Review: Player and the Prude by Daisy Harris

Wednesday, August 1

Title: Player and the Prude*
Author:  Daisy Harris
Series: Men of Holsum College #4
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Format: E-book
Date/Year:  July 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Brooks Price loves a challenge. So when a frenemy dares him to sleep with a dorky, over-tall film major, Brooks amps up his considerable charm.

Matt Porter can’t guess why Brooks is flirting with him. Raised religious, Matt doesn’t believe in sex before relationships. Unfortunately, Brooks is all about sex, and Matt doubts Brooks is interested in anything else.

Slowly, Brooks chips away at Matt’s armor—taking him on dates, asking for kisses, holding hands—baby steps, none of which Matt can resist or refuse. However, when Brooks pushes too far, Matt freaks out.

Despite his stoic exterior, Matt’s painfully conflicted over his sexuality—scared of his darker desires, worried about hurting Brooks. The pair explores boundaries, but when things turn rough and Matt unleashes his inner wants, he doesn’t know if he can overcome his shame about sex in order to be with the man he’s growing to love.

My Musings:

I have come to expect certain things when I pick up a book in The Men of Holsum College series.  I expect a fun and light-hearted book with steamy sex scenes and interesting guys.  Player and the Prude was a departure from that, it was darker and more intense. 

Brooks is a member of the lacrosse team.  Holsum College requires sports teams to do community service so his team is spending the day packing boxes of food under the supervision of an uptight and slightly dorky guy named Matt.  Brooks and one of his teammates decide to make the day a bit more interesting by placing a wager on whether Brooks can get Matt into bed.  Brooks is getting into so much more than he bargained for with this bet!

Just in case you didn’t figure it out by now, Brooks is a total slut and makes no secret of it.  Brooks spends his time at college doing three things:  getting an education, having a good time, and creating the network of friends which will provide the social standing he needs when he graduates.  Brooks appears to have it all, he’s wealthy, good looking and popular.  His parents have stressed the importance of connecting and maintaining friendships with important people, one such person is his lacrosse teammate.  The teammate is the son of a senator.  In an effort to maintain that friendship, Brooks allows himself to be controlled, belittled and disrespected even though he hates every minute of it.

Matt seems to be completely opposite, he keeps to himself, studies hard and doesn’t sleep around. Once you get under the surface though, Matt and Brooks have some strong similarities.  They both need to figure out how to accept themselves for who they are and gain some self-respect.  Matt was raised in a strictly religious environment and has some sexual hangups and self conflict because of it.  As a gay man, Matt’s religious upbringing has led to some confusion for him when it comes to sexual relationships.  One thing he is quite clear on is that sex is special and should be reserved for relationships, not casual hook ups.  Not so clear to him are his fantasies.  Matt gets off on fantasies of dominating a lover.  He can’t reconcile in his mind that he could love someone and also want to cause them physical pain at the same time.  He sees himself as warped and because of that has not allowed himself any romantic relationships.  He’s never even kissed a guy.  

Anyway, what starts off as a simple wager becomes much more complicated.  Matt makes it clear that he won’t be party to a casual sexual encounter, he’s looking for a relationship.  Brooks is forced to put some serious effort into getting to know Matt.  As they get to know each other they are both surprised at how much they like the other and a true romance begins.  As their relationship develops, Brooks notices that Matt is holding part of himself back and wants to know why.  The question becomes, will Brooks still want to be with him once Matt lets him in on his darkest fantasies?

I liked Matt and Brooks and the dynamics of their relationship.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I connected with their conflicted emotions and self-doubt.  That allowed me to be pulled into the story on a much deeper level than I expected.  I loved how genuine their reactions were to events as they were coming to terms with themselves.  The level of understanding and acceptance between Brooks and Matt was absolute perfection.  I was thrilled to see a relationship where seeming opposites come together and completely get each other in a way so few couples do.  Player and the Prude is very well done and a great addition to the series.


Overall:  4 stars
Sensuality level:  4

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