The Rainbow Clause
Audio Release: 09.07.18
Narrator: Wyatt Baker
Listening Length: 7 hours and 45 minutes
Don't like the athletes. Don't sleep with the athletes. Don't fall for the athletes. It had never been particularly difficult to follow the rules, but Nick had a feeling he was about to be tested.
Heisman winner. Member of the national championship team. NFL rookie of the year. Quarterback Colin O'Connor knows he's become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he's ever dreamed of but nobody with whom to share it. Too bad it's not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him - because the next girl to intrigue him probably won't be a girl at all.
Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin's team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL's most private quarterback.
The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he's even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and it also hits close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.
Even though the ocean and sky and sand were hazy with the golden light of the rising sun, Nick still had trouble taking his eyes off the man next to him.
“Yeah,” Nick said, still staring at Colin. “F*cking fabulous view.”
Colin glanced over and flushed. He rolled over and slid out of bed, bare feet padding on the tile floor as he headed towards the bathroom. “When you look at me that way,” he said, his voice carrying back into the bedroom, “it’s easy to believe I really look as good as you say.”
“You should believe it,” Nick said as Colin returned to bed. Nick knew he needed to use the bathroom, too, at least to brush away his surely horrible morning breath so he could kiss this beautiful man next to him.
Just one problem. Nick glanced at the tile floor with dismay. “Is that as cold as it looks?”
Colin shot him a playful smile and gave him a little shove to the edge of the bed. “Your turn to find out,” he said, and Nick gave a half-hearted smile, expecting to freeze his balls off as he tiptoed to the bathroom. Instead, he found the floor to be shockingly warm against his bare feet.
“Teddy, that rich bastard,” Nick exclaimed as he walked to the bathroom. “Heated floors.”
Nick brushed his teeth and took a piss, returning to bed with warm feet and cold hands, which he proceeded to place right on Colin’s ribcage. But Colin didn’t flinch, only tugged Nick closer, until their limbs were tangled together. Nick shifted up a fraction and hesitated, their eyes locked together and their lips only an inch apart.
“You keep talking about me,” Colin murmured dreamily, his hand smoothing down a wayward tuft of Nick’s hair. “But you’re gorgeous. I stare at you all the damn time.”
It was hard not to notice and impossible not to feel smug that Colin O’Connor spent at least half his waking hours staring at his ass.
A large hand slid around his hip and cupped that ass – but not with the sort of tacky possession that sometimes gave Nick a bad taste in his mouth, but with reverence and a playful affection that made his heart ache.
“I know you notice,” Colin continued, the edge of his lips quirking into a smile. “You’re too nice to call me out on it.”
“What, and make you stop?” Nick asked.
Imagine there's this star NFL quarterback that you've been following since his college days, that you've had a crush on. Now imagine you've been chosen to write the most important profile on him, bringing to light his most highly guarded secret...and to do so you get to shadow him by living with him to learn the ins and outs of his life. Sounds like a dream come true, right?
Colin likes to keep to himself-he'd rather enjoy a quiet evening at home away from the spotlight than be out clubbing with his teammates. He's sweet and a bit introverted-not what you'd expect from a star NFL player, and around Nick he lets his vulnerable side show. Nick reads people quite well, and easily picks up on things about Colin. He knows everything about Colin's career, and as he learns more about him personally, he falls hard--no matter how hard he tries not to do so. The closer the two become, the more inevitable them falling for each other.
Colin and Nick's relationship develops at an easy, natural pace and nothing ever feels rushed. I thought they fit well together, and that Nick was the perfect person to write Colin's coming out story. I did get a bit frustrated with Nick when he went back home, but otherwise I really loved the two of them together. Their intimate scenes built slowly over time, going from sweet and tentative all the way to intensely passionate with a slow build of the sexual tension. The gradual build of Colin and Nick's relationship also mirrors Colin's measured process of coming out as he becomes more comfortable with expressing that side of himself over time.
I really enjoyed this story, and it was a 4.5-star read for me. I highly recommend The Rainbow Clause to any M/M romance fan, and if your a sports romance fan even better. I really liked that Colin and Nick's relationship built slowly, I like when a story is more slow burn since it builds the tension and is more impactful when they finally give in to each other. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and explicit M/M sexual content.
The narration: This is the first book I’ve listened to with Wyatt Baker as the narrator. The delivery was relatively smooth and pacing was spot on. There was not quite the differentiation in character voices that I’m used to, so it was sometimes difficult for me to tell Colin and Nick apart. That also made it easier for my mind to wander while listening since there was not as much variation in the tone. If you’re the type of audiobook listener who prefers more of a reading than performance, this will likely work well for you as you listen.
Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.