Blog Tour and Giveaway: Showing Him The Ropes: Christa Tomlinson

Showing Him the Ropes 
Christa Tomlinson
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Released August 16, 2016

Chance “The Chancellor” Gerhardt is a mainstay for Frontier Professional Wrestling. He’s won multiple championships and has the respect of the locker room. But after ten years at the top, Chance is looking for a new challenge. The one he gets, mentoring FPW’s young rookie, is both unexpected and unwanted.

Devin Jacobs is a hot new talent signed by Frontier Professional Wrestling. He’s always been a fan of The Chancellor, and not just because of the older man’s skill in the ring. He has it bad for the steely eyed veteran wrestler. Unfortunately for Devin, The Chancellor isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Or is he? During long nights traveling and working together, Devin catches more than one secretly admiring glance from The Chancellor…

Devin is determined to earn victories and championships in the ring. But he’d also love the opportunity to win Chance’s heart. Can the two of them navigate their way through the hyper masculinity and backstage politics of professional wrestling to the most important victory of all? Or will their shot at love be defeated 1-2-3?

Devin changed the subject again. “So are you married?
“Hell no.”
“Are you seeing anybody?”
“Mess around with the ring rats then?”
Chance laughed. “Not even close.”
Devin thought that was an interesting answer. “So do you not hook up with any chicks? Should your gimmick be The Monk instead of The Chancellor?”
“I’m not a damn monk.”
“So then who-.”
Chance cut him off. “This conversation is done.”
Devin sat there quiet for a moment. Chance sounded just like him when he’d been trying to squirm out of admitting he was gay. And it made him wonder. Could The Chancellor be gay as well? “I don’t hook up with any of the groupies either.”
“I’m just saying, while we’re traveling together, you won’t have to worry about me bringing any girls up to our hotel room.”
Chance snorted and flicked on the right blinker to get over and exit the freeway. “Trust me, you wouldn’t. Because I wouldn’t allow it.”

Devin laughed as they drove down the exit ramp. “Is that right? What would you do if I did, spank me?” They’d come to idle at a stop light, so Chance turned and looked at him. His face was half in shadow, but Devin saw him run his eyes over him. And his heart started to pound. He knew that look. He'd seen that look plenty of times before - from guys who were interested in him. Seeing it from The Chancellor was the last thing he'd expected. But before he could decide what to say, or if he even should say anything, the light turned green. Chance turned back around to proceed through the intersection...

It’s obvious from the start of Showing Him the Ropes that its author, Christa Tomlinson, must be a big fan of professional wrestling and that she’s not one of those deluded people who believe it’s real (*grin*). For a subject that is often heavy with on-screen dramatics, I was interested to get a peek behind the curtain, perhaps read things that fit a fantasy or two along the way, and get a story that translated some of the dramatics into the romance too. The first two happened, and though the romance was worth the read, it was largely easy on the drama.

Devin Jacobs is excited to be the newest addition to the roster of Frontier Pro Wrestling. And his excitement is not only because it’s his chance to make a name for himself in the field but also because he’ll get to meet and work with the man who was his favorite wrestler growing up, Chance “The Chancellor” Gerhardt. Chance has been with FPW from its infancy, and he’s done it all in the ring. He’s feeling the need for a new challenge, but when his boss asks him to mentor the new rookie, it’s not the sort of challenge he wanted, especially since it becomes obvious rather quickly that Devin’s admiration is for more than just Chance’s wrestling prowess. And Devin’s tempting him in a way that no other co-worker has before, which is not a good thing for a man determined to keep his personal life separate from the hypermasculine world of professional wrestling.

This is my first exposure to Christa Tomlinson, and for the most part, I’m pleased with what I read. The plot is fairly straightforward and touches on many of the themes I guessed it might prior to reading the book. The writing style is generally smooth and doesn’t suffer from problems with knowing whose point of view is being referenced at any time, perhaps because Chance and Devin have a very different feel from one another that comes through in the reading. Because of all this, it’s a comfortably fast read. I must admit, though, that I was surprised with how little angst and drama there was in the story line. The author introduces a plethora of things for the characters to be worried about affecting them both individually and together, but these potential landmines are mostly resolved relatively quickly and painlessly. Note I said “most,” but even so, I personally would have liked to see at least one or more of the other problems become more a bigger point of tension for the plot.

As far as the romance itself is concerned, they make an interesting pairing because they are opposites in many ways. Chance is a good bit older and certainly more experienced professionally, but he’s also very set in his ways, particularly when it comes to mixing business with pleasure. Physically, he’s a big bear of a man with dark hair and the typical tanned complexion you picture when you think TV-professional wrestler. Devin, by contrast, is pale with coppery red hair, lean and muscular, and energetic. While they both know what they want professionally, Devin’s inexperience is readily apparent. These contrasts make the pairing work very well. In the first portion of the book, Chance’s hesitancy to do anything about his desire for Devin created a good bit of sexual tension between the two. And the rest plays out pretty much as I expected it would.

One of the results of having the dramatic issues play rather quick and limited roles in the book is that there is a lot of time for wrestling scenes and sex scenes. I’m not an avid viewer of professional wrestling, but I’ve watched enough to be able to follow the mental show the author creates during these scenes. As far as the other, the sex scenes started out pretty hot. But like the dramatic issues, most of the sex scenes were rather quick, so that before things could get truly scorching, it was done and on to the next chapter. Unfortunately, perhaps because of their quickness and frequency, they started to feel a little repetitive after a while. I truly think the author missed a chance to make something memorable in failing to find a way to include a scene that incorporated the wrestling into a sex scene. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to keep that fantasy in my head a while longer.

I would be remiss if I failed to comment on the fact that this novel could have benefited from being longer. And it’s not just because I would have liked to see some of the dramatic issues better developed or to have the sex scenes be more detailed, rather, it’s because some of the issued weren’t concluded satisfactorily in my opinion—of course, I won’t mention what these are in order to avoid spoilers. Also, while I’m not a stickler for an epilogue within a romance, along with the seemingly ubiquitous proposal or wedding to signal the happily ever after, I did get the impression that the novel was missing something, like it felt a little unfinished when I got to the end. It does feel like the author set things up for a book between another pair of the characters, though, so maybe I’ll get that completion in another book.

Overall, I enjoyed Showing Him the Ropes. I don’t think it’s necessary to be a fan of professional wrestling in order to appreciate the story, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt. So I can easily recommend this one for people who prefer their romances low on the angst and high on the sex. I look forward to checking out more of Christa Tomlinson’s work.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Showing Him the Ropes in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Christa Tomlinson

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Although Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History, she currently prefers to write contemporary romance. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters' romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told. Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

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