Blog Tour Stop Review and Giveaway: Fourth and Long by Michele Micheal Rakes


Irus Beaumont, cornerback for the Highlanders, has an issue with his nemesis: wideout for the Pirates, Jackson McCoy. Partly jealous over Jackson’s skill and ability to scrub coverage, Irus also struggles against an unbearable attraction to the receiver. Firmly ensconced in the closet, Irus also has a no football player rule, leaving his desires for Jackson unfulfilled. Anti-gay sentiment in the league keeps Irus closeted, even though he’d rather be out and proud.

When Jackson McCoy suffers a gay bashing at the hands of his team mates after winning the national championship, he finds himself traded to the Highlanders. Spring training brings out Jackson’s competitive nature, eliciting the aggression of his new team’s cornerback, Irus Beaumont.

In practice, Irus hurts Jackson badly. The injury places Jackson on the reserve roster. Jacks has plenty of time to contemplate his life, career, and his attraction to the sexy cornerback. Off to Orlando for the best rehab where guilt inspires Irus to call him every evening, Jackson can’t stop thinking about Irus, or what the season holds for his team.

Denise’s Review:

happened upon this book and author when my peer blogger Bec from Bike
Book Reviews ( raved about it. I read
something about hot men on men action, football and a nice size length
(he he) and decided that this was a book that needed my immediate
attention. So I was excited to get on this blog tour.

will admit that I didn’t read Saving Kane, the first in this series, so
I came into this book blind but it can definitely be read as a stand
alone. **Warning, there is discussion of childhood sexual abuse.**

These two men, both broken in different ways, were able to find in each other a missing piece to heal the other. 

How Jackson and Irus get together is not your typical m/m romance setup. After a gay bashing, Jackson is traded to Irus’s team, and they become something alongside adversaries. Irus injures Jackson, and they bond following that, as Jackson heads to Florida for rehab.

There are several storylines here that converge, to bring these men to their HFN. Coming out in a sport that is notoriously violent, and being gay just makes it even more challenging. A sexual abuse case that rivals the Penn State one is prevalent. My favorite though, is Miss Beulah, who you will meet through Irus. What a fantastic character, and honestly left me wanting more of her story. I loved that Mikey gave her more purpose than just a side character who pops in and out for moral support. She does that, but has a much bigger place in the story, and I love that Mikey went there with her.

This book is a HFN, as there is more to come for these characters, and the football team. There will be resolution for the football teams, and I forsee a legal trial ahead. However, it was great to see Jackson make good strides ahead in his issues, as he found a soulmate in Irus, who epitomized the big scary football player with a heart of gold. I cannot wait to see where these characters end up.

If I hadn’t known there was another book coming, I might have rated this book 4 pieces of eye candy for leaving us out in the cold at the end. But fortunately the author has been redeemed as book 2 is in the works. 🙂

So, this was an easy 5 pieces of eye candy for me. Hot men, football and an involved and long story. All the things I absolutely love about reading.

Michele Rakes Guest Post: Sex in Romance Novels

Remember back in the day, when if you were lucky, you got
that great paragraph on page 69? Some novel by Kathleen Woodwiss with the
reluctant heroine? The man she was to fall in love with her captor and when he
forces himself upon her… Instead of suffering a tragedy, she blossoms under his
one scornful love.
Bullshit, yeah? Still, though, you recall that spark of
excitement from reading something that usually took place off stage left? There
is a debate on sex in romance novels, either gay or straight, and everyone has
an opinion. Yes, like assholes, but everyone is entitled to that opinion. We
want what we want and we like what we like. Some of us want lust. A few of us
crave the carnal. There are characters meant to suffer and survive. Desire
motivates a lot of people in reality and art seems to imitate that, badly at
There are readers who are over the moon to have the bedroom
hours kept in the dark. As well as those of us who chomp at the bit to see the
guy lashed to the bed with a bit in his mouth. Some of us have dark desires and
some of us have lovey squishy yearnings… And there’s books for all of us.
In my opinion the debate isn’t what books should have, but
what books are for which readers. Desire is a base instinct within humans. Animal
lust. Initial attraction is fueled by this desire. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. We
have people in our lives we love and desire. When a couple first gets together,
there is that flush of heat, the insatiable need to live in each other’s skin.
We fuck like bunnies. Then we fuck some more. Personally, I
like that kind of reality in the books I read. Have I read books with too many
sex scenes? Yes. Only because they no longer propelled the characters forward
in their arc. Each scene needs to grow something between the main characters,
whether it’s hate and anger, love and lust, or the heartfelt desire to spend
the rest of their lives joined at the hip. Sex in a novel must be there for
more than just the feels. We love the feels, but we need movement. We must have
our characters moving in time or else the story becomes stagnant. No amount of
sex is going to save a stagnant story.
Sometimes, I feel l’ve put too much sex in my stories, but
when you’re writing about a character addicted to sex what’s a writer to do?
Make sure every scene accomplishes something vital to the characterization or
plot. A beta reader sent me an honest critique. It was for Fourth and Long. He said
(a paraphrase), “I was thinking, oh not another sex scene, but then I was
surprised. The character’s had grown. They changed. Irus became less selfish.
The scene was about Jackson.” This made it new. Made it more about the feelings
of the two characters involved. There was depth. Emotion. Growth.
Sex, like violence, can’t be gratuitous. In real life,
violence, death, and sex affect real people. For someone involved, it matters,
and for fictional people, it should matter too. There are people who read these
books because they like the idea of sex, just not the real form and function.
These scenes sweep them away into a world of love, lust, and emotion. A world
they either gladly or unhappily watch from outside the window, looking in with
glorious wonder.
On the flip side, there are folks who don’t want to be
bogged down in sex scene after sex scene. Even one is too much. They want plot.
The good guys pitted against the bad with love winning out in the end. The
feels are enough.
So, how should we write?
We write what the characters need and let the readers find
us. If your characters are wanting to fuck like bunnies, let them, but only
show us the most important moments.

All else can happen exit stage left.

Extended Excerpt:

If you didn’t get to read the Extended Excerpt posted on TCO’s page recently, check it out here:


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Author Bio

Michele Micheal Rakes lives in a small town in the shadow of a big
mountain. She works as a surgical technologist assisting in the removal of
tonsils and testicles. She has three grown children, two psychotic Egyptian
Mau’s, a husband with hair down to his ass, two Harley’s, and a ferret named
Teeny Tiny Ferret Feet (husband insists her name Little Feet, we all know he’s

Contact Michele Rakes:


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  1. Loved writing this and love the review! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the interview. For me sex just for sex doesn't do it for me. If the storyline calls for the sex by all means go for it, the grittier the better. But if you are putting in sex just for sex it doesn't work. Looking forward to reading your books