From the farms of Tennessee, Beau Watkins had it all in high school; the cute girl, the popular, jock lifestyle, a loving family. As a rising freshman at an out-of-state college, he’s determined to find out who he really is behind the fake it ’til you make it attitude. He joins Rainbow Connection, the gay student alliance, hoping to find himself. Instead, he finds Vin Reyes. Raised by his grandparents and the heir to a prosperous company, Vin has been out of the closet since he figured out what that meant. He has it all: fashionable clothing, fancy cars, huge houses, and a real party lifestyle, even a bodyguard. Most of all, he has a secret.
Uncomfortable with Vin’s generosity, Beau fights his growing attraction for the president of Rainbow Connection, chasing instead a series of shallow affairs. Vin’s never been denied anything that he wants, though, and now he wants Beau. But it’s not until an old rival puts Beau in the hospital that Vin realizes that Beau means more to him than a simple love affair. Can the two of them bridge the gap between their worlds and roll with the all the punches life will throw at them
Review: “Roll” by Lynn Townsend is a college, New Adult romance set in Chicago. It stars Tennessee farm boy freshman, Beau and the older (possibly junior, don’t remember any specification), poor little rich boy, Vin. Beau is a blonde, looks like a jock and finally has a chance to come of the closet. He joins the Rainbow Connection, his college’s GLBTQ social club and steps into a different world. He can finally be himself. Beau finds friends in his gay student alliance especially a close friendship with Vin, the alliance’s president. As the semester passes, the two men become closer, good friends and lovers. Unfortunately during this time, there are homophobic attacks, Beau’s family who knows nothing about Beau being gay and Vin’s family secrets to deal with.
Is it readable? Yes. However there are minor editing issues. It’s funny (at times), not overly sweet and felt more realistic in tone. It’s 100% new adult and read like one. Both MC’s are real characters with real life issues. And faceted characters always make for a better read, in my opinion. And I love dual POV!
There was an ease with Beau that I enjoyed. He was closeted for most of his life and some things were new for him to experience (hooking up with a man, experiencing homophobia first hand, etc.) but he never took the coward’s way out and confronted them head on. I really felt like I knew Beau. When he dealt with his family, it was great. (Can I say my favorite part of the book is with Aunt Lucy and Beau? It pulled on a heartstring or two.)
I also enjoyed the author letting Beau explore before jumping into a relationship. (If that is not your thing and you want automatic sexy times between the MC’s, you might not like the book. The MC’s are friends first, months pass and no hooking up between the two until about two-thirds in) And since Beau was a gay virgin, I liked the pacing of the sex. The sex is not explicit and sometimes not graphic at all. I wouldn’t classify in the Erotica category. It was steamy for a couple of parts.
Vin was a rich character that I actually believed was rich. There have been a number of romances where authors introduce a rich character and basically name drop and include trips to their dream vacations but not read realistic. Vin was spoiled and he likes to spoil his friends when he can. But there was more to him just being rich. Besides having one of the weirdest names I’ve read (Vinyl Elvis), he was also an enjoyable character. He sort of knows who he is but is still learning. I liked being inside his head, watching him fall for his friend, his reasoning for not asking Beau out from the moment he met him.
Both characters are likeable, they acted their age, make mistakes and move on (mostly). And there was time to get to know each other which I also enjoyed.
Issues? Yes. Beau was a country boy through and through. However sometimes he plied his accent a little too think, his dialogue to match. I’m not the biggest fan. Sometimes he played this up but I didn’t feel it was necessary. The most glaring problem – transitioning. It can be jarring when you’re not sure when the next chapter will start, sometimes it time jumped a day, a number of days, months ahead. There were a number of chapters that ended at odd points, coupling with the odd time jumps with sometimes no foreshadowing, makes reading “Roll” not as smooth as it could have been.
Would I read more from the author? Yes. I definitely will read more of this series. I’m not sure if it plans to follow the couple throughout (which I don’t think is necessary) or will introduce new characters since the Rainbow Connection GLBTQ club is good setup for fresh new characters. The secondary characters from the group and Vin’s bodyguard/driver were great!
The story does end with a cliffhanger of sorts but it’s more geared towards one of the main character and has nothing to do with their relationship. The story ends with the boys’ relationship in a good spot. No other man lurking in the wings, if you’re hesitant.
A good read, not without issues but I liked overall.