…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Workaholic Nate Erickson is a successful real estate developer who thrives on long hours and stress. When a Los Angeles project prompts him to relocate to Santa Monica, he welcomes the change of scenery. Nate has always considered romantic entanglements trouble, but his sexy next-door neighbor isn’t easy to ignore. Which makes no sense, because Nate is straight… or so he’s always thought.
Alex Reyes is a retired professional soccer player turned West Hollywood business owner with an insatiable lust for life. He loves his family, friends, and work. But there’s one life challenge left to accomplish: coming out publicly. Respect for traditional Latino values has kept him in the closet, but Alex begins to think he and his new neighbor might help one another combat their fears. As Alex and Nate forge a strong friendship, they soon realize facing their personal demons will take more courage than either man bargained. The reward is immeasurable… if the timing is right.
Housekeeping: This is book 3 of the series. But, it’s the only one I’ve read, and it works as a standalone.
I was excited to try this book…new-to-me author and some great ratings on Goodreads. Also, set in Los Angeles, where I lived for many years. Let’s do this!
The book started off ok…I was intrigued by Nate and what drove his workaholic self. There were clearly issues there between his divorce, and his friends-with-benefits Julie, and his running away to LA to “work”. He needed something…that was obvious. What surprised him to find was that “something” came in the form of his landlord, Alex.
Nate and Alex become friends, and though the attraction is there, both of the men think Nate is straight…so no hope for romance, right? You all know the answer to this! :)
The story is hot…with a slow build…and you really get the sense that a friendship is building more than trying to push a relationship. I liked that they went running together, ate dinners together, worked out together, surfed together…we get to know the guys and there was no rush there. And when they finally do explore their feelings, it’s SUPER SEXY.
What didn’t work for me: well, disappointingly, the be-my-fake-boyfriend card was thrown in (Alex, a former professional soccer player, wanted to come ‘out’ to his dad and the public and used Nate as a boyfriend-buffer) and it felt random. Alex, a strong, self-assured character, who embraces being gay, needs a fake boyfriend? It felt out of place.
Also, I had a REAL problem with the character of Julie. Look, I don’t doubt that there are plenty of women out there pining over a male friend, especially one that they’ve hooked up with before. But Julie was a hot mess and since we’re seeing her through Nate’s POV, she was kinda pathetic.
But, what really threw me for a loop, and admittedly, this is me just being super picky about something that may just annoy me: “He kissed my shoulder playfully, then licked a seductive trail to my left tit…” I think…after reading hundreds and hundreds of m/m books…this is the first time (that I can recall), seeing the word tit in a sex scene. And I’m not quite sure why…but it just really put me off. I realize it’s such a small thing, and a totally personal opinion. I had a really hard time getting past it though!
The story itself, and the book as a whole, was ok. The slow build, friends to lovers angles worked. The sometimes repetitive writing and the little irks I detailed above didn’t. I can see why so many people really enjoyed this one. For me, it was…ok.