Book Reviews

Offside Rules (Met His Match 1) by Louisa Masters

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 12-December-2019

Book Blurb

Sometimes love takes balls.

Newly retired championship football player Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.

Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. 

But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?

First edition published under the title 'The Athlete and the Aristocrat' by Dreamspinner Press, January 2019.

Book Review

There is usually a lot more focus on professional athletes while they are at the top of their sport, but that time is often limited to a few years. What they do with their life afterwards ranges from “nothing much” to continued celebrity status to charitable work. This novel focuses on Simon, a professional football player (of the soccer variety) who wants to set up a Europe-wide charity to support underprivileged children so they can play football and maybe become professionals as well. It’s a very worthy goal, makes for an interesting story, and by the time Simon secures funding from a major European corporation, the fact that they supply him with an executive consultant who is the corporation’s owner’s son, Lucien, there is a personal dimension as well. It makes for a great mix and had me engaged from the start.

Simon is determined to make his charity a success, and his ability to work hard stands him in good stead. Finding funding and working with Lucien is surprisingly easy. Lucien’s friends get involved as well – and it was great to see Leo and Ben, as well as Leo’s cousin Malik from ‘The Bunny and the Billionaire’ again. Plans and ideas are easily realized, Simon and Lucien develop a very personal relationship, and things go exceedingly well – until they don’t. An Italian newspaper starts nasty rumors and homophobes across Europe do their best to ruin everything Simon and Lucien have tried to build.

Lucien has been raised like an aristocrat, and while he works hard in his father’s corporation, he does not have to do so for the money. He cares about people, but mostly in an impersonal way – until he meets Simon and allows himself to get closer to those he cares about. Emotional (or any other displays) are not his thing, and reading about the strict way he was raised, this is not a surprise. But Simon challenges him to be more “human” in his reactions, and I loved watching how Lucien learned to relax more and allow himself to open up. He is fiercely protective of Simon and never wavers in his support, which makes him a great guy and a more attractive partner.

But Simon and Lucien refuse to give up, and much of the story is focused on them trying to balance their growing personal relationship and love with the need to remain professional. They agree that everything involving the charity has to be aboveboard, and the back-and-forth around press conferences, interviews, and managing social media keeps up the suspense in this very realistic modern-day battle to do the right thing. Add the setting of various luxurious locations in Europe, and you have a multifaceted romance as well as a management challenge.

If you like romances with lots of obstacles, if athletes and their lives are your thing, and if you’re looking for an entertaining read that is exciting, suspenseful, and will have you cheering on the characters to be successful in achieving very worthwhile goals, then you will probably like this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 169 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 11-December-2019
Price $2.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link