ARC REVIEW ⚽ into the team, by Rob Damon⚽
Title: into the team
Author: Rob Damon
Length: 216 Pages
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Publication Date: Sept 15, 2015
Heat Level: Moderate
To honor his father, young footballer Todd Mackerson commits to his goal of playing for a professional team. When, at the age of 20, he is offered a place to train with one of England’s biggest clubs, he leaves home convinced his dream is within reach.
Being warned by his new team mates of the tough rules and hard training routines, Todd is undeterred. But when he discovers that the player’s way of bonding borders on the sexual, and that he must learn to accept the erotic affections that connect the team together, he wonders how far he can go for his dream.
But, after experiencing the care and attention men can give to each other, Todd feels awakened. Learning that each player has a special “partner” on the team, who they play and bond with as intimately as lovers, Todd becomes fascinated with the idea.
And when he develops feelings for one player in particular, he discovers how a stronger kind of romance - that between two men - can be pure and powerful enough to bring magic and success on the pitch.
Into the Team, by Rob Damon is his debut novel about a small boy, who lost his father at a very young age, growing into a man and fulfilling, both, their dreams of playing football. For those of us who live in America, we call it soccer, but it doesn’t change the dynamics of what the book is about, and that is team companionship/spirit/support/connections to your fellow team member.
Todd has dreamed of playing football since he was a small boy. He’s now twenty and it looks like his dream is coming true. He has practiced hard for this chance and he has a good head on his shoulders.
As he is driven to an undisclosed location, by a football scout, he hates to get his hopes up for what this could mean. He soon finds out that he is being offered a spot on one of England’s biggest clubs and he is ecstatic.
In the locker room, Todd sees two players in the shower together and this really confuses him. He’s pretty sure they were touching each other in a sexual way, but why isn’t anyone saying anything?
The more he learns about team dynamics and bonding the more questions play havoc with his head. When the boss notices Todd’s concern he pulls him into the office for a talk. His theory has proven that by partnering up with another team member, one that you connect with strongly, makes the flow of your skill on the field much better.
Todd doesn’t deny that knowing your team members and being able to anticipate their moves on the field works great but he is not sure about the intimacy he witnesses.
I really enjoyed this story and I liked the author’s writing style. I wasn’t sure how the story was going to play out, but I was intrigued enough to stay with it and basically read it in one sitting.
I wouldn’t consider this a romance, at all, more like a bro-mance. There isn’t any sex in the book, to speak of, however, there is touching and kissing. Most is handled off page allowing the reader to use their imagination.
With that said, there are moments of intimacy between the players that was very realistic and sweet, bordering on hot and sensual. The more comfortable Todd becomes the more he is at ease with expressing his feelings. At first, he’s very reserved and almost bashful, but he soon gives in wanting that connection with his teammate
He does start to question his sexuality, however, and wonders if he is gay or at least bi. His partner on the team is Daryl, who is very shy and keeps more to himself. He has never clicked with anyone on the team until Todd came along. These two have a history together that I was really hoping would bring them closer off the field, as well as on.
The story flows along at a nice pace and the author spends most of his focus on the field or locker rooms where the players are learning to trust and form connections. There were some phrases that I was not familiar with since this happens in England but I wasn’t thrown from the story. At one point, I was completely under the author’s spell, when the guys were on the field and the author narrated the game, play by play.
I actually felt as though I was on the field watching, holding my breath, willing the ball to go into the net. It was intense and I think I held my breath through the whole game. Great job by the author with his detailed descriptive narrative.
The author, in my opinion, leaves the story open for the reader to form their own opinion as far as the HEA or HFN. I choose to believe that Todd and Daryl, both, have their happy ever after and I would love to see more about them in the future to see if I am right.
I would definitely recommend this story to other readers who like a story with heart. There is a scene where I had tears pouring down my face as Todd faces some of his past about his dad. It was a beautiful and heartfelt moment and the author had my undivided attention. Then, there were moments that had me smiling from ear to ear celebrating their joy with them. Overall, the story was very moving and I would definitely read more from this author.
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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *