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Love or the NFL by Terry O’Reilly
Is happiness even possible when it’s the NFL vs. love?
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Release Date: August 17, 2019
Length: Novel / 48,596 words / 167 pages
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Pairing / Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Gymnast Frank Bethune arrives on campus already enamored with the star tight end, Bill Billingsly. Although the chances of them meeting are slim, fate draws them together, and their friendship turns to love.
Ever since childhood, Bill has dreamed of playing professional football. Though high risk to his potential career, Bill would seek out clandestine encounters with other guys when and where he could, but the first time he spots Frank, Bill knows he is someone special, someone he could possibly share a life with. If he’s drafted, will Bill and Frank be able to continue their closeted relationship, running the risk of discovery? Or will they have to part company for the sake of Bill living out his dream? Bill knows he’ll need to use all his considerable skills learned on the field to score the life he wants off of it, too. Either way, is happiness even possible when it’s the NFL vs. love?
“I better get going,” Bill finally said. “I have an early class tomorrow and practice in the afternoon.”
They got up. “Frodo … I mean Frank, could I talk to you for a minute?” Bill said goodnight to Mark, and he and Frank went outside. They walked a ways down one of the sidewalks that wound around the dorms. Bill was quiet for some time, then without looking at Frank said, “I’m really sorry about the other night.”
“It’s okay,” Frank replied. “Like I said upstairs, it’s cool. I didn’t say anything to anyone.”
Bill turned to Frank. “I really appreciate that, you have no idea how much.”
“I think I kinda do,” Frank said, thinking of his minister father.
Bill walked to a nearby bench and sat down. He indicated Frank should sit as well.
After a few seconds, Bill said, “It’s really tough being a football player and … gay. Things are changing but not really in the world of sports. Oh, they give some lip service to being accepting, but the reality is if you’re gay — you’re through. Especially baseball and football — the bastions of macho.”
Bill paused for a moment then added, “So, you see how really grateful I am that you’re okay with keeping my secret. I’ve got a chance to go pro, but not if I’m outed.”
“Aren’t you afraid Dennis will talk?”
“Yes. But I have to trust him. He says he won’t. But you never know.”
“Then why take that chance?” Frank asked, his affection for Bill igniting concern for the man.
Bill shook his head. “I know. That part of me is the dumb jock.”
Then he looked intently at Frank. “Gay guys have needs, too, and sometimes they let their dicks do the thinking, just like you straight guys.”
Frank wanted to tell Bill right there why he understood what the man was going through, but he hesitated, and Bill went on.
“So, I took a chance. Dennis isn’t out either. At least he tells me he isn’t. So I think I can depend on him. I hope I can anyway. We’ve been doing this for a couple years now, and he’s kept it a secret. Maybe someday I’ll be able to just be myself, but for now I can’t. I’m so glad you understand. Look, I better say good night. It’s getting late.” Bill stood up.
Frank stood, too. “Can I ask you something?”
“Why do you call me Frodo?”
“Aw, geez. I hope my calling you that doesn’t make you feel bad, because I sure don’t mean it to.”
“No, it’s okay. I’m just curious. I actually kinda like it.”
Bill smiled. “Well, I’m a literature major, emphasis on British writers. Tolkien is my favorite. Ever read his stuff?”
“Yeah, I have. The books are a little tough to get through though. The movies were easier to understand.”
Bill nodded. “Well, I’m not sure J.R.R. would be pleased with the films, but they did make a lot of people read his books who might not have. Anyway, you know about Frodo then?”
“Sure — hobbit and main character of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.”
“Hero of The Lord of the Rings, and my favorite character of all time — so brave, so vulnerable. When I saw you, I thought of him.”
“Well, and please don’t take offense, your size and …”
“My furry feet? Hobbits have furry feet.”
“Do you have furry feet?” Bill asked, smile widening.
“Not really. Don’t have much fur anywhere actually.”
“Okay, so no furry feet, but there’s just something about you that makes me think, Frodo. I hope you don’t mind.”
Frank smiled. “No, I don’t mind at all.”
Just then the Burton Bell Tower clock chimed one.
“I’ve enjoyed being with you. It’s great to have someone I can be honest with. I hate to say it, but I really have to go,” Bill said.
“Good night then. See you at our next rehearsal, Frank.”
“You can call me Frodo if you want.”
“You got it, Frodo. Uh –” Bill looked around to make sure they were alone. “Would you mind if I gave you a hug?”
Frank nearly leapt into Bill’s arms. “No, that’d be okay with me,” he said, his heart jolting into high gear.
Bill walked back into the shadows and opened his arms. Frank stepped into them, his head nestled in the groove between Bill’s firm chest muscles. He could feel the swell of Bill’s cock press against his belly. Frank felt his dick hardening, but somehow he didn’t care. If that gave away his feelings for Bill, so be it.
They stood for a few seconds, then broke apart. Bill looked down into Frank’s eyes. For a moment, it looked to Frank like Bill might bend down and kiss him. He hoped so. But Bill merely said, “Good night, Frodo,” in a tone that was almost tender.
“Good night, Strider,” Frank said, using the name of Frodo’s protector from the Tolkien novels.
Bill shook his head slowly, smiling deeply. “Frodo, I think we’re gonna become very good friends.” Bill walked away. Frank watched him go. Frodo’s heart was humming as he watched Strider disappear into the darkness.
Meet the Author
Since retiring, Terry spends his time writing, working with animal rescue groups, walking his four dogs, and riding/showing his champion Quarter Horse. He also finds time to read and travel.
His interest in Native American culture stems from the fact that in tracing his heritage, he found his great grandfather was an Illini.
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