Saturday, June 18, 2016

Release Day Review ~ The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story by Scott Pomfret ~ (Review + Excerpt)

Release Day Review ~ The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story by Scott Pomfret ~ (Review + Excerpt)


From the author of Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir and co-author of the Romentics™ series of gay romance novels comes a sexy new story of values, family, love, big hits, big choices, big plays, and big men. Division I college football coach Peyton Stone has a secret. It’s not so much that he’s gay. It’s that he’s fallen in love with his older Iraq-War-vet-turned-starting-QB Brady Winter. Willing to deny himself for the sake of the Golden Eagles football team, Peyton focuses helping his team score touchdowns, but when he discovers the attraction is mutual, he jumps in with both feet.

For each, the stakes are high: bowls, limelight, press, and the NFL. But Peyton and Brady find time during the season to carve out their own private and sexy refuge. Only jealous whispers force the head coach to see what he didn’t want to see and he tears the two apart. It’s only when Brady’s war injuries threaten his health that Peyton reluctantly returns to the team -- under cover! The two concoct a plan to pass off Peyton as Brady at the bowl game, thereby preserving Brady’s health and perhaps earning a national championship. Will anyone notice the difference? Does anyone really want to? Most of all, can the pair’s sense of honor outlast the deception?

Lethe Press publishes The Second Half on June 18, 2016 (273pp.). For more information, go to

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After loading the Silverado with marinated chicken, beer, wine, chips, and chocolate, Peyton drove out of Manchester with the distinct feeling that he and Brady had looted from the town everything worth taking.
Brady dozed in the passenger seat. Every few minutes, Peyton stole a glance at Brady’s face. Each time he felt the thrill of the forbidden. As if, finally, he was seeing Brady unmasked. The real human being behind the tinted Plexiglas shield he wore during the game. Peyton picked out all the places he would kiss later: the chin, the dimples, the forehead, and the eyes. He could scarcely wait.
After ninety minutes’ drive, Peyton pulled off the highway on to a rutted dirt track that led across a fallow field.
Brady finally woke and asked in a groggy tone, “You kidnapping me? Gonna keep me in the cellar, like the gimp?”
“You complaining?”
Star quarterback gone missing,” Brady said, using his television announcer voice. “Quarterbacks coach is a person of interest.”
“I’d do it,” Peyton said. I’d do anything to keep you.
After a few hundred yards, the field gave way to forest. They passed an outhouse before they reached Peyton’s refuge: a back cabin he rented from a very nice straight woman. She wasn’t much of a football fan, but she was glad for the extra income since her husband died.
The little cabin had a secondary fuel stove and kerosene lights alongside the electric, in case the power went out. The stone hearth was big enough to walk into. A long sleeping loft was perched over a kitchen, where the cast-iron wood-burning stove that looked like some medieval torture device took up much of the floor space. There was no cell phone service; they had to go up on the hill to get a signal. No TV. No radio. No internet. Just an old guitar, a fishing rod, a scatter of books, and a handful of board games.
“It’s not much of a dungeon,” Peyton apologized. “Coach’s salary only goes so far.”
“I love it,” said Brady.
While Peyton unloaded the Silverado (cheap wine, chicken, marshmallows for the fire), Brady explored the property. Peyton found him on the riverbank behind the house. Brady grinned, stripped naked, and jumped in. He shrieked at the top of his lungs.
Peyton just smiled. The nearest neighbor—his landlord—was miles away. They were in their own world.
“I’ll get you a towel,” Peyton said, but when he brought it back, Brady pulled him into the river, clothes and all.
Afterward, stark naked, Peyton chopped wood and Brady collected kindling from the surrounding woods. It was only then that Peyton discovered he had no matches. “Dammit,” he cried. “Dammit. I could have sworn… This ruins everything.”
“What’s wrong?”
“I forgot the damn matches.”
“We could run out to the store…”
“It’s like twenty-five minutes away. Last thing I want is to get behind the wheel again. I don’t even want to get dressed. I want to be here with you.”
Wearing nothing but his dog tags, Brady emerged from the woods. He was carrying an armload of kindling and had smudged mud on his face like warpaint. He dumped the wood at Peyton’s feet like an obedient dog. “Never fear,” he said. “Your hero is here.”
Dousing the kindling with a cup of kerosene, Brady chipped a spark from the rocks around the fire pit. The fire caught and they fed its relentless appetite until the blaze was big enough to dry the river’s damp out of their bones. They made love by the fire pit on an old blanket.
Peyton grilled chicken over the hot coals and afterward melted marshmallows on sticks. They fed each other s'mores until Brady’s lips tasted of chicken grease and his breath was sugar and chocolate. Brady picked up the guitar and sang a deep, unpolished rendition of Wild Horses and a rocking version of Jolene.
The win over the Swarm? Peyton hardly remembered it.
The final score? No idea.
The game seemed like something from a history class that happened a thousand years ago but was of no consequence in the present time.

4 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I loved the blurb, and I couldn't wait to dig in. Sometimes you just know from the first sentence. You read that first sentence and it can make you want to close the book and move on to the next one. I'll be honest that's how this book started for me. I thought several times in the beginning about putting it down and moving on to something else. This book started slow. The beginning of the book and even some of the later parts read almost like a highly detailed book report, rather than a story. I thought too much detail was given to me about the secondary characters, and in way too fast succession, and at times it was all too much to take in at once. I also didn't feel I needed all the information I was given. Once the author finally got to the heart of story, I was captivated and I had to keep reading to see how it would all come together.

I loved both Peyton and Brady. They were both likable characters, that were well developed, but I wish that I had felt more of a connection. I loved their story, but I wanted to be able to close this book feeling more secure in their future. The book ended rather abruptly and I really feel it needed another chapter to wrap things up and resolve some issues. There were some cruel enemies in this story I would have loved to see get their due!

While there were parts of this story that were too technical and dry, there were some parts that were very well written, but the flow was choppy. We moved from scene to scene, and not always smoothly and sometimes without the previous scene feeling complete.

A large portion of this book centers around football. I understood most of what was happening, because I'm a football fan and understand the game pretty well. The football games and practices are written in great detail, but without really explaining the technical terms being used. If you don't understand the game, I think this part of the story could make you feel lost and confused.

I know this review has a lot of negative points, but this was an enjoyable read for the most part. It gave me two lovable characters to root for. I wanted them to have it all, and the author left me with the power to make it happen in my mind. This is a recommendable read.

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