Title: The Rainbow Clause
Author: Beth Bolden
Narrator: Wyatt Baker
Run Time: 7 hours and 45 minutes
At a Glance: The Rainbow Clause is well written, relatively angst-lite, and sweet but not saccharine since Nick’s sarcasm would never let it get too cheesy, a sarcasm that is delivered very well by the narrator, Wyatt Baker.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: 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.
Note: This book has been re-edited and rereleased on June 24, 2017. Content is the same, errors are fixed.
Review: Colin O’Connor is a closeted bisexual NFL quarterback who had the foresight to include coming out stipulations into his contract that became labeled “the rainbow clause”. After a successful rookie year, Colin’s desire for a relationship and to move on from being in love with his best friend Jemma leads him to evoke the clause, and the team’s PR machine decides on several months’ worth of events and interviews to “soften” the impact, culminating in an in-depth article.
While Colin wants Jemma to write it, the article is assigned to her fellow journalist, Nick Wheeler. Nick is a slightly cynical and sarcastic sports writer who has been following Colin’s career since he played in college, and is intrigued by Colin’s slightly aloof demeanor and low profile. The opportunity to not only write such an impactful and important story, but to get a chance to discover the real man behind the projected image that has fascinated him for years, is a dream come true.
The Rainbow Clause is an enjoyable and solid read. Normally I avoid sports themed books, because the athletes in the blurbs tend to fall into the “arrogant douchebag but so stupid-hot the MC just doesn’t care” range of the character spectrum, and sometimes you don’t want to have to work so hard to like a character in order to enjoy a book. Fortunately, Beth Bolden decided on a different and, for me, an infinitely more engaging and less tiresome path of making the requisite super-hot and talented athlete simply a dedicated and hardworking guy who knows he’s great at the game but does not let it turn him into an entitled, “you know you want this; everyone does because I’m an awesome alpha male god” nozzle. I enjoyed the flirting and measured pace of the early stage of their relationship. It had a slow burn that felt organic to the characters and story. The writing was solid and the characters were likeable, not because either was perfect but because they were relatable in their hang-ups and insecurities.
The only “major” downsides to the book are that Nick is still dealing with trauma from being attacked while reporting during the Rio Olympics, and his nightmares have gotten progressively worse during his stay with Colin. Yet, when they get together, the dreams just magically disappear; while the nightmares’ increasing occurrence is a new development, Nick was still having them periodically, and the way they disappear just smacks a bit of the “magical d!ck/power of lerve” cliché. Also, Colin’s best friend Jemma and Nick’s best friend Gabriel met in a previous book, which is fine, but the author has to walk a fine line when using a previous work in a standalone. For me, there is just a bit too much of this other storyline coloring the conversations and interactions, and it’s a little distracting. My perception went from, “oh cool, they obviously have their own book” to “seriously, I get it; can we focus on this story please?”
Other than that, the book is well written, relatively angst-lite, and sweet but not saccharine since Nick’s sarcasm would never let it get too cheesy, a sarcasm that is delivered very well by the narrator, Wyatt Baker. Baker delivers the narrative in a well-paced, engaged tone, and adds to the enjoyability of the story. He also does a good job with the different character voices, particularly with Nick’s and Colin’s, as he manages to capture the inflections of their barbs, insecurities and affection. I definitely enjoyed Baker’s narration and take on the characters and as he is a new to me narrator, I look forward to hearing more of his performances.
You can buy The Rainbow Clause here:
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