I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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Re-read in April 2016, because I suck and didn't review this the first time I read this book.
This was really good, y'all. It made me feel. Which, if you think about it, is really why we read, amirite? We want romances, we want to see people falling in love, and we want to get hit by the feels.
There's plenty of feels in this book - mine ranged from happy sighs to giggles to squinty-eyed annoyance.
The main characters are Blake, who's in his late 20s and brother to Bianca, his twin, and Ryan, best friends since they were in diapers with Matt (who's dating Bianca).
Blake is an interesting character - he's often aloof and comes across as a bit snotty, especially when he's meeting new people who don't exactly fit his idea of how they should be. I also spotted that Blake seems to use his snottiness as a defense mechanism, which alluded to some pain in his past, possibly with an ex. Still, that doesn't quite excuse how he treats Ryan for most of this book.
Then we meet Ryan, who's in his mid-30s, and who can't seem to keep his mouth closed when he should - the stuff that he said early on had me giggling. He seems rather happy-go-lucky, and not interested in a relationship that extends beyond the night. But he also came across as fiercely loyal to Matt, and wanting his friend to be happy. I didn't sense any real jealousy from Ryan, when it becomes clear that Matt and Bianca are getting super serious, just some wistful undertones of maybe, possibly, wanting that sort of thing for himself.
Matt instructs Ryan to stay away from Blake, and not do what he usually does, and Bianca lets Blake know that she'd like for him to get along with Matt, and to try to be friendly with Ryan.
The first meeting between Blake and Ryan goes fabulously bad, what with Ryan unable to keep the connection going between his brain and his mouth, and Blake being utterly put off by the rude yet gorgeous man who's Matt's best friend. There's a spark that may either lead to a fire or an explosion. And explode, they do, right in Ryan's bed.
Ultimately, the two come to an agreement, because the sex is phenomenal - they'll be FWB, with some ground rules.
I was riveted!
What I loved is that we see the entire relationship between Blake and Ryan develop and grow, from the early amazing sexy times, to the slow-burn romance, and ultimately - well, read this for yourself.
The author did a fantastic job of developing the characters, even the supporting cast with Blake's sister, sister-in-law, and the rest of his family. Their dynamics were interesting, and I especially loved the close relationship between Blake and his sister-in-law, whom he talks to often, when he needs advice. I also thought that it was cleverly done when the author showcased the slow disconnect between Blake and Bianca - from super-close twins who share a duplex to Bianca's shifting loyalties to Matt, as she should, that, while not causing a rift between them, did require them to adjust to the changes their relationship was going through.
I almost misjudged Ryan, to be honest, at first - he didn't seem serious about much of anything, other than his friendship with Matt - but then I was ultimately seriously impressed with him. Watching his character go from enjoying the sort-of-enemies-with-benefits arrangement he makes with Blake, to slowly seeing Blake in a very different light, to realizing that he's finally, for the first time in his adult life, in love - well, that was something to behold.
There was a time in this book, around 75% or so, where I was super annoyed with them both; Blake because he kept treating Ryan like nothing more than a fuckbuddy and was such an oblivious cretin, and Ryan, because he was taking so damn long to get the words out he needed to say. I kept wishing that they. would. just. fucking. TALK. to each other. At this point, I was checking the ages of the characters again, to make sure that we were dealing with people who should have left immature teenagedom long behind. Their emotional maturity was severely underdeveloped for their biological age, and it was at this time in the story that their constant misunderstandings and miscommunications started to seriously wear on me. The "does he love me, does he want me" was tiring, OMG!
Still, I pushed through and was rewarded with a powerful resolution to their differences, and a super sweet epilogue.
There were some side characters, such as Rafe, a little twink Ryan whom meets during a trip to Vancouver, takes to his room, but then cannot do the deed, and who appears again later in the book. I think he should get a story of his own. I liked him. Young, but smart, and, honestly, emotionally much more mature than Ryan and Blake combined.
So, this ends up around 3.75 stars, which I rounded up to 4. Be ready for some slow romance development with some super hot sexy times, and a relationship that is volatile and nearly crashes and burns, but ultimately leads both men to what they never knew they always wanted.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher many moons ago. A positive review was not promised in return. **