Title: Outing the Quarterback
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 216 Pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blurb: 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.
Review: The grass always seems greener on the other side, doesn’t it? I believe both MCs in Outing the Quarterback subscribe to this way of thinking. Will Ashford’s life is enviable to just about everyone. He has plenty of money, he is the popular quarterback on his way to the NFL, and he has his pick of the girls. What more could anyone want?
Noah Zajack, on the other hand, has no money, may have to sacrifice his morals to get a scholarship, and he has no love prospects on the horizon.
When these two young men meet up in an art class, there is an instant spark between them. After dancing around one another for a while, they inevitably end up together. Will believes he can keep his feelings out of it, but that doesn’t last for long. Before they know it, they’re both in deep, and Will realizes that he has some big decisions to make.
When Will and his best friend manage to upset a video blogger, he finds out that he may have to make some of those decisions a lot sooner than he thought. His past is coming back to haunt him. His father gives him a way out, but if he takes it he knows he will lose Noah. He just has to decide if it will be worth it.
I loved the concept of this story. Will was basically living in a gilded cage, and he was given his way out, but sometimes the prisoner doesn’t know how to survive outside that pretty, comfortable cage. Noah had less to lose in the long run, but he needed that scholarship if he wanted any kind of future at all. Eventually they both realize that the most important thing in life is love, but they have to have the backbone to go after it.
I believe the author did a great job with the characters and the story. The only hang up I had was with the over-flowery dialogue that just didn’t work for the MCs’ age group. Other than that, I loved the story, and I loved the characters and their struggles. I know there is another book coming in this universe, and I can’t wait to read it.
You can buy Outing the Quarterback here: