Review: StrangeLove by T.L. Bradford

StrangeLove
T.L. Bradford
Publication date: April 18th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Archer

The year began great for me.

Became the starting quarterback for an NFL team – check.
Secured a multi-million-dollar contract – check.
Moved to LA and lived the glamorous life – check.

What could possibly cause me any issues?
Oh yeah, one more thing. I’m gay.

I was outed a couple of years ago to my former team and my family, but it hasn’t been made public knowledge yet. Well, that is, until now. I’ll be known as the first LGBTQ+ active player in the league’s history. And if I stick to the conditions of my contract, it won’t be a problem. The thing is, I’m not really a guy known for playing by the rules.

Most people think of my personality as the three B’s: bold, brash, and blunt. My mouth has gotten me into more predicaments than I can count. Even my best friends have told me I’m stubborn as a mule and have the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. This presents a big problem for me because I have my eyes set on winning over the guy who stole my heart years ago, only he doesn’t know it yet.

Getting his attention is going to be challenging. It’s a good thing I’m tenacious.
Unfortunately, it’s not great timing and could get me into a whole mess of trouble.
Why does falling for a guy need to be anyone’s business but mine?

Kai

The past couple of years were a whirlwind of activity. My career took off after my guest shot appearance in Americana. I appeared in a few indie features and finally got a shot at my first major motion picture release. The work came as a great distraction from my personal life, which took a further nosedive after I found out the guy I was falling for had already fallen for someone else.

Why should I be surprised? He was another in a string of failed relationship attempts. I swore I wouldn’t get involved with anyone else, choosing to stay focused on my career instead. That is, until the force of nature known as Archer McMillan came storming into my life.

To be the pursued instead of the pursuer was not in the cards. To top it off, he’s everything I’m not. Yet, there’s something to be said for a guy who can make you laugh when it’s the last thing you want to be doing. I’ll admit he’s got a playful and determined spirit. Archer also has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known. Not the mention the cute way he… Hold on. What am I doing? We cannot be a thing. Nope. Not gonna happen. Ever. Right?

**

Follow Kai and Archer as they cross the lines as friends, partners-in-crime, and confidants, to discover a love beyond boundaries that needs no definition.

(StrangeLove is a funny, heartwarming, slow-burn love story. It contains a cast of fully developed characters that encounter romance, laughter, and life lessons. It contains adult language, mature themes, and is best enjoyed by those over the age of 18. It can be read as a standalone; however, if you would like to know the backstories of some characters, check out the prior books in the series.)


My thoughts

Fungus that is pretty.
Photo from Pinterest. Click to be directed to site.

T.L. Bradford writes characters that at first you may not like. I have to confess that I was not a huge fan of Archer when I first met him. Just like Archer says, he grew on me like a fungus that at first you are like ewww and then you take a closer look and you are like hmmm…there’s something here.

Kai and Archer grow together. Bradford states that their original intent was to write a story focusing on interracial relationships and it ended up becoming something different and more. This is not to say that Kai and Archer do not face discrimination, but it is from their families which can hurt the most of all.

Archer’s character showcases the difficulties of being gay in sports. There is discrimation from his family, co-workers, and he takes some hard hits from his friends for hiding his sexuality. In some ways I related to Archer as I don’t really partake in the politics of being gay. I could care less and this thought process, for me, has not changed, but we get to see Archer’s growing awareness of how his actions impact others in his community whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. 

“My palms begin to sweat, thinking of the moment I’ll need to stand in front of all those beefy football players and have them know my deepest secret. It’s not fair. Why don’t straight people need to stand up and declare their heterosexuality to groups of people they don’t know?”

Loc. 587

Kai’s character got really interesting toward the end of the book. Bradford alludes to prior physical abuse and eating issues. His attitude toward Archer can be tough to take at times because it is like kicking a puppy that is looking at you with adorable eyes (Archer). 

“My mom always said I was like a fart bubble in a bath. No matter what happens to me or who tries to hold me down, I keep on pushing until I rise to the top.”

Loc. 2338

Their romance is not an overnight one and I actually liked that process. We got to see old-fashioned courting and it was fun. Archer tries so hard. There are many comedic moments. There is also some heat in the second half of the book and it is worth the wait.

This is my first foray into the “The Young American” series. I really enjoyed it. The secondary characters are interesting and are a mix of rainbows. The romance is fun, kind of angsty, and the dancing is hot. StrangeLove can be read as a standalone. 

I received a free copy of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get it free on Kindle Unlimited!3

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Author Bio:

T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words. Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly. Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while.

Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them. T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.

As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story. Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.

She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.

T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

GIVEAWAY!

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)

$25 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2Giveaway ends 28 April 2022

Further Details:

Publisher: April 18th 2022

Cover Design by T.L. Bradford and photographed by Jacob Lund and Alfa27.

Series: The Young Americans #3; Settings: Los Angeles, CA, U.S.

Secondary Characters include Bisexual, Gay, Black

Credits:

Promo photo: Photo by Eric Steinhauer on <a href=”https://www.pexels.com/photo/football-on-the-ground-3846666/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>Pexels.com</a>

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