by Neil S Plakcy

Fourth in my "Love On" series, this is Warren Updegrove's book. Warren first appeared in the Three Lambs book as an angry football player whom frat brother Thom Lodge has to tutor in math. But as I considered which of the characters from Three Lambs deserved his own book, I kept coming back to Warren. I've wondered for a long time about what happens to guys who reach the pinnacle they've worked for-- and then have to move on. After losing his dream of playing in the NFL, Warren is drifting aimlessly, supported by the affection of his best friend, math grad student Thom. Will his search for love in the sports bars and playing fields of Fort Lauderdale end in the arms of sexy rugby player and former Olympian Victor— or will Warren recognize Thom waiting for him on the sidelines? It's a jock vs. geek matchup!

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Fuck Thom anyway. Who did he think he was? They had met in college, when Thom was assigned as Warren’s tutor. Right away Warren had pegged him as gay—skinny, geeky, a bright green stud in one ear. The stud was the shiniest thing about Thom; otherwise he was a mellow-looking guy with brown hair and brown eyes.

Warren had big-time internalized homophobia back then, a result of his Southern Baptist upbringing, and he had kept his own desires buried deep. Thom was openly gay, living in a gay fraternity on campus, and Warren had bitched at him and teased him for a while. Then finally one day Warren cracked open like an egg and jumped Thom’s bones.

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They had fooled around for the rest of senior year, but they both knew they were too different to make it as a couple. Warren was a jock to his core, while Thom was a nerd who hated sports. They had maintained a friendship after graduation, while Warren was in Jacksonville and then after he returned, and it was Thom who had convinced Warren to come to this party on South Beach, hosted by three of Thom’s frat brothers.

Warren had known them all casually at FU, but he hadn’t particularly liked them. Manny was Latin, Larry a geek, Gavin a stuck-up pretty boy. And they were all gay, gay, gay. Warren hated that kind of obvious display.

It was why he stayed away from South Beach. After he’d crashed and burned in Jacksonville, he’d returned to Miami, because it was a way better alternative than going home to his family in South Carolina. He’d gotten a job at a gym in Kendall, a suburb on the south side of the city, and tried to start a whole new life.

At which he appeared to be failing.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Ulysses Dietz on Good Reads wrote:

Plakcy is a constant reminder that even the simplest romantic formula can pack a gentle punch that lingers long after the last page.


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