Saturday, January 28, 2017

Release Day Review: Down By Contact by Sloan Johnson

Title: Down By Contact
Series: Wilmington Breakers #1
Release Date: January 28
Genre: m/m
Length: approx. 74,000 words


There’ve been two great loves in Zach Kendricks’ life. He lost one because of his commitment to the other. 
After Griffin walked away because he refused to live his life in the closet, Zach put everything he had into achieving his football dreams. When he was drafted, he began to understand that Griffin had done the best thing for both of them by leaving. But that doesn’t mean he’s ever forgiven his first love. 
Now in his second season with the Wilmington Breakers, Zach’s committed to keeping his head down so he can prove his rookie stats weren’t a fluke. He knows his resolve will be tested when he’s selected to participate in Outside the Pocket, a reality show which follows players through training camp. He’s almost convinced himself it won’t be a distraction when Griffin walks into the room. Distraction becomes an understatement when he’s informed he will be spending nearly every waking minute for the next six weeks with the only man he’s allowed to hurt him. 
Will Zach’s love of the game be enough to keep him from being downed by contact again?

5 Stars

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.*

The thing I dread most about ending one book and moving on to the next one, is that initial meeting and the getting to know you stage between the characters, that can sometimes be really awkward. So, I absolutely love a good friends to lovers or a second chances love story. I love that familiarity the characters have with one another. Down by Contact was an amazing second chances romance. Sloan spins a plausible tale of an in-the-closet football player, Zach and a photo journalist for a reality show, Griffin. Griffin and Zach fell in love in college, but because of the hurt Griffin felt at Zach's refusal to come out or acknowledge they were more than just good friends, he felt the need to protect himself, so he left, leaving both men heartbroken.

Zach is now playing professional football for the Breakers in their North Carolina hometown. Griffin takes a job with as a cameraman for the reality show "Outside the Pocket". He'll be assigned to follow one player around for two months to get a behind the scenes look at the life of a professional football player working through training camp. Griffin is assigned as Zach's cameraman. Will these two men be able to work past the hurt and pain and give love another chance?

I absolutely loved this story. The characters are so likable and they fit well together. The story was well-writen, flowed well and the chemistry between Zach and Griffin was off the charts explosive. This was a quick and easy read that I didn't want to put down. It was sweet, but had enough angst snd heat to keep you turning the pages. Sloan did an amazing job at letting us learn about Griffin and Zach's past, while keeping the story in the present. She gives us just enough information without overloading us with the past. I found this book focused much more on the couple than the sport, so even if you don't like/understand football don't let it deter you from reading this book.

This is a new series, but it's a spinoff of the Homeruns series. Zach is the twin brother of Nate from Line Drive, but these books can definitely be read and enjoyed as a standalone. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Sloan has in store for this series!! Highly recommended!!

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Downtown By Contact is Book 1 in Sloan Johnson's new series Wilmington Breakers, a spin-off from her terrific Homerun series. This book can be read as a standalone, but Zach in this book is the twin brother of Nate from Line Drives.

Zach's whole life has been focused on football and being drafted into the NFL. He's reached his goal and is now in the second season of his career, only the secret he's been keeping is weighing in on him. When called to a meeting with his coach, he shares his secret and is surprised when his coach supports him. But he's also told he's been selected to be a participant in a reality tv show that follows the players to give fans insight into their lives. Zach isn't happy about having someone follow to film him, and he feels even more strongly when the person who is to film him is the only man he's ever loved. Griffin is a freelancer and when offered a job with a reality show, he takes it not knowing that the football team would be his ex-boyfriend's. Even though he's the new guy he's given the prime position of filming Zach and soon finds out why he's been given the job. Griffin finds himself torn in two between doing his job and protecting the man he still loves.

Zach took it easy and enjoyed his downtime from football and now that training camp is started he's paying for that time off. He knows he has a lot to prove coming off his rookie season and has put a lot of pressure on himself to earn his spot on the team. But, even though Zach is relieved to have told his coach he's gay, he has a lot more stress and more pulling his focus away from the field. He wants to ignore Griffin but he knows they were both to blame for their history and maybe now is their chance to get back together. Griffin's never expected Zach to forgive him for what happened in college, but when given the chance he's willing to forgive and forget the past and take a chance on having a relationship together. It should be easy since both men are still in love with the other, but not in their world! 

I have been looking forward to this book after meeting Zach in Line Drive, and it did not disappoint! I loved Zach, Griffin and all the supporting characters. Zach and Griffin were so likable, even with their faults. Both were open-minded and able to work through their issues, and to see where they've gone wrong in the past and just when you think they're not going to get it together, Nate visits and helps kick them both into action. This story was such an easy read that once I started, I did not want to put it down! I can't recommend this book enough, and if you're thinking about passing on it because you don't like football or sports, don't let that stop you. This story is not heavy in the football dialogue!

Rating: 5+++ stars!

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