by JT Fox
This is the first book in a MM romance trilogy
Eric “The Brick” Higgins is the highest paid halfback in the NFL. He works hard and wins big. As a sophomore in college Eric had the opportunity to score the winning touchdown during the National Championship Game and his football career has been on fire ever since.
Jordan Barr is the star quarterback for Miami Heat Wave, and he has had to struggle for every inch of his success. Jordan never had it easy growing up. His father passed away, his mom was sick, and he had sisters to help take care of. Playing in the NFL helps him to care for his family. Maybe one day he can go back to school to be an architect, but not until his baby sister finishes college.
Eric and Jordan have been acquaintances for a while. Playing football in the same region they found themselves at the same camps and clinics, they even had the opportunity to be opponents on more than one occasion. Now adults they both play in the NFL, and end up working on the same charity for inner city kids. This takes them both to Tampa for an interview on Sports Talk. Even through their brief interactions, it quickly becomes clear that they are attracted to each other. They both have a lot to lose and a gay love affair would be a scandal they might not recover from.
Fox did a great job with Play Hard. The characters were well developed without being overly shrouded in football jargon, in this story of two characters pulled by the weight of their careers, family, social politics and their own happiness. This was my first MM romance. I was delighted that the theme of same gender sexual relationships did not detract from the plot line. The stigma of homosexuality, especially in the NFL, added to the suspense and drama of the story, in this tale of forbidden lust.