Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sidelined (Southern Scrimmage #2), Mercy Celeste

This beautiful boy, with gorgeous eyes, smiled at me. And I had to go out and throw him on the ground a few times...

-Review by Kazza K

SidelinedTracy Wright is a coach at a local high school in Alabama. A school that has seen three high schools amalgamated into one. Which means three football teams that have been, are being, consolidated into one. Nothing like rivals now having to be team members and only one spot per player. The team is a mess, certainly not cohesive, and the school has decided that they will be bringing in another assistant coach to help. They already have one defensive coach now they'll add a new offensive coach to the mix. But Coach Wright is not impressed when he finds out who that is-

"Not fucking Levi Brody.
"Why not? He's an alumnus. He's more than qualified to -"
 "Not Brody. I won't have his prima donna ass on my field. Let him find another team to play God on. I don't want him here. We can't afford to pay him anything close to what he thinks he's worth -"
"You asked for qualified coaching assistants, and I found you probably the best one on the planet. And he volunteered. This is a win-win situation, coach."  

Tracy and Levi played on opposing teams when they were younger. So clearly Tracy is not impressed by the new choice of assistant coach. But why is that? Why such disdain?

Levi Brody has been let go from his team The Pirates in New Orleans. He's in pain and reeling from a career-ending injury to his shoulder, the ease with which his football club has dumped him - paid out his contract, told him to go. His (friends in the) team don't know -

Hey, 501, let's go tee up. Then you can treat me to a couple rounds at Rascals.
So Slayer was back in New Orleans but hadn't gotten the memo that Levi wasn't.

They didn't know yet. None of them. Management took the god damned cowards way out and cut him on the quiet. And no one knew. Yet.

So Slayer, one of Levi's best friends, calls him -

"Where the hell are you anyway? I'll come get you, and we'll talk to management. They can't just cut you. You got us two rings, man."

Levi is back in Alabama, his home town. Jude, Levi's brother, still lives in Alabama. In the town they grew up in. That's why Levi is back. Jude is a lawyer. Lives in the local McMansion that people say came off the winnings of his brother's NFL success. Jude has offered Levi up to the local school, with a few provisos; like naming the local sport field after him. Only thing is he didn't bother telling Levi. Oh, and, Levi isn't taking any calls from his brother at the moment.

Tracy is pissed off about the whole Levi Brody thing. It has stirred long buried emotions back up - by sixteen Levi Brody made Tracy know for sure he was gay. He was a fantasy before he went away to play professional football - even after. Levi will never be interested in him and he sure as hell isn't interested in Levi anymore. He's going to be a pain in the arse and turn his team and coaching into a circus. Levi didn't even turn up when he was supposed to for coaching. He neither wants or needs this shit. So Tracy goes to the local bar before he heads home. He is going to have a few quiet drinks to help deal with it all. While he's at the bar the football news is on and it is announced that Levi Brody has been let go. Things get a bit heated with some patrons -

"Bet he's off getting a blow job from that lousy fag they let play on the team..."
One of the pool table boys shouted at the TV, "Go look for him in Murphy's bed."  
Tracy lunged off the stool and had Brody around the waist before he'd made more than a couple of steps. "Easy they're just assholes. Easy," he said softly, pulling the long lean quarterback away from the commotion. 
"Fuck off." Levi turned to look at Tracy as he shoved him off. Nobody talks about Bo that way and gets away with it."

Levi is under the influence and Tracy can't let him drive home in the state he is in, so he ends up having to drive Levi home. They talk, a bit, Levi a mixture of snark and off-kilter, and Tracy holds his own or is trying to figure out what the deal is. And, of course, Levi is still as sexy as ever -

The bark of laughter from the dark rippled over his skin like a caress. Damn, the man had a sexy laugh. One that had Tracy trying to get his body under control. Hard fucking body and a sexy laugh. Not something he wanted to know right now.

When they drive by Jude's McMansion Tracy is stunned to find that Levi is living in a single wide. What the hell is up with that? But right now Levi is not 100% steady on his feet. Irrespective, he has a tight arse and a nice sway to it. Tracy is not staying, no way no how...but -

He put his hand on the gearshift and started to reverse out of the yard, because this was dangerous territory, watching Levi Brody move and wondering what those long damn legs would feel like..."

Tracy stood on the small stoop watching as Levi made his way deeper inside...
...Levi opened the small amber bottle and shook out a pill, then chased it with whiskey straight from the bottle.
This was his high school nemesis. The damned reason he knew he was into guys. Levi Brody, the one who did the impossible...falling the fuck apart right in front of him.

Tracy goes in after Levi to see if he is okay. But Levi isn't. There is no one around to look out for him, his shoulder is obviously giving him a hard time and he is washing painkillers down with whiskey. Levi ends up literally crying on Tracy's shoulder, venting his sadness - he's lost, cut from his team, in pain...and one thing leads to another. Tracy is holding his high school fantasy and Levi is keen on taking this further -

Tracy didn't know what to say. Or do. He turned to meet Levi's mouth when his breath ghosted over his lips. Slow dancing to no music turned to soft kisses in the middle of Levi's childhood home. This wasn't happening. This so wasn't happening.
"You want me. I can tell. I need to be with someone. Take me to bed...."
He slid his hand down Levi's back to grasp his ass, pulling him flush against him. He lost all pretense and groaned as Levi's rock hard dick pressed against his...
"I want you to take me to bed. Want you to fuck me until I forget...
Want it. Need it. It has nothing to do with the liquor."
Tracy's body clenched in need. God damn, Levi was a bottom. He was going to burn in hell for this...

And they have some smoking, needy, lost-in-lust sex. Tracy is very dominant in bed and Levi a power bottom. There is some nice dirty-talk going on in bed... or wherever they can fuck. And, let me tell you, Sidelined has some incredibly erotic sex in it. Inventive - including hot kilt sex, and sex with an unexpected bottom...and then some.

Sidelined is not anywhere near as angst-filled as Six Ways From Sunday, the first in this series. There is still enough tension to keep the pages turning. Certainly Levi calling Tracy Bo in the beginning sets the tone. Tracy is worried that he is a substitute for another man - because he is blonde like Bo and built like Bo. Irrespective of the fact that he desires Levi, Tracy has his not-so-happy feelings too -

Tracy leaned over him, his heart beating hard. "I wanted to hate you. I was set to hate you. How did you get so damn close this fast?"
"I'm irresistible, And Cute. And hot. And sexy. And I love dick. And football. And you're the only game in town."
Tracy felt the knife twist in his gut about the time his balls drew up tight. Levi's mouth went slack as he came in Tracy's hand. He wanted the fun back. But he didn't want to be Levi's default fuck.

But Tracy likes Levi and he doesn't give in too easily. Okay, so it seems like it's about sex initially for Levi. But feelings grow. It's not just Tracy that has them. It's whether Levi will share his feelings and whether Tracy believes him. But there are some light hearted times and events. Tracy's family are lovely and Tracy is a nice guy who is thoroughly gone on Levi - he has never really gotten over his
first crush. I really liked Tracy and Levi. They were meant for each other. They fit well together and both give as good as they get from one another. They have some fun as well -

"Mmmm, Doctor Tracy, I love it when you get all analytical on me. Tell me, Doc, I have a stiffening of my third lower appendage, and need a cure. Can you help me?" Levi backed his ass against Tracy's stiffening lower third appendage and rubbed sensuously.

But Levi has some issues from his childhood that make him seem a little 'off' at times. As the book progresses they come out gradually. His childhood, his life, his secrets, other aspects of his persona, and why. I did not expect it and I liked that Mercy Celeste went somewhere a little different with the characters, particularly Levi. There is a tying-in to Bo and Dylan - the MC's in Six Ways From Sunday - using some flashbacks and also because they actually are in the book. They form an important part of Levi's backstory. It was interesting to see how Bo and Dylan coped after Dylan came back a broken man in SWFS.

Overall -

If you like the following - semi-angst, sexy, sexy men, and erotic writing, humour and snark, two engaging characters, something a little different for one of the characters that you don't expect, some jocks and a HEA. And if you enjoy Mercy Celeste's writing, then I say don't miss Sidelined.

4.5 Viking King Stars 

PS: There is a sneak peek at book #3 at the end. That should be interesting.


  1. Great review, Kazza. I know your love for this author's work and I know how well she writes southern boys. :) This looks hot and sexy and the story looks like something right up my alley (Alabama, football, a little angst... to name a few). I will be adding this one to my list for sure.

    (LOVE the pics, as always) :D

    1. You'd be so happy - your football, no BS southern speak, hot southern men...the sex is ALL kinds of incendiary. I'm a happy woman :)