Dark Hollows Press

Touchdown by T.S. McKinney

touchdown*** This review contains mild spoilers. Please refrain if you haven’t read the story***

Contemporary; Sports
Publication day:
 September 7, 2016
217 pages  
Dark Hollows Press

Alexander Bryant has lived his entire life making everyone else happy. After meeting Lincoln, will he have the courage to finally do what makes him happy?

Alexander – I like to imagine myself a rebel – an ass-kicker that takes what he wants regardless of what others think. I make my own path and flip off the people who don’t agree. I laugh in the face of conflict. Nobody tells me what to do.

In reality, everything about me is a lie – past, present, and future. The Bryant name requires certain things and all my decisions are based on those requirements. I like football, but the family name demands I love it. I want to be an artist, but the family name demands I be a lawyer. The family demands I fall in love with a nice girl, but I’m falling for, well, the opposite of nice AND girl. I’m a coward and a liar.

Lincoln – I like to imagine myself a loner – a cold heartless bastard that takes what he wants. I lived the biggest part of my life with parents that were ashamed of me for more reasons that one could begin to count, so I trust no one.

I have a low tolerance for bullshit and hate liars.

So why did I go and fall in love with the biggest liar of them all?

My View: Touchdown was a disappointing read. I normally wait a couple of days before writing a formal review, but I don’t think it was necessary for this instance. I don’t need to think about it anymore. I had plenty of time as I read, and cringed. There’s so much wrong with this story that I decided not to rate it. I hate giving/receiving negative reviews without justification, so I’m going to point some goods along the way.

I was put-off by this story within the first thirteen percent. Please take into consideration that this book is labeled as a romance. If it was an erotica story, the dub-con meeting between the MCs around the twenty percent mark would make a little more sense. And yes, I said dub-con because there wasn’t a discussion about limits, likes, etc. No SSC, RACK, or even a word exchange between two consenting adults. And that’s without talking about the alcohol consumption, the public scene, and the insta-lust from seeing Alex’s face on a computer monitor.

I liked the idea of the guys going to explore the club. It was described in a way the reader could almost see what the guys were seeing and experiencing. They all have different reactions and the place seemed to be inclusive.

Not until the 41 percent we see an attempt to explain what BDSM is about, but saying you aren’t  going to rape your sub isn’t enough. Twenty percent later, we get to see that insta-lust turn into insta-love, softening the characters. Alexander had a great personality and I did like the mushy moments between him and Lincoln outside of their sex encounters. They had funny moments and a witty banter. But there’s no way Lincoln was only twenty-five, thirty-five? Maybe.

The author saved the last plot turn involving a spit-roast. I was holding my breath during the whole scene. Trying to understand the reason behind it and was rather pleased to see the way the author turned the events. Unfortunately, that connection was severed moments later.

The last part was just a fairytale ending that didn’t work for me. Too contrived and cliché to compensate for the rest of the story. I don’t mind the over the top antics, but they have to feel genuine. I did want to cheer for their HEA. The scene at the hospital was lovely, though.

Now into the characters. There are many stereotypical characters within this story–from the religious bigots to the cold and detached parents. The superstar quarterback, the less-than-smart beauty queen, the flirtatious bisexual characters, overprotective driver/friend, the Dom of all Doms, to mentioned some. There’s no slow progression to see the characters making decisions and changing their opinions–for example, Alex’s parents. I did like the coach’s reaction.

The BDSM acts itself were too advanced for a newbie with no preparation. Flogging, sounding, etc. require an understanding between the participants. Something more than what one can see/interpret from their partner’s eyes. Overall, the sex scenes were well put together and smexy, just out of context.

I might be ranting, but it’s been a while since I have seen a book in need of a BDSM consultant, or at least, a beta with a sensible understanding of it. I will give this author another try. Perhaps with the next story in the series and just not sure when. The potential is there, and I hope to be surprised next time.

What I liked the most: The cover’s nice.

I wanted more/less: I wanted to see an understanding of basic BDSM elements.

Who should read it: I can’t recommend this story.

ARC provided by Dark Hollows Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.