Title: Playing the Field: Victory Lap
Author: JM Snyder
Length: 11,126 words (35 pdf pages)
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
At 33, Josh Helton isn’t exactly on top of his game. Overweight and out of shape, he’s content with his lazy lifestyle until he starts having chest pains.
That wakes him up. After a hard look at his life, he realizes he isn’t where he wants to be. His body needs work, and his love life does, too. Ditching his abusive boyfriend is just the beginning. Josh takes up running to get fit, and promises himself he’ll run the annual Richmond 10K.
It’s on an early morning jog that he meets Chad, a sexy bicyclist who’s everything Josh has always wanted in a guy. But Josh isn’t confident in himself any more … so it’s up to Chad to make the first move.
This is less a romance about Chad and Josh, than about Josh accepting his new body and his confidence. Josh finally got up the gumption to leave his mildly abusive boyfriend and change his life. He’s taken up running and is determined to run the 10K marathon in his city. He still sees himself as the fat kid and is having trouble pushing past his 4 mile barrier. While running one day, he stops for a drink and is ogled quite blatantly by three women who are with a young man who later follows Josh to apologise for his behaviour. However not only that, he asks Josh to lunch. Josh is unsure, this is the first guy he’s been interested in and Chad seems to be everything Josh isn’t, but he’s willing to try.
Well, lunch turns into an afternoon in bed, and Chad starts pushing Josh to try some new things to break through his mental barrier about running. The worst, though is the one that brings Josh face to face with his ex, who wants Josh back now that he’s a hottie.
I really liked Josh and the look into his psyche. I think anyone who has lost a lot of weight still sees themselves as fat and has trouble believing the image of themselves that others see. It was also interesting, given how Josh’s ex treated him and the words he used, that Josh claimed he wasn’t abusive. However Chad puts it out there that it was abusive and forces Josh to face the truth. Also his negative thinking about not being able to finish the 10K race needed Chad there to kind of kick him out of his rut. On the downside, you don’t know much about Chad beyond he lives with his sister and her friends and he’s very outgoing and supportive and likes to ride his bike.
A little more about Chad would have I think made the story a bit less lopsided, but this really Josh’s story and his growth that Chad facilitates with his constant support. However, it was a sweet story that I think could be inspirational for someone changing their life and starting over, a new relationship and a new lifestyle.