Super-bod meets super-brain
What happens when marshmallow-bodied supernerd Sean volunteers to be on the jocks’ flag-football team? It screws Bubba’s fraternity’s chances at the coveted flag football title, that’s what.
Bubba is drafted to be Sean’s personal trainer. He has to whip Sean into shape and make sure he doesn’t F up their team.
Sean may be a supernerd, but to Bubba he’s funny, and wise, and kinda cute. He’s also the one person on campus who doesn’t see Bubba as a big, stupid jock.
One BIG problem. Sean’s motivation for getting into shape is to lose his virginity — and Bubba isn’t happy when guys start sniffing around.
But Bubba’s straight. Isn’t he?
Can a big, dumb jock from Nowhere, Wisconsin change his whole life for a genius who just wants to get laid?
COACHING THE NERD is a total makeover, opposites attract, My Fair Lady trope, bi awakening, campus romance – that grabs your flag.
Bubba put his arm around the back of the leather couch in the student union and shifted closer to me. I froze and stared up at his face. He’d told me this alcove was his secret place at the union where nobody ever came, so I wasn’t really worried about somebody walking in on us, but I was still unaccountably nervous.
I was accustomed to being around Bubba by now, and I trusted him. I did. But being this close to him with him looking at me with that half-lidded sexy face? I was most certainly not accustomed to that.
My heart pounded in my chest like a metronome, and my belly swirled like I was on the high seas.
I was on the high seas. Of love. Or fake love. Or at least fake flirting.
We’re merely role-playing, I reminded myself. I cleared my throat and sat up straighter.
“Hey, I don’t think we’ve met,” Bubba said in a sultry voice.
I frowned. “What do you mean? We’ve been training together for four weeks.”
Bubba bit back a laugh. “Sean, I’m pretending. In this pretend game, I just saw you at a party.”
Oh, yes. How foolish of me. It was hard to think clearly when he looked at me like that. I put on a cautiously seductive expression.
Bubba blinked. “What are you doing with your face?”
“Nothing!” I shifted in my seat, and the leather couch squeaked. I settled my hands awkwardly in my lap and tried a simple smile. “Better?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“Um…a little? Just relax and act natural.”
“You’re not acting natural,” I pointed out. “You’re flirting with me. That’s unnatural in and of itself.”
Bubba rolled his eyes. He tried again. “Hey, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Bubba.”
“Hi, Bubba. I’m Sean.” I stuck out my hand for a handshake, but because we were sitting so close, I ended up poking my fingers right into his groin. He yelped and jumped back a few inches on the couch.
“Sorry! I’m so sorry!”
Bubba rubbed the crotch of his jeans for a moment and shook his head. “Probably try not to poke your prospective date in the balls.”
“God, I suck at this!” I wailed. “Disaster zone, thy name is Sean McKinney!”
Bubba laughed. “Come on. We’re just getting started. No harm, no foul. Let’s try again.” He settled back into place with his arm behind me on the couch, though perhaps a mite more warily than before. “Hey! You’re kinda cute. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Bubba.”
This time, he leaned even closer. and I gazed into his eyes. They were just brown eyes, dark in the dim light of the little alcove. But there was something in them that was hot and sexy and probably had the unique property of being able to melt underwear. No wonder he had no difficulty getting girls. I dropped my gaze so I wouldn’t get any stupid ideas from those eyes—like hoping this wasn’t entirely role-playing. But from so close, I could see the texture of his beard, which he kept short. It was shiny and looked so appealing. I wanted to rub my cheek against it to discern the precise texture. His lips were red and full.
For a heat-stopping moment, I wondered, in a visceral way, what it would be like to kiss a mouth like that. Or that mouth specifically. Bubba’s mouth. I could picture it happening so clearly. I swallowed.
“Very good,” Bubba said softly. “Not talking works for you.” He reached up a thumb and stroked my jaw.
“You want me to not speak?” I asked doubtfully.
“If you look at the guy like that, you don’t have to say a word.” His gaze was on my lips now. The swirls in my belly exploded, and my skin got hot.
“I should say something though,” I said with a nervous titter. “Wouldn’t want him thinking I’m not paying attention. So, um…. Hi. I’m Sean. I like your beard.”
Shit. I shouldn’t have said beard. That obviously applied to Bubba and not a general guy at a party.
But Bubba went with it. “Yeah?” He took my hand and placed it on his face, then sort of rubbed his beard against it.
I got erect so fast, my head swam. Oh dear. Oh fuck. Was that supposed to happen during role-playing? I was pretty sure the answer was a resounding no.
My fingers curled around his jaw and rubbed. It was as if they had a mind of their own. “Soft,” I whispered.
He moved his large hand to my shoulder and stroked my collarbone through my T-shirt with his thumb—back and forth. Oh my God. It was different from his massage touch. Somehow that simple movement was so sensual. No one had ever touched me like that. I’d thought having the shampoo felt good. But this…this sent waves of fire through me unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. My palm moved to his throat. His pulse beat fast under my hand. I wanted to lick there.
“Mmm. I like that,” he said in that sexy rumbly voice. “Can I get you a drink?”
“Hmm?” My gaze was fixed on his mouth.
“Can I get you something from the bar? Sean?”
“Bar?” I couldn’t help it. I leaned forward. His mouth was so close. I closed my eyes. He exhaled, and his breath tickled my lips. Goosebumps erupted on my arms while heat pooled thickly in my groin.
“Sean,” he whispered, but his voice was soft and strangled and part of this lovely dream.
Then his lips pressed against mine.
A mixed review from me on this one.
This is book 2 and you should probably read book 1 to know what exactly is going on between the two fraternities. Also, the stories happen concurrently.
Anyway, from book 1 it was evident that Sean and Bubba would be the focus of book 2. Since Sean was the nerdiest of the nerds with zero muscle mass and was now playing flag football and Bubba was the physical education major… opposites attract and all of that.
I did really enjoy the following Sean and Bubba as they kind of stumbled through a tentative friendship and into a relationship. Working out together, playing flag football together and even Bubba helping Sean with a make over from drab to fab. They were just really adorable.
My biggest issue was the way Sean was portrayed. It was REALLY stereotypical. So much that he sounded like Spock in the way he spoke. Sorry, but even genius level college students are still college students. They just don’t talk like that. It was like they wrote dialogue for Sean, then went to the thesaurus to make it as “smart” as possible. It was just silly.
The big conflict involving Sean’s parents also wasn’t a surprise at all. Ho hum.
FAVORITE LINE: Even though I mostly disliked how Sea spoke, the following made me laugh out loud as I read it.
She folded her arms over her chest and gave me a smug look. “I fucked him, you know.”
“Congratulations,” I said calmly. “Lucky you, getting your shopping done before the store closed.”
3 pieces of eye candy
Coming from a background in computer game design, Eli has written over 35 books in m/m romance since 2013. The Mating of Michael (2014) and A Second Harvest (2016) both won The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance, and Eli’s books have won many awards from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Reader’s Choice Awards. She is best known for her Christmas romances, the Howl at the Moon series of rom coms featuring dog shifters, and her Sex in Seattle series, which revolves around a sex clinic in Seattle.
About the Author:
Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Tara loves animals of all kinds (even snakes), diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers.
She has around 57 books published or scheduled for publication.
Connect with Tara:
Facebook Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/255111391312743