Release Day Reviews ~ The Game Changer by Kay Simone
Title: The Game Changer
Author: Kay Simone
A straight quarterback. A gay physical therapist. Love is out of bounds… Right?
Malcolm Rodgers loses everything in one week.
The quarterback is benched with an injury the same week his fiancée breaks off their engagement. Lost, hurting, and stuck on the sidelines, Malcolm must spend his days in physical therapy with the one person who refuses to let him get back in the game: cocky Vance Coberly.
Vance is out and proud in the macho world of pro football. As the top physical therapist in his field, flirting with football players is strictly out of bounds.
But the rules of play all change when Vance meets Malcolm.
Malcolm can’t deny what he feels for Vance — but Vance won’t be someone’s one-time fling. Can a Hail Mary gesture save the deepest love Malcolm has ever felt?
Fantasy football takes on a whole new meaning in this 90,000 word steamy out-for-you football romance, complete with lots of heat and a happily ever after ending.
Buy it on Amazon
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
After Malcolm's fiancée dumps him he and Vance become even closer as friends. Vance seems to be the only person he is able to talk to about how he feels. Soon they become inseparable and eventually unable to fight their attraction to one another they begin dating. With Malcolm better, they are no longer skirting the ethical line of Vance dating one of his clients.
Unfortunately for Malcolm, dating and coming out is not easily done. They can't hide it for long but how will his team and the public take it if he announced he was dating a man? Jacksonville isn't the most accepting and neither are his coach and the Warriors' organization.
I was very much enjoying this story until about 80% in when I started to realize that I didn't care very much for one of the main characters. I loved the idea of two seemingly different men meet and become friends and begin to fall in love. The cherry on top was that this was a GFY story which is one of my favorites themes. All of that was great, the writing was sweet and funny and it flowed well right from the start. Somehow, though, one of my least favorite plot devices crept in and took some of the enjoyment out. I absolutely can not stand when one of the people in the relationship acts like a complete jerk or does something wrong to the other person and the never fully repents for the act in the end.
So having gone off on a rant, I'm going to say I absolutely loved Malcolm but I'm not fully sold on Vance. However, I enjoyed the rest of the book and thought Malcolm and Vance had excellent chemistry. Truth be told, I would date Malcolm in a second. He's sweet, caring, loyal and dedicated to helping people, especially those he cares about. He made this book well worth it.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review.***
Malcolm has been working all his life to be the best Quarterback he can be so he can support his mother and sisters. He keeps out of trouble, lives frugally, and is an all-around good man. He has a fiancée and they're planning their wedding, he is respected on his team by both his teammates and fans, when suddenly an injury sends his life into a tailspin. After working nonstop since he was fifteen years old, he suddenly has a lot of time on his hands, aside from the PT he has to go through to get back in top form to play. Not everything is bad, though, as his physical therapist becomes a great friend for him, someone who supports him and seems to see the real man behind the player. Someone that is there for him when his fiancée breaks off their engagement. Slowly, Mal's feelings for Vance start to change, but is he ready to come out and put his career and life on the line for Vance?
I loved Malcolm, he was reliable, sweet, strong, a great brother, son and friend. I loved his slow realization that he was attracted to Vance and how he just did something about it when he just couldn't keep it bottled up. I loved that he embraced his feelings so easily, too. Yes, it wasn't easy for him coming to terms with coming out to the whole world, but he was doing a good job of it before he was practically pushed out.
I really liked the chemistry between Malcolm and Vance and their easy camaraderie. It was nice to see them become friends and then lovers. I also liked Jalen and Barrett, they were fantastic friends and really both of them won me over with their support for Malcolm and trying to make Vance see how he'd messed up.
What I didn't like or rather who, unfortunately, was Vance and the way he treated Malcolm. Up to about 70% of the book, I liked him at least. He was not as lovable as Mal, but he wasn't all that bad. However, then I stumbled upon one of my pet peeves while reading a book, one of the characters (Mal) does something that the other character (Vance) perceives as wrong, even if it really wasn't, and ends things. Then Mal makes a grand gesture, Vance realizes he messed up, but instead of reaching out to Mal and groveling, he just does nothing while he waits for Malcolm to go to him and apologize, even when he knows he's in the wrong here. He said he was ashamed and that's why he didn't go, well, for me it was more pride getting in the way and not really shame, but okay, I'll let that go.
The book was good, it was well-written, fast-paced and I found myself engrossed in the plotline and the characters as I read, so I think many of you will find it enjoyable.
Rating: 4 Stars!
Simone loves stories that make her laugh, think, and cry in equal measure — but only if there is a happy ending waiting on the last page. She strives to write characters who are flawed, real, and worth the time of a reader. Whether she's writing about snowdrifts in rural Washington or the daily summer thunderheads of Florida, Simone feels that each setting is a character, too.
In her past lives, Simone was editor in chief of a newspaper, managing editor of a lit mag, a librarian, a website voodoo expert, and a cupcake baker/