This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on June 16, 2015
Truly this is a short story into the lives of two heroes who loved, lost and now found each other again. It didn’t feel like it really had an ending as much as a happy for the moment, not even happy for the near future. Powerful and exciting, I really wanted more of Hunter’s and Devon’s story when the last page was read.
A love lost. Yep that about sums it up. Well not really. Hunter’s a normal, straight guy who loves women, but on the other side he is also a Senator’s son trying to walk a fine line of independence and shackles. He goes off to college for freedom on a baseball scholarship and joins a fraternity where there is one lone gay guy in it as well. Deciding to jump outside of the confines his father puts on him, he decides to room with the gay guy, Devon, and they quickly become best friends.
Now Devon has had a hard life once he came out to his family. His sister is the only one who still accepts him. Why did he even think about joining a fraternity. His roommate is cool with it so he just goes along using men outside of the college or masturbating. Devon needs to make it through college on a tight budget and move on with is life. Even is sister has hit it big as a singer.
When a college prank throws these two together, it is eye opening and natural to see where they take it. Confused, Hunter ends up in an accident where his father puts an end to their blooming romance. Now Hunter is a star baseball player about to marry the virgin beauty-queen when she sends him off to ask Devon to be his best man.
All the old feelings get brought up and these two hash a few things before the story ends and everything is lala great.
That’s where it kind of fell apart for me. I know this was a short story to explain who these two are as they show up in the next full length book. But hey, after years apart, Hunter admitting he is bi-sexual and Devon obviously going through tough times, I just felt like there was too abrupt of an end that resolved none of the issues these two had. So I am expected to pick up the next book and just say, “Hey, it’s Hunter and Devon!” I wanted more. The story was so tastefully written and I wanted to see really how Hunter would feel coming out. How would Devon forgive him? How could these two move forward with so many changes coming to their lives if they stayed together? It was just mind boggling to have it end. Up until that point, I was all over this book. Yep, I loved it to the very end, then boom. Over.
So go into this with open eyes that it truly is a short story to introduce characters and how they got together. It is well written, and probably very true to the fact of learning you like the same sex.
I pretty much have this series on ‘must grab’ by now and this novella was no exception. It was a second chance ‘in the nick of time right before the altar’ type of affair told in present and flashbacks that had me vested for that reason alone from the get-go.
The placing of the story in the series confused me until I got to the author’s note at the end explaining the connection. Thank goodness, she did explain because I was racking my brains trying to figure out with whom these guys were connected to in the earlier books. And, it turns out that this is a prequel to the next story in the series, Call On Me. One of the heroes is the brother to the heroine of the next book. Curiosity satisfied! And because of that, I would say that this one can be read out of order or as a standalone just fine.
The story begins with Hunter on the verge of getting married. He’s a champion baseball pitcher. He comes from a wealthy and powerful political family. His fiancée was a former beauty queen and meets with his family’s approval. He’s got it all going for him and he seems to be living the dream. And yet his life feels empty and he feels trapped as his wedding draws near.
His fiancée likes to test him and play games to make sure he’s still toeing the line and her latest test involves sending him to have a reunion of sorts with his former best friend from college and get him to be Hunter’s best man. Little does she knows or anyone for that matter, but Devon was so much more than Hunter’s best friend.
Devon can’t believe who walks into his restaurant one Monday night. Hunter broke his heart and cut him off years ago, he’s getting married and living the family-pleasing life he wanted, and yet now he sits there looking as lost as ever. Devon doesn’t know what to make of this, but anger and hurt war inside him.
Hunter and Devon share flashbacks to those happy times when they were college roommates and best friends, the awkward and confusing time as Hunter learned that he was bi and the heartbreaking moments of the end of their brief time. And then there’s the present with its complications and knowledge that the old spark is still there.
This one was short and moved along quickly. It spends as much time in the past as the present. I enjoyed getting what came before and really felt for both these guys. Their situation wasn’t easy.
I thought the handling of their early relationship was done well. Devon has been open and out about being gay all along and he is very experienced and confident sexually. Devon refused to do relationships and Hunter knew that just as Devon knew that Hunter wasn’t ready for more than experimenting at this point. Hunter was experienced with girls, but being attracted with a guy made him practically a virgin. He was overwhelmed by the ramifications with family expectation, no independent income, star athlete, etc and they were both fearful of losing their friendship if things went up in smoke.
One point, I want to make is that even though Hunter was engaged at the beginning. There was no cheating in this story. Truthfully, the way that gal toyed with him and played her testing his loyalty and fidelity games made me surprised that he stuck with her as long as he did.
I really hated for the story to finish. In fact, it ended abruptly leaving questions that I hope get answered in the next book.
This was an emotional, sensual Coming of Age and Second Chance all rolled into one. I would recommend it to those who enjoy M/M Contemporary Romance and New Adult.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #215