Bryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track, until he meets Oliver Newcastle.
For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real, with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.
From the moment they meet the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sew his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they’re hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate might have other plans.
(Book reviewed here previously)
This is definitely a stand alone book, though it is part of the series, you don’t need to read all the books or in order.
Bryan is a musician and photographer whose life got too hectic. He had a scare that forced him to reevaluate his life choices and random sex got the ax. Oliver is a suburban boy who had resigned himself to a sexless marriage. When his intended ends up marrying someone she really loves, he decides a radical break from his old life is called for. When Bryan and Oliver meet the instant attraction simmers a long time before being acted upon and in the mean time a deep relationship based on friendship emerges.
What I loved about this book was the lovely slow burn romance, the wonderful characters, Oliver’s funny and sweet blog posts, the scorching hot smexy times, and the well crafted love story. Karen Stivali is an excellent writer and her writing flows so smoothly that the story just evolves effortlessly. I think her writing just keeps improving with each new story!
I think the way the author showed us the motivation behind Bryan’s decision was excellent – though I would have loved to see more follow up – maybe a future book? Using the blog as an entrée into Oliver’s life was also a fantastic tool and a great way for us to interact with him and his thoughts.
One thing I enjoy about Karen’s writing is the secondary characters – whether they get their own stories or not – they’re always fleshed out and feel integral to the story without overwhelming it. (We get to see Tanner and Collin, too!)
If I have any complaints about this story, it’s the predictable “we’re never going to work out so I’m leaving” before the final reunion that seems to haunt so many romances. I think these two characters were so in tune with one another and so open that it felt a little out of the blue for them to part as they did right near the end.
All in all this was one of my favorite stories from this author and I highly recommend it!
4.5 of 5 stars
The narrator PC is new to me. I listened to the sample and I thought it was OK, so while I wasn’t overwhelmed by the sample, I thought it was good enough to try.
Well… after listening to the book, I can say that PC does an okay job overall. His non-dialog is rather flat and he doesn’t do much to differentiate the characters. This is a pretty emotional book and it felt a bit uninspired to me. It was a fine way to listen to the book if you can’t read it, but I can’t say it added a lot.
3 of 5 stars
3.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review