Athletic and handsome, Florida boy Caleb Youngblood has always wanted to race stock cars like his father and his brother. The roar of the engines, the smell of the burning rubber and the thrill of speed courses his veins. Racing is as much a part of him as the sun and surf of the Florida ocean he loves.
But, when Caleb falls in love with sports writer Sebastian Rush, he must make a decision. Will he stay in the closet and follow his dream, or can he make a life with Sebastian and follow his heart?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Garrison didn’t say anything until Joan and Earl left the room. Caleb moved closer and hugged his brother. “Glad you’re okay, man.”
“Thanks. What’s in the paper bag?”
“Clothes. I figured you needed to borrow a fresh shirt and shorts. Joan suggested I stop by your place and get you some clean clothes, but I wanted to come over right away without stopping at New Smyrna so I just grabbed you some of my clothes.”
Caleb handed the bag to Garrison who peered inside.
“What’s this?” He lifted a pink muscle tank top. “Holy shit! I’m not wearing this!”
“What about the shorts I brought?”
Garrison took out the blue shorts and eyed them. “These are girl’s shorts.”
“No. They’re male shorts, just a really, really, really short pair, meant to highlight posterior assets.”READ MORE
“I’m not wearing these. My balls would be hanging out of them!”
Caleb snorted while Garrison threw the clothes at him. “You’re never appreciative of the things I do for you.”
Garrison mouthed the word asshole and then laughed.
“Did you expect anything less?”
“I guess not, little brother. Where have you been, by the way? You’ve been MIA for like two to three weeks.”
“Dad and I, well, I don’t know how to explain it,” said Caleb.
“Joan told me. She said dad wants Youngblood racing to focus on one driver for marketing and endorsements.”
“I guess that’s one way to put it,” said Caleb as he walked toward the window. “I asked him why, you know. He said he didn’t have to explain himself. That’s when I told him I didn’t want to ever talk to him again.”
“Dramatic much?” laughed Garr.
Caleb turned away from the window and sat next to Garr. “If he never wanted me to race the majors, why would he even let me drive period?”
“I don’t think we ever had a choice did we? I mean this is the family business. At least I didn’t have a choice -- not like I’d want to do anything else. But you? You shouldn’t have dropped out of college. I know you came back because of Mom.” Garr patted Caleb’s thigh. “I’ll talk to Dad and see if I can talk some sense into him. I don’t know what’s going on lately. I know Joan and he like to keep the business side of things to themselves, but we all need to know why Dad is doing what Dad is doing.”
“You’re the better driver, Garr.” Caleb paused. “If he just came out and said, we’re going with Garrison because he’s the better, I’m fine with that. But to just say, I’m not racing anymore, especially the majors? I’m not ten years old. Dad should just give me the reasons why, not just say, I’m out. I’m done.”
They both sat in silence for a moment before Garrison spoke. “So what have you been doing lately? Bob says you show up in the shop and check out the cars when Dad’s not there and then leave.”
“I’ve been trying to send out feelers here and there about Formula racing and maybe racing for another team.”
“Does Dad know this?”
Caleb shook his head. “Nope. And don’t tell him either.”
“Joan said you’re dating a new guy?”
“That’s old news. We’ve been dating for more than a little over six months.”
“And you’ve never introduced him to me?” Garrison raised his shoulders and shrugged, and gestured for more information with a wave of his hands. “And?”
“I like him.”
“What’s his name?”
Garrison’s eyebrows arched. “Sebastian?”
“He doesn’t like to use his middle name, Harry.”
“Okay. Are we going to do very short answers, now? I’m your brother. You don’t have to be secretive around me.”
Caleb exhaled. “I know.”
Kirsty on Joyfully Jay wrote:
What a great novella. This book starts out a little different with an established couple. I found Caleb and Sebastian to be a very believable couple, I also found them cute and sexy. The author does a marvelous job of letting us get to know them as a couple. I never even realized that the “getting to know you stage” was missing, I didn’t need it to get a sense of the main characters.
You may have noticed that I labeled this as a Romance and Family. Family does play a big part in this book and it is a bit deep. It deals with what choices a Mother and Father make for their children, whether it’s what they do to protect them or even steer them on a path that they feel will be safer. It deals with the aftermath of those decisions and how the child reacts to the path they were led on. In this book this isn’t a bad thing, it’s not some dark journey, it really is all about the Love.
Romance! Caleb and Sebastian are the meaning of that word. The feelings that they share are truly evident, from the way they make love, to the things that they say to each other and how they look to the future with each other by their side. I said earlier that they are a believable couple, their romance was written just right, it wasn’t over the top or lacking, it was something that was easily recognizable as real. Let me say that their sexual chemistry is spectacular and I really enjoyed their love making. Let’s just say that Caleb knows how to deliver.
Book Title: Starting His Engine
Book Series: standalone
Author: W.S. Long
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (November 12, 2016)
Book Length: 55 pages
Genre: Romance, Family, Sports
Reviewed by: Scott
Rating: 5 Star
The catalyst for the story revolved around the oval track, otherwise known as NASCAR. I felt the sport was well researched and I enjoyed the factual/real information that was provided. I appreciate an author that does this, for me it helps move the story along, it is easier to believe and to also get in the mindspace of the characters.
Here is what I took away as the moral of the story. There are all sorts of ways to win, and it is up to you on how you want to cross the finish line.
Afterthought: I only found 1 editorial error.
Rating: 4.25 stars
Length: Short Story
Caleb Youngblood and Sebastian Rush have been a couple for six months, though their relationship remains a secret from everyone but their families. The reason for this is Caleb’s father’s insistence that the NASCAR world is not ready for an openly gay driver in their sport.
Caleb’s father just wants to protect his younger son, which is why he has decided that Caleb should no longer drive for the family team, Youngblood Racing, putting the company’s time and effort into Caleb’s older brother, Garrison. When Caleb realizes this harsh reality, he decides to take his relationship with Sebastian to the next level by moving in with him, and coming out to an online sports reporter. However, when Youngblood Racing need Caleb, does his confession mean he can’t return to the sport he loves?
Starting His Engine is obviously set amongst the world of NASCAR, which I think is an interesting and original choice by W.S. Long. Though this is a predominantly American sport, Long does not alienate his readers from other parts of the world because this is less a story about the sport itself and more about the family dynamics that drive these characters, as well as the romance. Long approaches the subject of gay men being closeted within the sport well, though it is sad to think that in this day and age that this is actually the case. I feel that, therefore, we readers respect Caleb for his honesty and I found myself cheering him on when he returned to the racetrack.
I wanted to be angry with Earl Youngblood for encouraging Caleb to keep his sexuality a secret, but Long works hard to ensure his reader understands the older man and that actually he has accepted his son and loves him no matter what; he is just afraid of the fallout.
At only 28 pages, Starting His Engine is a short read, but still satisfying. Long’s story-telling technique is engaging in the way that he builds up to a significant event, then ends the chapter on a cliffhanger of sorts and begins the next with a new scene and usually the aftermath of the event. When this happened, for example in the case of an accident, I found this unusual and surprising, but this also makes sense because of the words it saves for more important parts of the story — in this case, some key conversations in the hospital afterward.
Sebastian and Caleb’s romance is key in Starting His Engine and I very rarely read books in which the relationship is already established. For the purposes of this being a short story, I think this scenario works better. From the outset of Starting His Engine we understand the depth of feeling between Sebastian and Caleb and the “I love yous” do not seem misplaced. Long creates a couple who are stronger together and there are developments in their relationship that encourage us to care about them and their future together.
Long’s sex scenes are explicit, but in my opinion, not too frequent. Instead, I sensed that sex was an extended way for the men to express their emotions. Unfortunately though, for me, these scenes were lacking passion and contained a little too much technical detail.
Although there is a NASCAR connection in Starting His Engine, it is really an examination of relationships: those within a family and between two men. Starting His Engine is the first story I have read by Long and I am now moving on to see how Sebastian and Caleb continue in Too Tough To Tame.