Monday, May 29, 2017

False Start by Sloan Johnson

Nixon Cross isn’t wired to share his life with anyone. He’d considered a relationship once, but after the one man patient enough to put up with all his quirks shut him down, he committed all of his energy to football and helping his players. Now, one of his players need more help than Nixon can provide and his former flame is the one man who will know what to do.

Retired NAFL player Lincoln Sims had no choice but to stay in the closet; he was a professional athlete at a time when it was impossible to be honest about his sexuality. After retiring, he confessed his secret to his wife and son because he was tired of living a lie. Now, he’s ready to live his life. Nixon Cross is the man he left behind but could never forget.

Can these men find a way to recover from their false start years earlier?

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

False Start is the second book in the Wilmington Breakers series. It can be read as a standalone without issue.

I am, without a doubt, a huge Sloan Johnson fan. I love her m/m like no other. This story, while entertaining, hit on the topic of CTE, specifically with football players and the effects it can have not only to the person suffering with it, but those that love them. It was such an emotional raw look at those it impacts.

Nixon and Linc have known each other for years, but something always stood in the way of them getting together. When Nixon is all but forced to contact Lincoln to help with the Zach situation, he doesn't know how to deal with all the feelings that one conversation bring up. Can Linc make Nixon see he doesn't have to hide his true self? Will Nixon let his guard down enough to not pass up on love a second time?

I have to say of everything I've read of Ms. Johnson's this is my favorite. It had me in tears, but it's also sexy and sweet. Everything you want in a read, at least for me it was. I couldn't put it down, even waking up early on my day off just to finish it! It is so worth the emotional ride to get to the ending. I hope Blake's story is coming soon. I am dying to see what is next!!

The second book in this series is grittier and more mature than the first – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a second chance love story between two men in their forties. Lincoln is a retired American football star and Nixon is a professional trainer we met in the first book. Twenty years earlier, football was a much more hostile environment for gay athletes and staff and Nixon and Lincoln were never free to follow their hearts. Now, with a very different social climate and Lincoln’s son about to leave home, Nixon and Lincoln have a chance to make things right between them.

This is a darker, grittier read than most of Sloan Johnson’s sports romances. As a retired player, Lincoln watches his friends and former teammates struggle with the long-term consequences of repetitive head injuries. He deals with the toll his career has taken on his own body, mind, and relationships. The glamour and excitement of a professional sports career is long gone, but he is constantly reminded of the consequences.

I really loved these two men. They are older than the author’s usual heroes but their life experiences have made them refreshingly human. The chemistry between these two is hot, but this feels more relational and less sexual than other stories in the series. I love the reflective moments these two experience and I really enjoyed both of their complicated histories. Beyond the two characters are some interesting insights into the experiences of LGBT people in sport over the past twenty years.

This story doesn’t have as much sport in it as I’ve come to expect from this author. It makes sense because neither Lincoln or Nixon is a player. The sports focus is more on the challenges and consequences of a career in a professional contact sport rather than on a specific team or player’s progress over a season. With Lincoln reflecting on his career and his son about to enter the draft, I really enjoyed the more thoughtful elements of this story.

This is the second book in the series, while you can read it is as a standalone, you would get more out of it if you read the first book.

False Start deals with not only the relationship between Linc and Nix, it also deals with a very real subject matter in today's world, the reality of what happens in football when you take too many hits to the head.

Linc and Nix have danced around their feelings for each other for years and it's finally time for them to address them and see where things go. While I could feel the connection between them, there were times that I couldn't and I felt disconnected for some reason. There was a lot of strong emotions in this book and I will admit I shed a few tears. I loved how Nix finally came out of his shell, not all the way, but way more than Linc or anyone else expected. I hope we get to see more of this sweet couple in future books in the series. I also hope we see what happens with Linc's son, Blake, and his friend, John.

This is the second in the series and I would recommend that you start at the beginning to get the full story. That said, this centres around a new pairing, but in a familiar setting.

The blurb gives you some context as to these two men who have been important in each other’s lives for a long time as friends, but never prepared to be open about their sexuality. The story of how they are at their current point in life, and how external influences have stopped them from acting on a strong love for each other is very moving. For too long, Nixon, in particular, has been hiding all his personal life and devoting himself to work, as though that will have to be enough.

Patrick's story made me cry and is a brilliant way of reminding us all about what is important and whose feelings we should consider first, above all else. Blake, Lincoln's son, was another side character who clearly has a lot on his plate and given the ending, maybe we will get to learn more in a future installment.

I am a huge sports romance fan and I like it when it is not all about a player, but also about support staff and families. This is a really well rounded, thoughtful, and sexy read. Thank you, Ms. Johnson!

Also Available in the Wilmington Breakers Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Down by Contact post.

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

Connect with Sloan

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of False Start (Wilmington Breakers #2) by Sloan Johnson to read and review.

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