Love And Other Scores is “a sexy, surprising queer romance” by Abra Pressler, released just as the weather warms up here in Australia, i.e. just in time to whet our appetite for tennis season and the Australian Open (where, not-so-coincidentally, this MLM romance is set). The wonderful team at Macmillan were kind enough to send me a copy for review.

This tension-fuelled love story has strong Red, White & Royal Blue vibes. Mid-career tennis player Gabriel finally has the chance to take a Grand Slam, if he can keep his head down and his mind focused. Noah is a big obstacle to that, the gorgeous Melbourne bartender with a mysterious past. They meet, they flirt, and they both know taking it any further than that would be a bad idea – they both have good reasons to try and stay out of the spotlight. But their chemistry proves just too damn strong.

Love And Other Scores has a cute, if fairly standard, rom-com conceit. It also follows the exact trajectory you’d expect. The leads fall head-over-heels in love almost immediately – they’re declaring that the other is the only one who truly knows them, that they can’t live without each other, et cetera, after barely a week’s worth of dates squeezed in around matches at a major international tennis tournament. The conflict almost always boils down to whether or not they can get over themselves and carry on, or just get bogged down in their own insecurities and neuroses.

It’s all palatable enough, except for some moments of amateurish writing. I try to give debut authors the benefit of the doubt, but some of the similes Pressler users gave me the ick (“his swaying arse is like a siren song, luring me to the deep”? thanks, I hate it).

The side characters and their relationships with the leads are strong, though, and keep Love And Other Scores on solid(ish) ground. Pick this one up to read in the sweaty, sleepy days between Christmas and New Year.

Buy Love And Other Scores on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)