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A tale of pride over prejudice on the soccer pitch kicks off this gay romance series set in Scotland

Duncan Harris is on the edge. Scandal has shredded his LGBT soccer team’s history-making season, and now the once-unflappable striker is lashing out. Only one person can tame Duncan’s rage and make him feel like himself again…

Bullied by schoolmates in his wee village, Brodie Campbell lurked deep in the closet before coming to the city of Glasgow. Here at university he’s out and proud, but the years of abuse have left him emotionally paralyzed. Can flatmate Duncan help Brodie escape his past and heal his wounded heart?

As the two lads grow closer, Brodie can’t forget how athletes like Duncan once tortured him. When Duncan attacks an opponent who threatens Brodie, the situation escalates. Soon Brodie doesn’t feel safe anywhere—especially in Duncan’s arms.

To defeat the bullies who’ve wrecked his life, his mind, and his ability to love, Brodie must find the strength to fight his own battles. And Duncan must find the strength to let him.

172 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 25, 2015

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About the author

Avery Cockburn

15 books477 followers
Hiya, I’m Avery Cockburn (rhymes with Savory Slow Churn). My days are filled with beautiful men who play beautiful games in the most beautiful place in the world. Being an author is pretty much the best job ever.

I live in the United States with one infinitely patient man and two infinitely impatient cats. Readers make my day, so email me at avery@averycockburn.com, or sign up for my readers group at www.averycockburn.com/signup to get loads of exclusive Glasgow Lads bonus material. Cheers!

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5 stars
227 (21%)
4 stars
459 (43%)
3 stars
323 (30%)
2 stars
37 (3%)
1 star
8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews
February 4, 2016

I liked this book fine until the halfway point when the focus shifted to homophobia in Scottish society, particularly among football players.

Brodie started acting like a surly, immature teenager, which he was. The MCs are only 18.

Duncan kept apologizing when he didn't do anything but stand up for Brodie. And Brodie kept running away. He also had mono, so he was sick the entire time.

The writing appealed to me. I'm a fan of accents. The first half was cute, what with the slow burn, Facebook banter, and Duncan taking care of Brodie.

The steam level was low and the epilogue a little abrupt. The storyline with Brodie's parents was introduced but never developed.

I'm meh on this one.
Profile Image for Teal.
596 reviews188 followers
January 27, 2021
A nice, harmless story of two college freshmen trying to establish their first serious relationship. I'd previously read the first book in the series -- this novella is #0.5 -- and taking them out of order worked fine and triggered no spoilers.

I'm giving it 3 stars because it's quite well-written -- and because my inability to get emotionally invested in the MCs, or take their heartbreaks seriously, seemed to be a me-problem. I'm going to blame it on how 2020 aged me. I kid you not: over the course of that year from hell, my hair started to go grey. My previously low blood pressure soared through the stratosphere. And apparently I lost my ability to take the romantic woes of teenagers seriously.

You know what's next, don't you?

Sigh. But rather than punish the book for that, let me tell you what I liked best about it.

Misunderstanding is an infuriatingly common plot device in m/m romance. And it's annoying, because you think that if only they would talk everything would be cleared up. It feels like an artificial -- and superficial -- problem.

But in this story, Duncan and Brodie do talk, and listen, to each other. Yet instead of fixing everything up, that actually perpetuates/creates problems. They're not in sync yet, not able to sense where the other one is coming from, not familiar with each other's sense of humor, not knowledgeable about each other's sensitivities and sore spots.

This rang so true. There's more to couplehood than bonding through sex or shared experiences. Each has to learn how to read the other person, and how to communicate with them. It's not (usually) automatic -- it's a process. A process that can be quite precarious at the start of a potential new relationship. And I don't think I see that depicted often enough in romance.

I do plan to continue with the series; I just hope the remaining books will feature somewhat older MCs.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,807 reviews499 followers
March 26, 2017
I am a snob. There I said it. I don't pay enough attention to self-published authors (especially who only publish on Amazon), especially with pen name of (I assume it is pen name?) Cockburn (edited: apparently, Cockburn IS indeed a Scottish name. Sorry, author!). I imagine the story will be bordering on erotic porn that I never really interest in. Well, until my kilt-loving-British-adoring friend, Didi, brought the whole series to my attention, and I was curious because she seemed to love it. I asked her, if I should jump into book #1 or start with the novella. She said the novella.

Oh, well ... hit me with a frying pan, because I admit I'm an idiot for dismissing this!!

Yep, I LOVED this little novella. Sure, the boys were having their teenager angst of miscommunication and pining. But they were so ADORABLE together!! I liked their differences: Duncan didn't exactly hide his sexuality (he was a member of a gay football team after all) but didn't really care about the 'activist' part of LGBT movement in his campus. While Brodie hated anything sporty (because he was bullied by the jocks back in his small town) and preferred to fight for LGBT rights in his own club. But they couldn't really stay away from one another, and I loved that.

They made mistakes, they weren't perfect, but man they made my heart sang happily. I loved you boys!! And yes, I would be reading the next books!

PS: The only downside for me would be the heavy accent; I'm really, really, REALLY bad with accents, especially those written phonetically. I grew up with American English (from TV and movie), which was why I prefer to read that language. I stay away from anything "too British" because it isn't fun to guess about what the words mean every time I stumble into them. I experienced the same thing here, in which I had to Google-d some of the Scottish terms or idioms or even a whole sentence because I had no idea what it meant!!
Profile Image for Jilrene.
911 reviews81 followers
October 13, 2015
I loved all the football. Especially the premier league references. This is a fun, sweet read. A little drama, but nothing annoying. I am going straight to Fergus' book.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,515 followers
October 2, 2015
This prequel to Playing for Keeps is a less intense book. It brings together two young men - Brodie, who is finally out at University after a childhood scarred by homophobic bullying and a mom he had to hide his true self from, since he could not count on her to be accepting; and Duncan, whose family thinks a gay son makes them cool in their circles, but who has closer relationships with his friends and teammates than his family. Duncan plays football (soccer) and Brodie's worst childhood torments were from athletes. Neither man can really empathize properly with the other's position, but they are attracted enough and comfortable enough as friends to want to try.

I enjoyed the local color, the genuinely young feel of the main characters, and the mistakes and flaws they both displayed. At times, I got impatient with each of them, but that fit with their age and inexperience and made them feel realistic.

Although chronologically before Book 1, I would suggest reading it afterward. Some of the events alluded to will make more sense if you have read Playing for Keeps before this one, and I think the longer, more intense novel will invest the reader in the series better. I'm looking forward to reading book 2.
Profile Image for Ele.
1,274 reviews40 followers
January 22, 2017

*3.5 stars*

Don't ask me why I liked this book. I don't know.

The scottish accent gave me hell. There is a lot of sports talk and I don't really like sports. It's homophobia and angst central and I was in the mood for something lighter. It's low on the steam and we all know what a perv I am. And Brodie is sick during the whole story. Plus, what's up with the guy's shirt on the cover?

But it is also exactly what the blurb says: A tale of pride over prejudice on the soccer pitch...

The idea of a LGBT soccer team is very appealing, there are many funny moments and I liked the banter among all characters , a lot of slow burn, some smoking hot scenes and some very interesting supporting characters that will hopefully get their own story.

Hmm...I did have some reasons for liking it after all. I'm kind of hooked now. Got to read the rest.
Profile Image for Elena.
835 reviews87 followers
January 10, 2021
This was certainly well written, but the story in itself wasn't anything special. Sometimes I was a little confused about what it was about: it started with the team's situation, then the homophobia problem, then Duncan and Brodie's relationship problems.

What I liked was that the MCs were realistic, they were portrayed as flawed boys trying to navigate their relationship and I appreciated their willingness to apologize when they realized they made mistakes.

I'm curious to read Fergus and John's story next.
Reread in 2021
After rereading for a BR, I can confirm my initial opinion. This felt all over the place, but I still appreciated the good writing and the characters. And now that I’ve read more by this author, I know that novellas are not her strong suit, she does much better with full-length novels.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,720 reviews2 followers
October 2, 2015

4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this little prequel novella of two 18 year olds navigating their way through the turbulent waters of gay adulthood, and all that that entails at a Glasgow University of all places. The central theme of the series is the LGBT Woodstoun Warriors football team, and its players.

Brodie comes from a small village in the North of Scotland where being gay just isn't acceptable, and he's mercilessly bullied by practically everyone including his own mother. Duncan comes from a privileged Glaswegian background with parents who are gay friendly especially if it brings them more sales in their upmarket store...he's more of a possession than a person.

Duncan is quite experienced, Brodie has been too terrified to gain ANY experience but they connect. How Brodie's background of being bullied by footballers meshes with Duncan's playing for an LGBT friendly team, and the abuse (both physical and verbal) it attracts is something they'll both have to work at if they want their relationship to overcome all obstacles.

Have already bought books 1 & 2.
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,578 reviews103 followers
January 12, 2021
Reread 1/11/2021:
Whelp, this year's going to crap already but at least I've got the Glasgow Lads and a BR to look forward to. Don't really have anything to add, except that I like that the characters act their age, not like 12-year olds. And the conflicts are believable if a bit too much for the page time.

Original review 12/2/15:
This was pretty standard, a well-told story but not exactly groundbreaking. It's very much an introduction to this world but still a self-contained story. This is a pretty typical college jock meets non-jock (and not even a geek) and they fall in love in a ridiculously short amount of time. But they're Scottish! There wasn't a whole lot of attempt to explain the slang, but for the most part I didn't need it. The football (soccer for us Americans) scenes were described plainly enough for non-players to follow along. I was interested in the team being all LGBT, so I'm hoping the rest of the series goes more into that.

As for Brodie and Duncan, I can say with confidence this is the first story I've read where the MCs get together through mono. Or where mono was even a thing. Brodie's not a fan of jocks due to being bullied in the past, but Duncan manages to break through that, and yes they are adorable. There is some drama typical of NA, but it's worked out in the end.

I actually found Fergus more interesting, so I'm glad to see he's the MC in the next book.
Profile Image for Lenore.
596 reviews371 followers
November 20, 2015
I loved the premise and the idea of an all-LGBT, all-gender football team.

The book deals with some serious issues, and its approach feels pretty authentic (especially if you take into account the characters' young age and inexperience) but it doesn't avoid slipping into the stereotypical here and there.

It's still a sweet read, and I'm definitely reading the next book.
Profile Image for Nerea.
659 reviews32 followers
June 26, 2016
Waaa! So cute novella!! The main characters are like puppies and it has zero angst! LOVELY!
It has many super tender scenes… “Aww” moments everywhere ♥

I´m not sports fan, football inclusive, although is like religion in Spain, but I think the book makes a good resume of it. How the people who play live it and how the fans see it.

“This is dead brilliant!” Brodie sat beside Lorna again after they’d hugged and high-fived the entire Rainbow Regiment. “Why’d you never tell me how amazing this feels?”
“You’d never have believed us,” she said. “Also, it’s not usually this good. Football tends to be long stretches of misery dotted with moments of ecstasy.”
“Kinda like life,” Paul added.

Looking forward the next one *_*!!
Profile Image for Trio.
2,976 reviews171 followers
May 29, 2021
Super nice YA, opposites attract love story. Avery Cockburn definitely captures the atmosphere of a Freshman dorm, and all the activities that first years get up to. Revising in the library during finals week, parties, and some wacky social media hijinks.

Brodie has been the victim of some pretty intense bullying, abuse, and bigotry. I love that he finds the courage to escape his rural home town, and his bigoted parents to try life in the big city. And when he opens his heart to the love that Duncan offers - and faces the threats that continue to exist (even in a large, cosmopolitan city like Glasgow)... this is one very brave young man.

Love Duncan. He's just a big, sweet goof with a huge heart xo.
March 14, 2016
3.5 stars

While I got over the heavy Scottish slang, the story was a bit underdeveloped. Which makes sense, considering this is a novella when it had the content to be a full-lenght novel, in my opinion. Even the ending felt rushed (again, novella).

However, Scottish accents, real football, rainbow tartan kilts and Luis Suarez jokes? It's a no-brainer that I'm reading the next one.
Profile Image for Mónica BQ.
763 reviews117 followers
December 7, 2016
Best thing about this? Real football getting called football. El mero bueno.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,132 reviews432 followers
June 10, 2017
3.5 Stars

A seriously great start to what I hope will be a great series.

You've got a college setting with a sports background, where flatmates Brodie and Duncan circle each other round and round. They both admire the other for their differences until those differences bring to light some sobering truths.

A lot more angsty than expected. This explores not only their relationship, but also the very real social issues surrounding LGBT youth, involving such topics as bullying, activism, and acceptance.  

Sexy and sweet, Brodie and Duncan learn some harsh lessons about each other and themselves, and of course come out the stronger together.  I look forward to reading about the other team members and further brushing up on my Scottish lingo - its significant presence and my own guessing inferences, its own little adventure!
Profile Image for Bitchie.
1,464 reviews77 followers
October 8, 2015
Oh, I really enjoyed this! An all LGBT soccer team in Scotland? Oh yeah, baby!

I admit, the lingo threw me at times, but I actually liked trying to figure out what they were saying, and hey, I (maybe) learned some new words! Will definitely continue on with this series!

I loved watching Brodie and Duncan dance around each other. Brodie was bullied all through school, by people just like Duncan, the strong, athletic type, so of course Brodie tries to keep him at arms' length. But after some drunken fooling around, neither of them can get the other out of their heads, Duncan just has to prove himself, which he really did, thanks to a case of mono!
September 20, 2015

A tale of pride over prejudice on the soccer pitch kicks off this gay romance series set in Scotland

Duncan Harris is on the edge. Scandal has shredded his LGBT soccer team’s history-making season, and now the once-unflappable striker is lashing out. Only one person can tame Duncan’s rage and make him feel like himself again…

Bullied by schoolmates in his wee village, Brodie Campbell lurked deep in the closet before coming to the city of Glasgow. Here at university he’s out and proud, but the years of abuse have left him emotionally paralyzed. Can flatmate Duncan help Brodie escape his past and heal his wounded heart?

As the two lads grow closer, Brodie can’t forget how athletes like Duncan once tortured him. When Duncan attacks an opponent who threatens Brodie, the situation escalates. Soon Brodie doesn’t feel safe anywhere—especially in Duncan’s arms.

To defeat the bullies who’ve wrecked his life, his mind, and his ability to love, Brodie must find the strength to fight his own battles. And Duncan must find the strength to let him.

Note: The Glasgow Lads series contains dirty talk with a Scottish accent, naughty bits of a gay nature, and characters who call soccer “football.”

My Thoughts:

I am happy to have a new series to follow. I have a soft spot for M/M sports romance stories and this fits the bill.

At the start of the story, Duncan and Brodie have known each other for a while. They aren't particularly close mates, but they have fooled around once. It didn't end so well and Brodie was left feeling humiliated. It seems that was a big misunderstanding. Once Duncan shows his sweet, nurturing side, they eventually begin to date, but that doesn't always go so well because they come from such different backgrounds and don't truly understand each other. Because of this, Duncan sometimes comes off as insensitive when it comes to GLBTQ issues which really pisses Brodie off because he had been bullied in his home village and his mom is a bigoted bitch.

Brodie pissed me off later, though when he deliberately hurts Duncan after an incident during one of Duncan's football games. Brodie has always had issues with footballers, so what happened really frightened him, but the way he acted was highly unnecessary and I felt awful for Duncan. Luckily, for both boys, they have some awesome friends that helped them gain some perspective.

I'm pleased with the way they worked things out and I'm mostly satisfied with the ending. The one thing I would have liked to see is Brodie dealing with his bitch mom. After all, he's only in his first year of uni. How is he supposed to pay for tuition in the following years?

I'm looking forward to continuing this series. Fergus and John seem to be up next followed by Colin, whose book I'm really excited about. I want to see what happens to that goofball.
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,779 reviews12.8k followers
February 8, 2016
This novella, which is the introduction to the Glasgow Lads series, is a good read but definitely not without its fault. It's also not nearly as good as some of the following titles in the series. I adored Duncan, but his occasional refusal to have a backbone irritated me. Brodie, while almost coming off as the shy, virginal, naive sweetheart, couldn't even have a simple conversation with Duncan without becoming irate, defensive, and insulting. The two of them couldn't seem to communicate, they were constantly taking each other's actions the wrong way, and their physical chemistry didn't seem all that stellar.

Regardless, I think it's a relevant story, especially if you're looking to read the entire series, and it doesn't take long. Cockburn's world building is good, and her dialogue and characterizations, while frustrating, are well crafted. Also, it's a Kindle Unlimited title right now, so you KU subscribers have got nothing to lose.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,108 reviews372 followers
July 30, 2016
3 Stars

That was easily the most Scottish book I’ve ever read. A lot of the time I had no idea what they were talking about, but guessing was half the fun. I love all things Scotland so at the very least this book deserves points for authenticity.

To be honest, the story was a bit heavier than I expected it to be; but again, this is a thing deserving of praise. Themes of homophobia and bullying were present and genuinely affecting, but were not so overwhelming that they zapped the joy out of the budding romance developing between Brodie and Duncan.

I enjoyed the story and the writing, and I’ll definitely be checking out the next book in the series.
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 266 books2,562 followers
September 21, 2015
This book was gorgeous. Two 18 year old lads with a completely believable love story. Highly recommended. And I'm off to read the next one.
Profile Image for Meep.
2,060 reviews201 followers
November 16, 2019
2.5* I liked it more than I expected not being by any means a footie fan. It's VERY Scottish, loud, proud and undeniably Scottish - I can see non-Brits needing a translator.

The characters were intitially endearing but as the story progressed I started to wonder what attracted them to each other, they're very different people and politics stole some of the focus along with Brodie being ill for the entire length of the book. A few subjects are brought up then forgotten such as Brodie's mother.

Liked how the few other characters are introduced, enough to make them appeal as mc in their own story but no obvious push-ins. I'll continue with the first book (having got it free) and see from there.
Profile Image for Pjm12.
1,860 reviews41 followers
July 13, 2015
Was very much enjoying this love match between Duncan and Brodie, until about 75% when Brodie completely lost it and shut out Duncan completely.

However, I forced myself to acknowledge these wee lads are only 18 and just first year university students, and this behaviour is quite realistic when you think about their upbringing, their inexperience and their impulsiveness.

Especially when Brodie eventually calms down (feels better really) and seeks out Duncan, there is a genuine attempt to right his wrongs. I loved the grand gesture, and the satisfying resolution.

Have already downloaded Fergus' story. The use of Scottish idioms is amusing and really helps with location and scene setting.
Profile Image for Marthea.
746 reviews3 followers
May 4, 2023
Obiecujący wstępniak do całej serii. To niezmierna ulga po ostatniej masakrycznej wpadce z serią Small Town Hearts i pisarstwem Emmy Alcott przeczytać coś, co jest dobrze napisane i co dodatkowo będzie pewnym wzywaniem czytelniczym ze względu na język - akcja dzieje się w Glasgow i nie ma co ukrywać, bohaterowie nie mówią podręcznikowym angielskim 😜

Wiem, że książka to wstępniak i dlatego nie jest jakoś strasznie długa, choć na pewno większa objętość by jej nie zaszkodziła 😉 Ale już widziałam, że następne tomy mnie pod tym względem na pewno rozpieszczą 😁
Profile Image for Rosa.
640 reviews6 followers
January 12, 2021
I enjoyed this one very much, and I'm looking forward to read the novels. I liked the writing style a lot and my fellow BReaders have told me the author gets better in longer books.
Overall, I liked this one, and like I talked with my fellow BReaders, the characters were well fleshed out and their reactions, in general, and their realtionship development felt real.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews

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