4 stars Angst Level Billionaire College/University Contemporary DA Friends to lovers Gay Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Track Virgin

Behind Closed Doors by Diana McKinley


Throughout high school, Benjamin Alcott had a single goal in mind – to escape a home environment that was anything but loving and supportive. With determination and perseverance, Ben has risen to the top of his class, both academically and athletically. And with careful planning, he has secured scholarships which ensure he has a real chance to see through his goal of becoming a doctor. But beyond that dream, Benjamin also wants a place where he can live freely and openly as the young gay man he is without shame, persecution, or fear.

Cord Robinson also has a dream which he has held close to his heart for years, while he patiently waited for Benjamin to grow up and leave home – for Ben to be his. Cord has already gone through the steps of coming to terms with his sexuality and then coming out to his family and friends. And now that college is over for him and his best friend Branden, who is also Benjamin’s brother, Cord is ready to let Ben know that he is interested in a real future with the beautiful young man.

But as Ben prepares for his graduation, the violence at home reaches a breaking point and he flees. When Cord realizes what has been going on behind the Alcott’s doors, it’s a race against time for him to find Ben and then open his heart to the one other man he wants to build a life and solid foundation with as Benjamin prepares to finally spread his wings and fly.

CONTENT WARNING: Explicit Sex, References to Childhood Physical Abuse (No Sexual Abuse)


This story takes off from the night Benjamin gets beat up by his father for the worst and last time. He runs to his neighbors for protection and there he begins to build his new chosen family.

Cord is the best friend of Ben’s brother – he’s 4 years older and has been pining for Ben for years. Ben has also been crushing on Cord but doesn’t think there’s anything there between them. Ben’s brother is a straight guy so Ben assumes Cord is as well.

Ben’s brother has been avoiding going home and Ben for years because of his father, but he’s ended up hurting Ben in the process.

The bulk of the story is moving Ben up to New Hampshire for College where he has an athletic and academic scholarships and a desire to research cancer.


This reads like the most elaborate Cinderella story ever. The poor abused Ben finds a new family who drops everything – literally – to move with him out of state to be his support structure. Ben’s brother sees the light and moves with them as well. Cord, newly graduated and – by the way – super rich – not only moves them all but buys them a new – huge! – house so they can all live there and gives the brother a job!

Not only is Ben super smart but he’s also an Olympic candidate for running – but has been underdeveloped thanks to dear old dad.

So… on the one hand this is a story full of preposterous actions – BUT – man it was fun! Everything was totally over the top and super sappy and sweet and I just loved it!

It’s very, very long and most of it could be edited out (what I strongly recommend is a good editor!) but it’s full of tender moments and triumphs for the under dog and loads and loads of feels.

4 of 5 stars


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