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Warm and fuzzies isn’t what I would normally expect from reading an MM romance set in the world of NFL football. But Jamie and Neal’s story gives me ALL the feels in ALL the places.
Neal is a 30-something NFL kicker who fell into a horrible depression after missing a huge kick at the Superbowl and being unceremoniously released by his team. Jamie is the young, fresh out of college kicker who is competing for the spot on the team left open by Neal. When they meet at a party held at the home of one of the few openly gay couples in the NFL, they click immediately and Neal starts to feel the first pull out of the dark place he fell to after his missed kick and the abrupt end of his career.
Both characters are sweet and kind. Neal’s struggles with depression are realistic, and I like how he is able to face the fact that he was experiencing a severe depression, and eventually be open about it.
Neal decides that he wants his old job to go to someone who’s truly worthy of it. So he decides to help Jamie win the kicker’s job on his old team. Neal’s old team is so obsessed with that one missed kick, that they don’t want Neal around the new kickers – as if somehow that one bad kick will taint everyone Neal goes near for the rest of his life – so they need to sneak around and keep their relationship hidden at first.
Rough Contact a story of moving forward and of acceptance. Neal has to learn to accept the fact that he did miss that hugely important kick – but that doesn’t change his value as a human being. It needs to become part of his life and then he needs to move forward. The fact that Jamie idolized him before the kick, and that he continues to look up to him after the missed kick is a huge boost. While he is younger, Jamie is smart enough to realize that one missed kick doesn’t wipe out 13 years of huge success.
Neal and Jamie are such a great couple, and I was so invested in them from the very beginning. This was my first book by Beth Bolden but it won’t be my last!