Football Sundae by: Daryl Banner

It’s not every day your football-star crush asks to taste your big sundae special.

Billy Tucker

All I want to do is go to culinary school, become a dessert chef, and let go of this small, dusty town – if only it would let go of me. My dad’s heart attack hindered my leaving after high school – bless his hardworking heart – but now I’ve got money saved up and an associate’s degree under my belt, and I am more determined than ever.

That all changes the day Tanner Strong, hunky football star and walking wet dream from my teen years, struts into my diner and orders my dessert special.

I know I can be headstrong at times, but I don’t care if he’s changed. I won’t let that cocky athlete’s charm distract me. Once the end of summer hits, I’m out of here.

And my heart sure ain’t on the menu.

Tanner Strong

Here I am, thinking this will be just another summer in Spruce, Texas with my family and my hometown buddies. But boy am I in for a surprise when I run into driven, loyal, and stubborn-as-a-bull Billy Tucker, still working himself to death at his dad’s diner.

The truth is, college football isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and I couldn’t be more unsure of my future. I was hoping to find answers this summer, but the only thing on my mind now is him.

Billy Tucker. His sweet face. His sweeter desserts.

And the secret I’ve kept within me since high school – a secret that’s now bursting at the seams.


Just as last month I made sure I was reading API authors, this month I want to ensure all the authors I’m reading are LGBTQ+. As a CIS pansexual POC woman, I value Own Voice authors and knew if I was going to read any MM romance I wanted to make sure I was reading one by a queer man.

Now I am a sucker for small-town romance and the opposites attract trope. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a small-ish town and didn’t date (just daydreamed about dating)…I always imagined what it would be like to experience one of those opposites attract relationships.

As Tanner and Billy knew of each other in school this story doesn’t have a blind meet-cute…more of a reintroduction meet-cute at Billys’ family’s diner. I mean just picture it…you’re working at your parents’ dinner and the jock who starred in countless daydreams walks in to eat.

This was such a sweet small-town romance full of so many firsts for both Billy and Tanner. My favorite aspect of this story was how accepting the small town of Spruce was. I mean in general…small towns can be scary…especially when you don’t fit into the hetero box society wants you in.

I really enjoyed that we got to see both Billy and Tanners perspectives in this story, it added so much more depth to the budding relationship. So many little moments of, both guys, being unsure and hesitant that made it so much sweeter when they were reassured in their assumptions about the other.

This book played like a small town rom-com in my head…honestly it would be great to see a TV or movie adaption.

There are some sweet and passionate (explicit) scenes as this love story unfolds…so if you were looking for a “clean/fade to black” MM story…you’ll either want to just skip past those parts or find a different MM romance to read.

I look forward to picking up more of Daryl’s Spruce Texas books and learning more about the people in this small town!

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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