For years, Clayton Potter’s been friends and workout partners with Ronnie. Though Clay is attracted, he’s never come on to Ronnie because, let’s face it, Ronnie only dates women.
When Clay’s father suffers a heart attack, Ronnie, having recently lost his dad, springs into action, driving Clay to the hospital over a hundred miles away. To stay close to Clay’s father, the men share a hotel room near the hospital, but after an emotional day, one thing leads to another, and straight-as-an-arrow Ronnie make a proposal that knocks Clay’s socks off! Just a little something to take the edge off.
Clay responds in a way he’s never considered. After an amazing night together, Clay expects Ronnie to ignore what happened between them and go back to his old life. Ronnie surprises him and seems interested in additional exploration. Though they’re friends, Clay suddenly finds it hard to accept the new Ronnie and suspects that Ronnie will return to his old ways. Maybe they both have a thing or two to learn.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
200 e-book pages
February 27-28, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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I do love a good friends to lovers story. I also love a good crush requited story.
But, I’m perched on the fence of judgment and frustration with my feelings for this book. It’s taken forever to piece my thoughts together into some semblance of a review.
Soooooo….bear with my ramblings, if you will.
Overall, the characters fell just a tad flat for me and lacked quite a bit of depth beyond figuring out a relationship, so it was increasingly difficult for me to jump on board rooting for them.
I did like Clay, for the most part. Dude’s awesome at the dirty talk and has a mile-wide dominant streak that was hot as hell. And he’s mostly well-grounded with the best dad ever. All good stuff–except for the impatience and doubt in his BFF.
Ronnie, admittedly, is a nearly forty-year-old frat-boy hound dog, flash-n-dash skirt-chaser who’s never really had to grow up and has no experience with meaningful relationships of depth. But, in a moment of whateverthefuckthatwas, he has his first man-on-man sexual encounter with his best friend.
The first sexual encounter happens relatively early on in the book, but I could never fully grasp how it came to pass in a way for me to believe it was the start of anything real or organic–and not gratuitous or emotionally harmful. It came across as a dare…and I didn’t like that much.
The story is told entirely from Clay’s point of view. From his crush on his straight best friend, to when STUFF begins happening–at likely the worst possible time of a family crisis, on through a lot of doubt about what it all means and what Ronnie will be able to give–if he’ll ever come to terms with being bisexual.
And, I think it’s that last part that’s got me most at odds. There’s SO much doubt from Clay’s point of view as to Ronnie’s ability to forego women to be in a relationship with a man. What if he changes his mind? What if he can never fully commit? What if, what if, what if…
I’m not saying a person can’t be worried about the mindset of the person with whom they’re involved. We all do this to the degree of do they like me as much as I like them? Am I making more of this attraction than it is? What if someone else comes along who’s more interesting, better looking, funnier, smarter, more attractive in all the ways? These doubts are human nature.
I guess I can’t wrap my head around getting so worked up over worrying so intensely about a bisexual person’s ability to commit. Just thinking that gets me a bit angry. Putting it into words has made me really tense. We love who we love. And when we love someone enough to commit to an intimate relationship with them, and for them to commit to us, we have to give them the respect, faith, and trust we deserve in return. And it takes dedication and communication from both partners to move forward through life together.
So I got pretty fed up with Clay and all his early doubts and how that leeched out into how he treated his best friend with demands for unwavering reassurance that he’d never want another woman. Come on! The guy just realized something huge about himself and might just need a minute to put things into perspective. A good BFF would be a patient, safe sounding board and have his friend’s back while he comes to these new realizations while reshaping his path in life.
I did like seeing a deeper level of intimacy develop between them and Ronnie’s realization that Clay’s presence calms his racing ADHD mind. Unfortunately, Ronnie’s not used to talking about feelings and doesn’t have a lot of experience being a partner in a healthy relationship. And this is what left Clay so out of sorts.
There’s also the fact that the whole time I thought Ronnie was a bad bet. Not because of sexuality…but because he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t think beyond the next party or good time. Whose track record of relationships don’t delve deeper than the superficial. I’m sure he’s a blast to hang out with. But long term? Ummm nope. Not for someone ready to settle into picture-perfect domesticity. Also, because he only thinks to serve pretzels and candy at a party. Dude–get off your fat wallet and hire a caterer.
All the doubts and immaturity got kind of old and tiresome.
The writing itself was perfectly fine and engaging. Just the emotional aspects and characterizations had me in fits because I don’t think these guys were very good at being friends–let alone having the tools and solid foundations to forge a healthy romantic or believable partnership.
So, there ya go. This ended up being a tense reading experience for me with red flags blasting into the sky like flares. I want my MCs to fit like puzzle pieces, smooth each other’s jagged edges, and know to my bones they belong together. Unfortunately, these two together didn’t quite work for me.
This review also posted on GoodReads.