#ReleaseDay • Review • Match Point (Sports of the Season #1) by Leigh Carman and Dreamspinner Press
Two stubborn men.
One is a rude jerk. The other, the life of the party.
It was hate at first sight.
Pro beach volleyball players Finn Callahan and Dexter Savage have been rivals since college. While Finn always comes out on top on the court, Dexter’s carefree and fun-loving personality earns him scores of adoring men and women. And as much as Finn fights to deny it, there’s another reason for the tension he feels when Dex is around. Hate wasn’t the only thing he felt when he first laid eyes on his opponent.
When they’re forced to team up, the two men must bury their differences—on and off the court—if either of them is going to succeed professionally. Add to Goodreads
FINN FUCKING Callahan.
That cocky bastard is the only thing standing between me and my first professional Grand Slam title. I loathe him. I’m not alone. No one on the PBVA—Professional Beach Volleyball Association—circuit likes Finn Callahan. The man is a dickhead, through and through. I dealt with him many, many times in college when we both played for USC. Callahan was a douche then, and he’s an even bigger douche now—something I wouldn’t have thought possible.
Blake Brady, my teammate for the past two years, flashes me a hand signal behind his back, indicating I should serve to Callahan’s left and put downward spin on the ball. I stand behind the line, find my target, and take three powerful steps forward. When I release the ball in the air, it goes twelve feet up. My final step ends in a jump, and the flat of my hand comes down to make contact.
“Nice one, D.” Blake lets me know my serve is perfect.
Unfortunately Callahan’s partner, Tristan Galliano, throws himself sideways and digs the ball out before it hits the ground. The man is damn fast.
“Blake.” At my shout, my teammate leaps high vertically in front of the net to block Callahan’s return…and misses. The ball is going left, but I’m all the way to the right. I stretch out, determined to make the save. The ball skips off my fingertips and hits the sand.
Son of a bitch!
Blake helps me to my feet. “Fuck. They only need one point, D.”
“I know that, Blake,” I snap. Callahan’s loud whoops of joy make me want to punch the man right in the mouth. I glance at the two men high-fiving each other on the other side of the net. Both are taller than average and athletic, with the thin but muscular build typical of beach volleyball players. But where Tristan Galliano’s face has soft, kind features, Finn Callahan’s has rugged, angled ones. Tristan is golden blond and sweet looking. Finn is dark, coppery brown and always glaring. Tristan is a genuinely nice guy. Finn is an asshole to the hundredth power.
How Tristan has put up with Finn Callahan for the last four years I’ll never understand. But since they partnered up their senior year of college, they’ve been unstoppable. They beat Brady and me, taking us out of a spot on the US Olympic team a year ago. It’s infuriating to know that 90 percent of the times I’ve faced off against Callahan, he’s come out on top. Today isn’t shaping up to be any different.
Callahan bends over, hands on his strong thighs as he waits for his partner’s serve. His sharp blue eyes bore into me from across the net. When I make eye contact, Callahan’s lips pull up into a devious smirk. Asshole. I scowl and focus back on Galliano. I don’t want to be caught off guard because I’m busy trading glares with the guy who doesn’t have the ball.
“Let’s do this, D. We got ’em.” I appreciate Blake’s enthusiasm. God knows I need him believing in us. Especially when facing the unstoppable power duo of Callahan and Galliano. I call them the Asshole and the Angel. If it weren’t for Callahan’s surly attitude, they’d have every sponsor on the tour eating out of their hands.
I nod at my partner. “You got it, Blake.” We take our positions and wait for the serve. The ball comes right at me, spinning wildly from Galliano’s killer jump serve. I rush forward and dig it out for Blake.
Blake grunts and pops it to me, nice and high at the net. Perfect. My heart pounds as I jump up and spike the ball fast and hard. If they miss this one, we get the serve and the chance to win. Callahan rushes forward, hurls his long, lean body onto the sand, and reaches out for the ball. It happens quickly, but each moment is frozen separately in my brain, like a string of photographs flipping to form a moving picture. No way is he going to make it in time.
Finn’s hands are extended, ready to dig out the ball. This is it. Do or die. The bastard gets under it and thumps the ball up high. It arcs down to Tristan, who spikes it over the net to an uncovered spot behind Blake. It hits the sand with a dull thud, and the crowd goes crazy. Callahan and Galliano shout and hug, celebrating their season-ending win.
Dammit! Frustrated, I stare at the ground, chest heaving while I catch my breath. Blake nudges me and uses his chin to point toward the winners. “What?”
He gestures at the net. “C’mon. You know we got no choice.”
Ugh! Who was it who decided you had to shake hands with the men who just stole your dreams? Good sportsmanship my ass. I’m itchy and sweaty and covered in sand. All I want to do is shower and go home and not think about volleyball until after the New Year, when next season’s practice starts. The last thing I want to do is watch Callahan gloat, which he’s sure to do.
Tristan approaches us first, grinning and more than happy to shake hands and wish us well. Once again I’m baffled. How can such a nice guy stand dealing with a rampant asshat like Finn Callahan? I greet Galliano and turn to the man in question, hand reluctantly extended. God, I wish I were holding out a fist instead. Callahan, that cocky son of a bitch, gives me a smug little smirk as he grips my hand. I shake as quickly as possible, keeping contact to a minimum, and storm off the court, suddenly bursting with the overwhelming need to wash my hands.
God, I hate that man.
Phenomenal!! Leigh Carman has kept me glued to the pages of her latest novel, Match Point, from the minute I started on the first page until I landed on the very last. This is her first M/M novel but it's definitely not her first published book and that is evident with every page. I think I have had every emotion pulled up from my gut today, but the one I had the most, and the one I am left with, is a huge ass smile that I can't seem to wipe off my face.
Finn Callahan and Dex Savage hate each others guts,
or so it appears, but as the story unfolds and we learn more about these two opposing teammates we begin to understand what is at the surface of such potent outbursts of hostility and hate. Finn has been harboring feelings of animosity for years towards Dex, but when they are forced to be teammates he may have to admit that Dex is not the person he made him out to be all of these years.
And Dex doesn't understand what is going on with him, at all. He just knows that Finn Callahan makes him feel things that he has never felt with a woman or anyone before, but in order to admit what he fears, he will have to dredge back through some horrible childhood/teenage memories that he would rather keep buried.
The author does a great job of establishing the back history of the characters so that by the time they are left with no choice other than to become teammates, if they want to compete, we already have an emotional attachment to them.
In the beginning, Finn goes through some really tough and heartbreaking months so by this time I've cried with him several times and I'm feeling really close to him. He was really tugging on my heartstrings.
At the same time, I've watched Dex struggle through his memories and fight the over-suffocating feelings of an anxiety attack coming on. So sometimes he may act irrational or irate but he has his reasons for why he does.
Watching these two come together, knowing what I know, was both titillating and nerve-wracking as they took two steps forward and ten steps back. But, my oh my...when they get it right, they are game on. These two men could not have been more perfect for each other. In the bedroom, on the sand, or just cuddled up on the couch.
There are so many amazing things that take place in this story and I'm being kind of vague, intentionally, so I don't spoil it for other readers and it makes it hard to say what I really want to say, but Leigh Carman has just became an auto buy author for me based off this story alone. That's how good it was, and how much I enjoyed it.
The dialogue between Finn and Dex flowed so smoothly and so naturally that you honestly felt like you were sitting there watching it take place right in front of you. I caught myself laughing aloud at the same time they were laughing and I know I often say in reviews "I held my breath through the whole thing", well...I held my breath through the whole thing and that is no lie and I'm referring to their hot as hell, sexy, mind-melting, bedroom scenes that were holy-moly freaking HOT!!
Go get this book. It's amazing, it's emotional, it's funny, the plot is angsty with so much lust and underlying desire running rampant that when they finally cave and take what they want, you, also, will have a huge ass smile across your face. I LOVED IT. I hope there are more books in the works. 5 Stars.
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Meet the Author
I am a reader first and foremost, that’s what led me to begin writing down all of the stories crammed into my head.
I like to write about the dark side of fame and how it truly affects those living in the fishbowl of today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. And if you haven’t noticed, I LOVE writing about sexy fighters. I also write M/M as Leigh Carman, my first book will be out mid 2016 with Dreamspinner Press.
After growing up in New England, I currently live outside of Atlanta, GA with my husband and two children.
When I’m not spinning tales of the rich and famous, I’m a full time procrastinator. I love chocolate, dogs with squished in faces, and the Boston Red Sox.
Get in touch if you have ANY questions. I respond to all fans personally and I’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.