Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Billionaire Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Homophobia Hurt/comfort lawyer m/m May/December May/December Mid level angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Scorching/high heat Virgin

Step by Step by K.C. Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/step-by-step-by-kc-wells-8277-b

Blurb

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review

The idea behind this story is so, so lovely. Kind of like Cinderella, meets Annie – rags to riches, paying it forward – really sweet and a great idea. Parts of this absolutely succeeded and really warmed my heart. Unfortunately, there were just other parts that I absolutely could not see past that colored my enjoyment of the rest of the story.

The good news is, there are several really lovely reviews out there – and I’ve enjoyed many other of KC Well’s stories – so while this wasn’t for me, it might be for others.

My first obstacle was the initial offer. Jamie is upset (see spoiler for why this bothers me so much) and Guy overhears his phone call to his father and offers to buy him coffee. It’s a public place so, sure, why not? They have a great conversation and then Guy makes his offer: live with me, I’ll pay for your schooling, you don’t have to do anything, I’m just repaying my karma because someone helped me.

Without much deliberation – Jamie trusts Guy’s eyes and his own gut- he agrees to the proposal. This made me very uncomfortable. Guy does suggest that Jamie text a friend where he’s going, and to that end I guess it’s as safe as any random hook up, except this was so much more than a hook up. But… that plot niggle could be overcome, and I swallowed my disbelief and kept reading, because – really – I loved the idea of this story so much.

Though a lot of things happen in ways that seem “too good to be true” – that didn’t bother me. Fiction is fiction for a reason. What I didn’t like was the way Guy and Jamie’s relationship developed. From the mandatory “I walk around naked in the house” to the hot tub, parties, gay movies, gay bars… everything felt like Guy was “converting” Jamie. It wasn’t overt – I mean, Guy never claimed to be trying to convert Jamie, but he did seem pretty heavy handed with his plans and never seemed to actually honor Jamie’s belief that he was straight.

One of the reasons I don’t like BDSM is because the power exchange in those stories always feels unbalanced. I like it when partners are partners. I like May/December stories a lot, and one of the obstacles they usually have to overcome is this power issue. I don’t ever feel like Jamie was an equal – maybe at the very end? – and that bothered me. Guy seems to call all the shots and Jamie doesn’t ever feel like an actual person. Besides worrying about his finances I didn’t feel like I got to know much about him as a person – the story was so heavily influenced by Guy’s presence. Guy’s family issues preclude any information about Jamie’s (Jamie’s family all but disappears) – Guy’s friends are more prominent than Jamie’s – with one exception – and Guy’s past romance is all we hear about – we get next to nothing about any of Jamie’s past – crushes, kisses, sex – very little is said about Jamie’s past.

So… while I thought Guy and Jamie were really sweet together, I didn’t care for how Jamie was portrayed. He felt very flat and unrealistic. Guy was a much better character and I wish Jamie had been given more structure to balance him out.

This wasn’t a bad story – not at all – but it wasn’t my favorite by this author and I’d recommend this only cautiously – read a few reviews first.

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher For Honest Review

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