Frank Sinclair believes only in the visceral, the real, what he can touch and taste. After all, his mother left him when he was five years old, so how can love exist? His next sexual conquest is what makes his world go around, not romance and happily ever after. The hot guy he sees working along the highway in an orange jumpsuit fuels his bad-boy fantasies. Coincidentally, the guy shows up at the gas station across the street from his apartment building, and you can bet he’s going to take his shot.
Roy Ingalls is his bad-boy parolee in orange, and he’s ready and oh-so-willing to be Frank’s next conquest. But Roy isn’t quite the bad boy he seems—deep down he’s sweet, naïve… and the most intoxicating man Frank has ever met.
The sex is the best of their lives, but can a man who mistrusts love and another who isn’t ready to admit he’s actually gay ever move beyond friends with benefits?
I'm going to first talk about the book, the story, the two MCs, and the writing. The author's typical writing style is within the pages, and its familiarity (I have read almost all of this author's books) was soothing. I also liked the plot of two very different people meeting and finding each other, finding what they needed from each other, forging a path together that will surely lead them to their happy ever after. and experiencing personal growth. Both Frank and Roy are flawed and complex, both keep others at arm's length - Frank because of what he was taught by his father Glen (more on him soon), and Roy because of shame and fear. Because he was in jail, and because he's only recently figured out that he might be gay.
I liked Harry and Cody, and Roy's grandmother as supporting characters, who all brought something the the table, and in some instances served as catalysts to further the plot. While we don't find out a lot about Harry and Cody in this book, there are some revelations about Roy's granny that really moved the plot forward.
I loved how the romance unfolded, how Frank was blindsided by his feelings for Roy, how he tried to deny them, and how he failed. I loved how Roy began questioning his sexuality, and how his reflections of his actions in the past helped him get a clearer picture and overcome his fear. Obviously, there's angst in this book, as the two men approach the budding relationship from two very different angles, and neither is certain early on that a pursuit of the relationship is advisable or desirable. There are missteps, there is fear, there is shame, and there is anger. But ultimately, this book is about two very different men falling and being in love, perhaps for the very first time in their lives. Their path to real love was a bit rough and had a few sharp turns, but they stayed the course.
And now, let's talk about Glen, Frank's father. Massive mother bear rant ahead. You'll want to skip to the end if that sort of thing bothers you. Since it's also slighly spoilerish, some of the text from my GR review behind spoiler tags has been redacted here.
Glen made me ragey. Here we have a man who decided to do a huge fuck-you to his ex-wife, the mother of his child, and basically city-hopped with their son from age 5 until Frank had enough of the nomadic lifestyle and forged his own path in KC. Sure, Frank's life with Glen wasn't entirely horrible, and he sure got to see some awesome places, but Glen's endless womanizing and the constant moving, really screwed with Frank's sense of self, knowing his place in the world, and his views on love and finding a life partner. I was already pissed at Glen fairly early on, when I found out about the constant moving and introducing woman after woman into the life of his impressionable son and seeming to be PROUD of that shit, but when the real truth comes out
So. There you have it. Any book that can bring out such strong emotions certainly deserves to have a strong rating. I also want to make clear that while I wanted to punch Glen on more than one occasion (and I'm not a violent person at all), I also very much appreciated how the author chose to finalize things for this character's involvement in Frank's life. Justice in this case was very sweet indeed.
As always, the author's writing style is distinctive, which may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me.
I don't usually comment on covers. I'm not enamored with this one, but please don't let that turn you off giving this book a chance. What's behind the cover is worth your time.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **
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