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The Script Club #1

Following the Rules

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The geek, the jock, and a new set of rules…

My friend’s brother needs an academic assistant and I need a job. Problem…jocks are my weakness. Seriously. I lose my ability to speak coherently around muscle-bound hotties. Oh yeah, I lose my inhibitions too—not a good look for a guy with a genius IQ. So what am I going to do about Simon?

Finishing college isn’t high on my list of priorities, but my future in professional football is looking bleak. I need a plan B or C, and I could use some help navigating life as an undergrad. Topher is perfect. He’s also a little strange…but in a good way. And I like the way I feel when I’m around him—as though anything is possible. Maybe if we follow our hearts, we’ll find what we’re looking for. But that means changing the rules…

Following the Rules is a MM, bisexual awakening romance starring a lovable nerd, a cool jock, and some extracurricular fun.

204 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 7, 2021

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About the author

Lane Hayes

92 books1,544 followers
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! She’s the bestselling author of the Out in College, Starting From, Better Than, A Kind Of, Right and Wrong, and Leaning Into Series! Lane loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). All things she can find in sunny SoCal where she lives with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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5 stars
627 (33%)
4 stars
732 (38%)
3 stars
417 (22%)
2 stars
94 (4%)
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20 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 315 reviews
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,093 reviews798 followers
June 1, 2021
Audiobook - Dnf at 15 mins Sorry Alexander!😑


Story Time of death 80% - Rating upto there - 2.15 stars

You can guess


Warning! Party pooper review ahead.


It's me not the book. The reviews for this one are glowing, there got to be an odd ball right? And that is me.


The first off thing about this, was the audiobook. I love me some Alexander Cendese voice but this works when he is narrating a single POV or when he has a partner someone like Iggy Toma they work well. Here he was solo and his voice for Topher didn't work at all. Sooooooo! What to do? What to do? switch to reading.

Lane Hayes is my go to author when I am in the mood for some feel good stories. This was not it! When I switched to reading, I felt no connection between the MCs. I soldiered on thinking it might get better but it didn't. I am told that Topher the nerd has a crush on Simon the Jock, but I couldn't feel it. I am told that Topher is a nerd but I honestly couldn't see it.

As Individuals Topher and Simon are pretty much forgettable. There was no character development whatsoever or anything to make them memorable. I have realized that I don't remember most of Lane's MCs. Huh! But I won't quit her.

Overall! Shit happens.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,139 reviews434 followers
August 15, 2021
4 Surprising Hearts!

I will readily admit that I’m not a Hayes expert, and though I’ve had some wins with this author, I’ve not read her in years. When the chance to sit back and relax with an audio crossed my path, I said, why not?

Suffice it to say, I immensely enjoyed myself.

This starts off with typically happy go lucky Simon. He’s a pro football player on hiatus due to several concussions, uncharacteristically anxiously awaiting for a call to return to the game that just might not come. Simon’s reluctant backup plan is to finally finish getting his college degree, but he needs some help with his classes, and that’s where his brother’s best friend Topher comes in.

Topher needs money, and what better way to do that than to do what he does best, and that’s being smart. There’s just one snag. Jocks are his kryptonite, and Topher literally cannot function properly when around them. It doesn’t help that he’s had a crush on Simon for years either. The arrangement in theory might be perfect, but it’s SO not gonna work. However, Simon is desperate and suggests a nonsensical plan - they’ll role play so as to focus Topher’s mind off the obvious. What it does instead is set these two up for some ridiculous scenarios that do nothing but incite absurd witty banter and spur their libidos in the best way possible.

I’ve only listened to Alexander Cendese once, but he outdid himself here. He imbues Simon with a brash charming pushiness that means absolutely no harm. Simon’s seriously the friendliest, laid back guy ever. Nothing seems to phase him and though he’s a teeny tiny bit dim, he handles himself and Topher’s quirkiness with aplomb. In contrast, Cendese aptly portrays Topher with all his uptight fumbling clumsiness that endears you to his geeky stuttering as he spouts obtuse facts while being brazenly forward when it comes to all things sex. The juxtaposition between these two was fun, funny, and simply entertaining.

Let’s be frank. Regarding one’s expectations, just know this is obviously pure fiction in its utmost carefree form. Check your BS meter at the door, and come on in and get comfy! This is sweet, quite smexy, and with barely a smidge of angst, if you could really call it that. No in the closet anxiety, no lamenting anguish, no self sacrifice. If I’m gonna read a contemporary these days, and a sporty one at that, this is exactly how I like it and need it to be!

Overall, the narration only elevated this story with spot on comedic timing and gleefully increased the playful silly sexiness whenever these two were interacting. To say the least, I’ve never been so tickled by a Hayes book. I smiled, snorted, and laughed out loud.

Apparently, this is the beginning of a new series about Topher and his brainiac friends, and if they are as delightful as this first installment, then I’m definitely on board for more!

Thank you to the author for the audio in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,354 reviews308 followers
May 12, 2021
This book is just happiness in written form.

It's Lane at her very best when it comes to crafting believable bisexual awakening stories and for giving a sense of realness to finding a lifelong love while in college.

I loved everything about this book, from Topher and his uniqueness, to Simon and his kindly ways, to the rest of the Geek Squad and the brilliant families and friends both men had.

It's sweet, steamy, full of feels and just made me happy.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
Profile Image for Meags.
2,115 reviews376 followers
October 14, 2021
4 Stars

Following the Rules has been one of the most pleasant surprises of my reading year!

Packed to the brim with sweetness, sexiness, and positivity, this was one feel-good, new-adult themed M/M romance that I’m glad I didn’t overlook.

Pairing one self-proclaimed geek with the heartthrob jock of his dreams is always a sure-fire combination to make my ears perk up and take notice. Throw in some bi-curiosity and some steaming hot sexual exploration between the two MCs, and this book pretty much guaranteed my enthusiastic and rapt attention.

Appreciatively, this story kept things super-lite on the angst, as these two fairly adorable characters, Topher and Simon, came together, first as tutor and student, and later (but not much later) as friends and lovers.

The whole vibe of Topher and Simon’s story was fairly chill from the get-go, and I appreciated how pure and simple their connection was, sharing the kind of humour, attraction and deep respect between them, that you usually see in much more established couples.

Their story was a joy to read and I now eagerly look forward to reading the sequels!
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,617 reviews240 followers
May 9, 2021
Adorkable, sexy fluff!

This was a ray of sunshine breaking through overcast skies!

Just the thing to brighten up a dull day.
Just the thing to follow an agnsty read
Just the thing to read to bring a smile to your face.

Footballer—welcome to bi-land!
Rocket man—can’t get enough sex 🔥
California—the beach...hello!

Jock needs tutoring help
Grad student needs a job
Grad student has a problem : he can’t resist jocks
Jock is happy to oblige with...
His lips

Role-playing games ensue
Studying ensues
Skipping class
Having fun

Here comes the conflict!
Wait!!! It’s short-lived!!
(Remember: this is FLUFFY!!)


My rec? It’s fun, angst-free & SEXY!!! Hell, yessssssss!
May 31, 2021

Football players are Christopher's kryptonite. He can't resist them but can't be around them either as he becomes nervous, babbles about whale penises, and builds pillow forts for protection.

This is problematic as Simon, Topher's best friend's older brother, has just hired Topher to be his tutor extraordinaire. Topher is smart, you see, and Simon, currently on leave from the NFL after being cut from the team, needs all the help he can get.

Simon is lonely and at a crossroads. He knows he can't suffer another concussion, but football is the only thing he's ever known.

Topher is at once awkward and bold, and that turns Simon on big time. Simon doesn't try to resist his attraction to Topher. It's Topher who originally applies the brakes, as Simon is technically his employer. But Simon is determined to ply Topher with peanut butter & pickle sandwiches and get Topher to stay.

Simon wants Topher to say YES to spending the night, to cuddles, to love, to Simon. But can Topher trust that Simon will pick him?

Following the Rules is a sweet, sexy, bisexual awakening, opposites attract story with a lovely HEA. I liked the secondary characters and can't wait for their stories.

My only complaint is that the story barely began before it ended. I liked both MCs a great deal and wanted more banter and perhaps more information regarding George's (Simon's brother) reaction to Topher and Si becoming a couple.
Profile Image for Papie.
652 reviews119 followers
July 28, 2021
This was cute, sweet and entertaining. The characters didn’t wow me, but they worked well enough. The sex was hot. It’s a really quick read. It’s fun.

Things that annoyed me:
- Why are they always having sex instead of studying? Simon is taking online classes and hired Topher to help him, but instead, every time Topher shows up, they ditch the books (Or even the actual class! Without logging out! And start having sex). As a college professor this one killed me.
- the start of their relationship was off. Topher is super awkward and stiff around Simon, but then he kisses him and it’s the hottest thing ever? Something was missing.
- the football part made no sense. He got super injured but still wants to play. But then he doesn’t. The change of heart seemed out of nowhere. And why doesn’t he have any damage, anger, personality changes? Head injuries are no joke.
Profile Image for Em Jay.
195 reviews28 followers
May 10, 2021
Time of death: 23%

Well folks I did something I never do which is DNF a book. Ironically, this is not even close to the worst thing I've ever read so don't let my comments deter you. In fact I'm not going to give a rating both because I didn't get that far, and also because I don't think the book is necessarily bad at all.

I picked this up because I wanted a "brain cleanse" if you will, and as I was reading it felt as though it was cleansing my brain too much and taking my brain cells along with it. I think it's a combo of me not being in the mood and the fact that the start of the book made absolutely no sense whatsoever so I just couldn't get into it. I'm sure it's good fluffy, low stakes, sexy fun, just too far on the "no thoughts just vibes" side of things for me.
Profile Image for Annery.
944 reviews122 followers
May 19, 2021
If you want a break from life's noise without venturing into fantasy Lane Hayes is always a good choice and Following the Rules keeps up the streak.

This is the first in a new series featuring a group of geeky brainy friends and their journeys to HEA. It is tangentially an off-shoot of the Starting From series but can totally stand on it's own. Simon is a football player who's been sidelined because of concussions. The time off has led him to reevaluate what his future looks like. In the meantime he's finishing his college degree, albeit online, but needs a little help. Thankfully his brother George sets him up with one of his brainiac friends to help and tutor. Said friend is Christopher who goes by Topher to his friends, super smart and lives for any kind of knowledge & research. His kryptonite? Jocks.

The relationship between the MC develops pretty quickly from student/tutor to discovery or experimentation for Simon & fantasy come true for Topher to sexual & emotional gratification for both MC. Despite the speed the progress feels organic. There's also minimal drama which feels true to who these characters are, their backgrounds, their families, and the time and place they live in.

The sexy times where hot & sweet at once and I was overall pleased. I think you will be too.

My one niggle is unimportant and not relevant to the story so you can/should completely ignore it. I add it under a spoiler tag because I use GR as my book/reading diary.
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,738 reviews230 followers
May 4, 2021
Lane Hayes is always an auto read for me but I’ve never really given any thought to whether I have a favorite book or series she’s written.

I’ve given it some thought now. Actually, no thought necessary. I have a favorite now and this book is it!

My God I loved this. Every single word, every single page. I love romances, all kinds of them, but there is just something so special about an easy, breezy, beautiful story about falling in love that works for me every time.

Seriously. I can’t fault anything. This was absolutely perfect for me.

These two. So sweet and seriously on fire. I can’t wait to see what is to come with this new series/crossover/spin-off.

A favorite for sure.

**This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Susan.
2,195 reviews397 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
May 14, 2021
DNF at 50%

I really wanted to like this, but I'm not connecting with these guys.
At first I figured it would get better, but when it felt like a chore to pick this up again I decided to accept that this is not the book for me.
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,169 reviews260 followers
April 30, 2021

Following the Rules by Lane Hayes is adorable.

There was so much I loved!

-Smoking hot chemistry
-Opposites attract
-Bisexual awakening
-Low angst, feel good
-George! I need his book!
-Dual POVs
-All wrapped up with a HEA

Jock/Nerd Romance + Friend's Brother + Lane Hayes = Must Read

P.S. I think Jake can be redeemed 😁

Profile Image for Ele.
1,276 reviews40 followers
May 17, 2021
DNF @ 35%

This is my second DNF in a couple weeks. Talk about a book slump.
Profile Image for Demon.
185 reviews27 followers
October 18, 2021
steel rod [thank God it was only used once 😣]

“I’ll pay you extra.”
Topher glanced sideways. “For what?”
“To be my friend.”

[that doesn't sound weird at all]

It was the perfect sentiment. It wasn’t love. It was love of a moment. And that was different…and a lot less scary. I could love this moment, cherish this time with him, and somehow find a way to let go when the time came.
[this sounds grt]

This book had many stupid and exaggerated moments which was supposed to be funny but made me want the the ground to grow a hole a swallow me.
Profile Image for haletostilinski.
1,194 reviews369 followers
May 9, 2021
This was a fun first installment in a new spin-off series.

It took me a bit to get into Topher and Simon, but once things really got going between these two, I enjoyed these two immensely.

How they came to be in each other's lives felt a little hokey to me, especially when Simon didn't really want to study, ever, it seemed, and for a good portion of this was just waiting until he could go back to football and Topher didn't want to be there because he wanted Simon too much. It just didn't feel entirely...I don't know...like a real reason to get them in each other's lives. It felt thinly veiled, I guess I'll say.

But I always say that as long as the characters and relationships are interesting, I can get past a lack of plot or bad plot. These two worked so well together once they really got into their relationship, had really good chemistry, that the somewhat lacking plot didn't bother me too much after the first part of this book.

So I settled on four stars for this. The beginning I didn't quite connect with, but then I really got into it, into these two and enjoyed this the rest of the way. A fun start to a new Hayes series.

So I definitely recommend, definitely think this is a worth a read. If nothing else for an entertaining romance with some hot and sexy sex scenes :D
Profile Image for Ed Davis.
2,314 reviews68 followers
June 17, 2022
This book just made me happy. I enjoyed it immensely. It took awhile to warm to Topher, but I grew to love him. I was afraid at first he was going to be this bumbling nerd, but once he relaxed around Simon he was this incredibly sexy nerd. Simon was just the perfect character and I loved him from the beginning. There’s nothing unique about this story except that I thought it was extremely well written. This is a book you read when you just want to feel good.

Reread June 2022. I still loved this book. It made me feel just as happy the second time.
Profile Image for W.
1,433 reviews130 followers
May 22, 2021
Audiobook reviewed through Audible on May 21, 2021

Loved reading it, yet listening was even better

Overall : 5 stars
Performance  : 5 stars
Story :5 stars

Alexander Cendese narration of Following the Rules was outstanding.

His smooth, sexy , engaging voice kept me enthralled and entertained while listening to this sweet, steamy , fun romance story.

I enjoyed listening to this feel good story. It gave me joy and helped me relax .

Yes , I recommend it .
Yes , I will be re-listening it.
Yes, it's worth the credit.

Original Ebook reviewed through KU on May 7 , 2021

I so enjoyed reading this romantic, feel good , funny , sweet , steamy story; with likeable , well rounded characters who communicate well , don't create useless drama and angst.

Following the Rules is the perfect example of why I began reading and still reading and love reading romance stories.
Profile Image for ellie.
661 reviews1,478 followers
September 28, 2021

Simon and Topher were cute, but all of the non-sexual moments and developments between them weren’t shown. we were literally given a brief list of all the things they did:

“Like watching TV with our feet entwined, random trips to the market, making dinner together, or stargazing on the deck after midnight.”

that sounds cute and all... but id like to see it lmao. their development relied way too heavily on sex and it was frustrating bcos i could see the potential. they had a few little soft moments together (like the day spent with Topher’s grandma) and id get a glimpse of what could have been an awesome romance. but being TOLD things constantly instead of shown was just boring.

i liked Simon a lot tho. he was kinda goofy, playful and a lil arrogant in an endearing way. it was Topher i struggled with, especially with his whole jock obsession... kinda weird tbh.
Profile Image for Miriah.
673 reviews20 followers
July 1, 2022
DNF 37% - one of the MCs just called himself alpha, being serious, and in no way can I support that type of grossness by continuing on.
Profile Image for suz.
500 reviews24 followers
May 7, 2021
I absolutely adored this! Lane Hayes has written a fun, sexy story that made me smile! I loved the nerd and jock vibe and how Topher would spout scientific facts when he was nervous. Simon was so sweet and I loved how he was so open to discovering his attraction to Topher.

This is a low angst read and I cannot wait to read more in this series!!!!

ARC provided by author in exchange for review
Profile Image for ~✿ Tala✿~ .
164 reviews36 followers
May 10, 2021
This book has me conflicted because Lane Hayes is one of my all-time favourite authors but this book was just not up to par in many ways. The first 20 minutes of this book were so confusing to me, I stopped at 15% because I was like what is happening?!!! I almost gave up but my faith and love for Lane Hayes' writing made me power through. Even now the whole Script Club/Academic assistant premise doesn't make sense to me (and I realize its purpose is probably to connect each book in the series) but I kept thinking was this a club? A business? and why was Topher the only one involved 😂🤨??

Another niggle was that a lot of the romance happened off-page, we got a few sex scenes and them starting to catch feelings in the beginning to a time jump of them where they apparently spent weeks doing domesticated things and practically dating! I liked the progression but would have loved witnessing it even more!!

Once I got past all that and ignored the illogical aspects, I did really love the romance between Topher and Simon. I loved that Simon didn't have a big internalized homophobia freakout and was accepting of his sexuality when he realized his feelings and ultimately decided to make sacrifices to keep Topher. This was not my fave read but I love Lane Hayes so I will read the next one.

Profile Image for Ky.
505 reviews60 followers
May 28, 2021
* 4 stars *

I enjoyed the start of this new series. A group of super smart guys, who are roommates and friends, decide to form the Script Club, which is just a way to call themselves, nothing formal.

Topher wasn't what I was expecting, he was full of surprises. I liked him a lot, he was funny, kind of awkward at times and very confident at others.

Simon is at a crossroads in his life, he's waiting for a phone-call that will determine whether his football career is over. And while he's waiting, he puts in motion his plan B, just in case. So he goes back to school to earn a degree.

Being away from studying for so long makes it difficult for him so he decides to hire a tutor. That tutor is Topher, who needs the money and is Simon's brother's friend.

I liked the chemistry between Topher and Simon and I liked the pace and the progression of their relationship.

This whole book was fun to read, light hearted and hopeful. I look forward to the rest of the books!

~ I read an ARC of this book. ~
Profile Image for DTM.
1,176 reviews5 followers
May 8, 2021
I truly feel like I have won the lottery with the amazing books I have read lately!! Lane Hayes’ Following The Rules (The Script Club #1/KU) is no exception. Let me start off by saying this book was unexpectedly SMOKING HOT! LOL This first book in her new series ticks all of my boxes!! Topher, the shy, quirky, adorable genius who has a difficult time controlling his penchant for jocks and Simon, the sweet, straight?, professional football player and Topher’s best friend’s brother, these guys had me in stitches, sweating like a hooker in church and swooning. I loved every single word, and as always, the banter and dialogue are TOP NOTCH! A low angst read with ALL THE FEELS, Topher and Simon take a bit of an unconventional approach to a friends with benefits relationship, which is smoking hot by the way (did I mention that already 😏) which organically develops in to so much more than either of them expected. The way in which these 2 very different men deal with the shift in their relationship is so enchanting. They are surrounded by a wonderful group of secondary characters whom I can not wait to get to know better. The premise of this series has me wanting more ASAP; a group of genius best friends whose goal is to experience life outside of their bubble while trying not to be too awkward at the same time. LOL.
Profile Image for Erica Chilson.
Author 36 books432 followers
May 14, 2021
Possible/probable DNF. I am a fan of the author.

The struggle is real...

The opener.

I have zero idea how many ppl are currently having the convo at the coffee house. So many names dropped. So many personality traits described & connecting relationships. 2, 3, 4, 5? More?

Heck, even name-dropping shows, books, films, ren fairs, conventions. College majors. Thesis subjects. Rock stars. Sporting events. Hook ups. Rehashing past events the reader knows zero about.

Geez Louise.

Pure chaos.

It comes off as a laundry list, where I need to take notes. Allow it to flow organically where the narrator allows the reader to catch their breath before adding a dozen characters on page 1.

I get frustrated when hit with too much info out of the gate, when I don't even know the narrator yet. Too much, too soon. I don't need that inane info yet. I need the who/what/where/how/why to fall into the story first, & the entire novel is to reveal it. Don't need a synopsis on page one of the narrator's entire history & stats, added with every person he knows. It's confusing af.

May skim all of ...this... and allow the story to fill in the blanks. I need a break first. Frustrated.

Also. Trying too freaking hard to sell the reader on the fact they are geeks. Stereotypical, as if ppl don't enjoy more than one type of thing. Dump a bunch of geek things in a hat, pick a few, then dump ' em all out & use ' em all.

Also. Geek isn't synonymous with genius, nor does it equate being socially awkward. You can love Lord of the Rings & not wear chunky glasses or be uncoordinated enough to poke your eye out with a straw when taking a sip. Nor does it automatically give you intellectual status. It's not a zero sum game.

Profile Image for ML.
1,130 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2021
All the stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Simon and Topher were epically hot and sweet in this Jock/Nerd romance!

Simon was adrift and was a bit at a crossroads in his life... Topher was too,in a way. Sometimes timing is everything. Their timing was perfectly in tune with one another. It was sexy AF to read.

The sexy texts... the bold moves.. all led to such a swoony love story. I LOVED both characters SO much. There was so much heart and I loved every word!

I know I’m going to love this new series already. Is it time for George’s book yet??
Profile Image for Kirsten.
1,089 reviews44 followers
July 23, 2021
Jock/Nerd, blah, blah, blah.
Sex is fun! Let's have more and
Then catch all the feels.
Profile Image for Shannon.
2,330 reviews166 followers
January 16, 2023
1/2023 Audiobook Review
When I originally read this in 2021 I gave it 5*. This go 'round, while I still really enjoyed it, I'm going with 4*.
I love Alexander Cendese. I would pretty much listen to anything he narrates. Yes, his female voices aren't the greatest, but he makes up for it with his male voices for sure.

2021 Original Review
Adorable! That pretty much sums up Topher and Simon and their story.
Following the Rules is such a cute best friend's brother/opposites attract love story. It's a quick, easy, fun read, a new favorite from Lane Hayes!
Sometimes all I want is a feel-good, light on the angst and drama, escape from the real world for a few hours type read and that's exactly what I got with Following the Rules.
Topher is so darling with his lack of filter and word vomit. He had his rules but they didn't stand a chance when it came to Simon.
Although Simon wanted nothing more than to return to the football field, he realized it wasn't the end-all/be-all goal for him. I liked seeing him work through his feelings when it came to football, his future, and Topher.
I really loved how these 2 played off each other. They had great chemistry and a wonderful emotional connection. They were sweet and sexy and I just adored them!
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