Strong Side by Alison Hendricks
Eastshore Tigers #1
LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
Derek Griffin is looking for a fresh start with a new football team but old fears have resurfaced so he’s keeping his sexuality a secret. But it’s hard to hide his feelings when he’s crushing on fellow teammate, Jason Hawkins, who has offered to give Derek some extra coaching. As Derek and Jason spend more time together they quickly become friends but Derek’s feelings are stronger and as far as he can tell, Jason is straight.
Strong Side was pleasantly surprising! I had read a short story by Alison Hendricks and decided to give her longer novels a chance and I’m happy I did. I don’t know much about football but I enjoyed the way Hendricks writes about it along with the environment of team brotherhood — the good and the bad. Derek was a really likable character and I felt so much for his struggles. After being outed by his old football team he’s ostracized by those he thought were friends and eventually he’s targeted on the field and injured so badly he’s paralyzed for several months as he goes through rehab. To say that Derek has overcome a lot is an understatement.
Jason starts out a bit standoffish or more accurately so focused on his future in football that he doesn’t make time for anything else. As he starts to give Derek extra coaching, they develop a strong friendship and Jason begins to let other things into his life. This causes some friction with his father who has been pushing him since he was young but I loved how that story line worked itself out. I also adored how Jason goes all in once he realizes he has feelings for Derek and these two were just so cute together. I won’t give anything away but my heart was swooning! I can’t wait to read more in this series.
4 out of 5 stars
Tags: Athlete | College | Coming Out | Football | Friends First
Hero was severely injured on football field as a result of being outed in high school (referenced, off page)
Their chemistry on the field is undeniable. But can they ever be more than friends?
Jason Hawkins is about to throw the biggest Hail Mary pass of his career.
If he can’t turn NFL recruiters’ heads this year, he’ll lose his shot at the one thing he’s ever been good at. But every quarterback needs a man he can count on down-field. For Jason, that man just might be the Tigers’ new receiver, Derek Griffin.
Four years ago, Derek nearly lost everything after being outed by his teammates.
Now he finally has a chance to get it all back as a walk-on for Eastshore College… if he can resist his immediate attraction to the gorgeous and very straight star quarterback.
An instant connection during practice leads to an easy friendship that only grows stronger off the field. Derek is convinced friendship is all it’ll ever be, but a very confusing moment of impulse leaves both of them fumbling for answers about their relationship.
As curiosity gives way to passion and passion gives way to something deeper, Jason and Derek will have to tackle their own personal demons to bring home the win and earn their happy ending.
Published by Alison Hendricks on January 20, 2016