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Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad’s dubious advice and rush Prescott College’s biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.
Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon’s not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies.
Mark and Deacon’s affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn’t know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That’s something they’ll have to figure out on their own—if the friction between their houses, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.
Something is seriously wrong with me. Like, I need to have my head and heart checked. It’s not that I didn’t like Mark Cooper versus America; I did. It’s just…there were entire parts of the book I’d like to have deleted and other parts where I was smiling so much my cheeks hurt.
Let me explain.
Though he’s trying super hard to *not* be likeable, Mark is so funny and awkward that you’d be crazy not to love him. He’s this young, smart-assed Aussie who’d really rather be back home on the other side of the world. Instead, he’s stuck in Pennsylvania and pledging a fraternity, of all things.
Enter sexy, brainy Deacon. Deacon’s a little older and a member of Mark’s rival frat, but he still manages to take Mark under his wing and help diffuse some of Mark’s bitterness and get him acclimated to life in the States.
I loved Mark and Deacon together so, so much! They were hilarious, and they had sizzling chemistry and played off each other in such fun ways. What I liked the most was being present as their sexy time relationship unfolded. They discovered some scorching hot things they each liked in the bedroom, and their exploration felt natural and original. Honestly, they had one kink in particular I’d never really seen written the way it was, and I LOVED it!
But outside of their relationship, I was completely beaten down by the frat stuff. Some of Mark’s “brothers” were jerks and did some really crazy (and illegal) things to Mark and the other pledges. It annoyed me that Mark refused to just walk away; I wanted him to speak up, to stand up for one guy in particular who had been mistreated.
Both Mark and Deacon had interesting things going on in within their respective family stories. Mark was struggling to find his place with a new stepdad, and Deacon’s mom suffered from OCD and his brother was stationed in Afghanistan. I think if those things had been a larger part of the story and the frat stuff had been toned down, I would have rated this one a lot higher.
That said, Mark Cooper versus America was a nice collaboration, and I’d love to read more from Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock!