lane Hayes. I totally loved OUT IN THE DEEP END, so I was looking forward to OUT IN THE OFFENSE. This is the third book in the Out in College series, but easy to pick up and read on its own.
About the book:
Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.
Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.
How about a yummy taste?
“Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.
“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”
“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”
Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.
“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”
I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.
Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.
“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.
“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”
I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.
“Do you eat like this every night?”
“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.
“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.
“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”
Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”
“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.
I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.
Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.
“Definitely not a fluke,” he said with a devilish grin.
Christian Rafferty is a senior playing quarterback for his small private college. He’s closeted, and terrified that people might guess his sexuality–namely his conservative family. He’d successfully dated his high school sweetheart, Max, who is a current roommate in the house he shares with Max’s new beau, a fellow teammate on the baseball team, Sky. So, things are tense in his crash pad and Max’s also struggling with his statistics class. His coach sets him up with Rory, a recent college grad with a killer bod, tats, and a math degree. The former collegiate wrestler pushes all his buttons.
Christian is a bit startled how much he and Rory get on. Rory’s bold and brash and newly out–lamenting the time he wasted in the closet, and the sweet guy he hurt while in there. So, he’s not angling for Christian to come out. They are having some good times, and Christian’s liking the way he feels around Rory. His playing is going well, and the team’s rallying for a Division 3 playoff berth, but Christian’s getting irritated with the homophobia that’s cropped up in the wake of a fellow teammate who came out the previous season. And, his parents think it’s a bad scene, too.
Tired of living a half-life, Christian is seriously contemplating coming out. But, issues with Max and Sky have him fearing it might not be his choice. Hanging in the balance is a potential fifth-year of school, and a career-path change he won’t have to ask his father to pay for. I liked both Rory and Christian and how they fit together. They have yummy chemistry, and made for some interesting sexytimes. They are also thoughtful and considerate, with real-world issues I could connect with. The climax of the story, however, was a little lacking. Christian’s the subject of a hate-crime, but it sparks him to own his truth and stand up for himself in ways he hadn’t planned. I liked that part, though it took a little while for him to get there.
The resolution is happy with Rory and Christian being stronger than ever, out and proud and living a good life. Expect a new direction for this series to move–batter up??
About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.