Man On (Black Jack Gentleman, #1) by Liz Crowe
Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.
Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.
Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.
All eyes are on the fledgling team in its debut season. It’s crucial that the Black Jacks prove all the doubters wrong. They must make a good showing in the league and with new fans. But player drama, club dynamics, and misplaced priorities may tear it apart before it even begins.
Emma - 4.5 Crowns
This is book 1 in the Stewart Realty spin off series, The Black Jack Gentleman
Firstly, I am ashamed to admit that even though the Stewart Realty Series is one of my top reads EVER!! This series has been on my TBR for ages. Having now read the series, all I can say is: Why haven't I read this sooner?
Man On starts with the set-up of Detroit's new Football (soccer) team. Rafe Inez (a crossover character) has been integral in this and has been given the task of putting together a team. Having secured various players, he is pleased if not a little apprehensive to have Nicco Garza joining the team. Nicco is a huge European football star; a serious bad boy who has recently seen his huge career in Spain go down the toilet. Apart from his wild partying and drinking, his life has been hung out to dry by his bitter ex-wife after outing him to the press as bisexual/gay. As a league that won't tolerate homosexuality, his only choice if he wants to continue playing is to head to Michigan for a fresh start.
Parker Rollings is an all American college football star. An only child he is giving up a life playing the sport he loves to please his parents who want him to go to medical school and marry his long term girlfriend. Rafe goes to visit him as he wants the nineteen year old to join his team of footballing misfits; to convince him this is the right path for him. Parker agrees and decides that it is about time he makes his own pathway through life, especially as he has started to question who he is and what he wants and needs from life.
What will happen when Nicco and Parker are pitted against each other on the field of play? Can Nicco curb his destructive ways? And can Parker finally accept who he is?
This is a fantastic book, from the dedication right through to the end. Nicco is a fabulous but very floored character. Having finally come to terms with his bisexuality, his bitter wife really does a number on him. To make matters worse he loses the only person that grounds him in the most tragic of circumstances and this sent him spiralling into a journey of self destruction. A heavy drinker and sex addict, he turns to either sex to keep his demons in check.
Parker is just lovely. Fresh out of college, he has questioned his sexuality for a while. Having spent the last 4 years in a relationship with a woman, he decides he needs to discover who he is. When he meets Nicco, sparks fly and this leads him into denial; leaving him to jump into yet another sexual relationship with a woman.
For both characters this is a journey of discovery and acceptance. The level of angst is high throughout the book, as they both fight there true feelings and desires in very different ways.
I loved that the back drop is the world of football. I have read lots of sport related books, usually baseball or Ice hockey. To read a book that is based in a sport I love was brilliant. I would say that it is only a back drop though; if you are not a football fan, you will still love this book.
I commend Liz on both her writing and her bravery once again. This is a new series and to kick it off with a M/M romance takes serious balls. Liz is the queen of romance for real life and again and again she pulls it out of the bag. The journey is a hard one for both characters and you feel everyone of those emotions along the way. I was hooked form the dedication,
"To all professional athletes who struggle with their sexual identities for the sake of their sport"
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nicco and Parker's story and highly recommend the story to anyone who loves to read about finding love the hard way.