The Quarterback is book two in Tal Bauer's The Team series. It cannot be read as a standalone as the characters from the first book, the Jock, primarily Wes and Justin, play a significant and crucial role in this story. The background information from the Jock is needed to truly enjoy this story. The Quarterback explores the relationship between Colton (Wes' best friend) and Nick (Justin's father). It is a slow burn, double bi-awakening with a significant age gap.
Like all of Tal Bauer’s stories, the Quarterback was very well written, and although this book was one of his angstier reads. As impossible as it may seem, The Quarterback is even more emotional than The Jock. Colton has a lot thrown at him in this book culminating in his ostracism by everyone he cares about. However, the beautiful HEA makes it all worth it.
Tal Bauer has a writing style that engages and connects the reader to his characters. A prime example of his ability to hook a reader in is that after The Jock, I never thought there would be any possible way that I could not like Wes and Justin. Yet, in the Quarterback that is exactly what happened. At one stage, I disliked them both immensely, and it is an excellent example of Tal’s ability to make you empathise with his characters and become so invested in them.
The Quarterback is an excellent demonstration of Tal’s work: engaging storyline that makes you confront any pre-conceived ideas you may have, captivating characters that grab your heart and won’t let go, and a truly satisfying love story that will remain with you long after the last page is turned.
As mentioned earlier, I would not read The Quarterback without having first read The Jock. However, The Jock is a beautiful story too, so it's certainly no hardship! I very much loved The Quarterback. It was a lovely follow up/continuation to The Jock as it allowed you to also see character growth for both Wes and especially Justin.
If you enjoy a sports romance with a more emotional flavour, without being depressing or overly heavy, then I’d highly recommend this series.