Review: Showing Him the Ropes by Christa Tomlinson (Champions of Desire #1)


Note: This ARC was provided by IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

I've been a professional wrestling fan from the time I was a kid in the 1970s, all thanks to my one and only brother who introduced the sport to me and my other sisters as we were growing up. I've seen pro wrestling evolve over the past few decades and while I admit I don't watch it as much as I voraciously used to before, I continue to have fond memories of not just watching it on television but of actually being able to watch my all-time favorite wrestler, Bret Hart, when he and World Wrestling Entertainment (then the World Wrestling Federation) came to Manila on tour. So, combining a sport I'm familiar with with a romance sub-genre I'm such a fangirl over (M/M romance), was a guaranteed way to get me to read and review my first ever Christa Tomlinson book and the start to her self-published Champions of Desire series. Showing Him the Ropes went above and beyond whatever expectations I had going on because it wasn't just about the sex or even falling in love. It was about the men of Frontier Professional Wrestling.

At thirty-eight, Chance Gerhardt has spent thirteen years of his life working as a professional wrestler, with a decade under the FPW as a heel known as "The Chancellor". He's achieved a lot as The Chancellor, leaving him with no regrets about saying goodbye to his previous career as a history teacher. He prefers his solitude over socializing with other wrestlers, although he isn't intentionally unfriendly. Being the top veteran in the company makes him the best and easiest choice to play mentor to the newest talent that's being brought in, even if having to spend time with a rookie has Chance balking. But Devin Jacobs is proving to be a distraction that Chance never expected to encounter. As attracted as he is to Devin, Chance's sexuality isn't out in the open and being twelve years Devin's senior is just another strike against them. But with his sunny disposition and his eagerness to be truly great at what he does, the newbie to the big leagues may soon have the veteran on the ropes. Chance may learn a thing or two from Devin after all.

You know how there are books out there that are labeled or classified as sports romances but you get, at the most ten percent of the sports and the rest of it is all romance? Well, this new series starter is nothing like those, living up to its classification as a sports romance. Readers see the action behind the scenes of the promotion as well as what happens inside the ring combined with the developing friendship and relationship between Chance and Devin. This is a slow burn romance, allowing the main characters to earn each other's trust while trying to contemplate if becoming involved with the other is worth the risk of being found out. There's also an added element of mystery that has to do with a mole within the FPW organization, and it's a story arc that I suspect will run throughout the series. I'm already curious about one particular possible pairing and I'm hoping they get their turn next. Showing Him the Ropes not only gave readers a great story but also introduced several potential main characters and story lines. 4.5 stars. ♥

Release Date: 16 August 2016

Date Read: 15 August 2016

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