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Side Line

Side Line - Ben Ryder 3.5 Stars

Side Line, set in the near future just as the Third Gulf War is about to kick off, is told from the POV of Jay Wells. Jay is a twenty seven year old Londoner and Promotions Manager for Side Line beer. He is sent to Bahrain to pitch their beer in anticipation for a rapidly growing market as Bahrain is set to become the newest tourist hotspot – think Dubai and Abu Dhabi. He takes with him his assistant, Jackie, and the Beer Squad. During one of the promotional events he meets twenty seven year old Marines Staff Sergeant, Damon O’Connors from Tampa, Florida. A veteran of eight years, Damon first joined the Marines at nineteen. Their first conversation is pleasant and, while Jay assumes Damon is straight, he enjoys the chat for what it is. However, when they run into each other again at another event, Damon has turned decidedly chilly. In fact, he’s downright rude! Nevertheless, and against his better judgement, when Damon accosts him outside the venue after closing, Jay is persuaded by the sight of Damon’s impressive package to take him up on his offer for a lift. Instead of taking Jay back to his hotel, Damon drives him to a deserted parking lot. He then proceeds to scare the life out of Jay, who thinks he’s about to be a victim of gay bashing, before correcting Jay’s misconception by demanding he ‘suck it’ as a prelude to bending Jay over the hood of the car. With no lube apart from some spit. With the apparently impressive package that Jay got a preview of earlier and lived up to its potential. Then he leaves Jay high and dry after having got his own satisfaction. Wham, bam, thank you, buddy. What a charmer, not. And for over three quarters of the book, that’s pretty much how their relationship goes....

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