Title: Outing the Quarterback (Long Pass Chronicles #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Tara Lain (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 19, 2014 – 216 pgs
Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.
In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.
When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.
Despite (or maybe even because of) the adolescent melodrama, I really enjoyed this story. Yes, Will’s life is a cliche – his wealthy parents are pushy, dysfunctional and slightly evil. His perfect girlfriend is a gold-digging bitch. He is a spoiled yet miserable rich boy. But it is Noah who really caught my imagination. The struggling artist, beautiful yet scarred and fiercely independent – I loved this character.
Will’s closeted life really frustrated me. Even though he uses his girlfriend as an unconsenting beard, he vilifies her for her interest in his money. He enjoys his parents’ money and the lifestyle it affords him but he complains about being trapped by it. However, as much as I didn’t really like Will at the start, this is a new adult book that tracks his journey to a more honest and real place.
Parts of this story are a little too simple for me. Characters are either good or bad with a host of forces conveniently conspiring against Will and Noah. But I really enjoyed the unlikely romance and the way Will grows up – from a spoiled child to a good, honest man by the end of the story.
I didn’t read these books in order and this is definitely not my favourite story in the series. But it is a sweet, angsty new adult story. And it is the beginning, the first story the others link back to.
Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara had the first novel she ever wrote accepted for publication in 2011. She’s now on book 27 and counting. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.