Fourth and Long, by Michele M. Rakes


Michele M. Rakes - Fourth and Long  Cover largeTitle: Fourth and LONG
Series: Saving Kane (Previous Book)
Author: Michele Micheal Rakes
Genre:Contemporary, MultiCultural
Length: Novel (413pgs)
ISBN: 978-1-62300-870-3
Publisher: Loose ID (17th March 2015)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3 ½ Hearts

Blurb: 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.
 Fourth and Long, by Michele M. Rakes, is a good story and one that I enjoyed even though I had some issues with the plot. This is a very long story, which is something that I normally love. However, I felt the story could have been reduced by quite a few pages and had the same effect. There is a lot of football jargon – which some is to be expected – it is a football story. For me, it was too much with some chapters replaying the whole game. I felt like it was too much information when I wanted the story to focus on the relationship of Irus and Jackson.
This is an interracial story between Irus Beaumont and Jackson McCoy. The story starts out with them being competitors but then Jackson gets traded and now they are on the same team. Irus is gay but he stays in the closet to avoid trouble with the team. Jackson is also gay but he too keeps it close to the vest.
Jackson has a lot of secrets from his past they he can’t share with anyone…or won’t. He’s been on his own for a long time after losing his mother to breast cancer. The only person he had in his life to offer support was Paul, a man almost like a father figure that helped his mom with the bills, and with her son when she wasn’t able. He paid for her funeral when the time came and helped Jackson get into some football programs. All of that help comes with a very big cost to Jackson. A cost he has paid with blood, sweat, and tears. A cost he seems to still be paying.
Unlike Jackson, Irus has a lot of family that love and support him. He has great rapport with his team and the coaches. When Jackson joins the same team, Irus is furious. He has always had an attraction to Jackson, but it’s something he keeps to himself. I think his fear comes from wanting Jackson and knowing he can’t have him or thinks he can’t. One way he can be close to him is to hassle him on the field. He wants to punish Jackson and he certainly does. He tackles Jackson hard leaving him unable to move on the field.
With Jackson now in rehab and thousands of miles away, guilt suffocates Irus. They start having late night phone conversations while Jackson is in rehab and this starts the beginning of their friendship. They get to know each other pretty well so when he gets back they come across as longtime friends.
Neither Jackson nor Irus make a move even though it’s pretty plain they both are attracted to each other. Nerves hold them back and fear of not being completely sure of each other’s sexuality. Finally, they just go for it consequences be damned. A kiss turns into a very heated moment and their friendship goes into relationship status. Their romance was strange. Jackson has no reservations on expressing his wants and desires. Jackson, on the other hand, has a lot of issues. One being trust and another feeling safe. He has no trouble sleeping with Irus but he holds back a lot with his feelings. Even when they get really close I still felt Jackson wasn’t as invested in the relationship.
The author has created a very interesting story with a lot of twists and turns. My problem with it, however, is a lot of it never seemed to have a resolution. Maybe the author is planning a sequel with these answers. Even if that was the case there is a lot that I wanted to have answered right now or at least seeing it being addressed. Such as what happened to Terry (Jackson’s ex)? He just disappeared. What happens to Paul (the father figure slash pedophile)? It was insinuated but nothing concrete. And Jackson never confides, fully, with Irus about his past.
With the page count being over 400 I would love having some of these answers and less about each play on the field. Some of the issues were glossed over making them feel unbelievable. When Irus is outed no one makes too much of a big deal which is something that was a concern. It came across as just a bunch of good ole boys, and while that would be incredible and amazing if it happened that way, it just didn’t seem believable to me that it did.
There is a really sweet surprise towards the end of the book that had some tears flowing. For the most part, I really did enjoy this story. Football stories have always been a go-to/must-read for me. So it was no surprise when I saw this new release and wanted to get my hands on it. I, also, have been wanting to read, Saving Kane, which is Ms. Rake’s book before this one. With Kane and Garret being part of this story, I know for sure I will be reading it also.
I would recommend this story to others who love football stories also and like to root for the underdog. It is worth reading even though I had some issues but I still enjoyed it and pretty much read it without stopping.
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