Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sidelined by Mercy Celeste


Title: Sidelined
Author: Mercy Celeste
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)

Series: Southern Scrimmage #2
Main Characters: Levi and Tracy
Release Date: July 2013
Publisher: -
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
My, how the mighty falls.

After leading his team to two Super Bowl wins, being cut leaves quarterback Levi Brody reeling. Betrayed, scared, and picking up the pieces from a failed love affair, he abandons New Orleans for the speck-on-the-map Alabama town he left behind. He wants nothing more than to hide out and lick his wounds, but an interfering brother thrusts him back into sports—coaching high school football. Where once he’d ruled the field as star player, now he’s taking orders from a very young, very attractive head coach. A coach with a deep-rooted hatred for all things Levi Brody.

Head coach of the newly formed East County High, Tracy Wright has his work cut out for him. Forming three former rival teams into one working unit is all that he can handle. The last thing he needs is an interfering golden boy. He has no use for Levi Brody, until discovering how much Levi has to offer both the team and Tracy.

Small town jealousy plus big city secrets converge, and just might leave both men Sidelined.

Book 2 in The Southern Scrimmage Series. Should be read after Six Ways from Sunday.

My Review:
I'll admit it, this is a book that I've been saving just because I loved book #1 so much. I both looked forward to this book and dreaded it because you just never know if it is going to live up to what you expect. I will warn you...it hasn't for a lot of people, but I'm not one of them. I truly loved this book. There are some disclosures that hurt after reading and loving book #1 and that couple, but honestly, the events that happened are very believable and make me love this whole series just a bit more. BUT, they are a bit shocking. I actually went back into book #1 just to make sure I didn't miss any hints about them, but that whole timeframe is skipped in that book. There's basically a blank year and that story is filled in here...heartbreaking, even more.

This book is about Levi and Tracy. Tracy is the head football coach of the local Alabama high school football team. This is a team under stress because the school system has combined three rival schools into one...now players that used to hate each other are having to play together as a team. He's also been told that he needs to take on Levi as an asst. coach. He has no desire to pamper the NFL star who from the outside always looked like he had it all to Tracy.

Levi was the quarterback for the NOLA Saints, but in a game late last season, a tackle blew out his shoulder. His career is over and the team has dumped him without even a thank you. He's back in his hometown in Alabama licking his wounds...both career and personal ones. He was head over heels in love with Bo (hero from bk #1) and still reeling from Dylan coming back and the wrench that threw into his life. Levi is deep in the closet and has a few secrets back there besides just that.

There's a lot to this book. There are flashbacks throughout so you get just how emotional all that history truly is. There's a history between the two men who used to play high school football against each other as rivals. There's a few secrets there as well. They are both DEEP in the closet, but it isn't easy to hide their sizzling chemistry especially as they work together with the high school football team. There's family history that's painful. There's the residual pain for Levi from Bo and Dylan's relationship (book #1...which I HIGHLY recommend because it is SO GOOD). There is a LOT of emotion to this book, although I didn't bawl through it like I did in book #1...so it's not quite that high. 

I really enjoyed the set-up. I enjoyed the characters. I loved reading this book. I love books that are centered around sports and this series is definitely setting up to be one of my all-time favorites. This is one of those that as I read, I kept cringing looking at how much was left because I didn't want it to end. I've ordered it in print because it needs to be on my keeper shelf. 

Both the characters for Book #3, which I think is the final book in this series (sob), were introduced and I can't wait for that one. It's definitely going to be a good one!!

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