I LOVED this book! I had two thoughts when I finished this one, one very silly, the other not so silly! My first thought was “I laughed… I cried… it moved me!” Ha, name that quote! All joking aside, my second thought was, “I have to get my hands on this author’s other books!”
At first, I wasn’t sure that I liked Steve, he’s kind of grating when you first meet him. He seems to be so angry at the world and defensive about his place in it. Almost as if he’s not sure he’s where he belongs but isn’t sure how to get to that ideal place. But once his anger started to make a bit more sense, as a defense mechanism, and he started acting “human” I quickly fell for his strength and wit. As a man who had never once entertained the thought of attraction to another man, he was actually quite matter-of-fact about his attraction and eventual deep feelings for Mark. Accepting that he had feelings for a man wasn't an easy thing to do but once he did, that was that! There’s something so very appealing about a man who knows his mind, and Steve was so very appealing as to be mouthwatering!
Mark on the other hand is a man conflicted. His whole life, it seems, he’s been defending his sexuality and he’s finally at a point in his life where he will be able to put all those naysayers in their place. He’s about to marry a beautiful woman, his career is going well, he has everything he could ever want. Then why does he feel as if something is missing? Mark is completely blind-sided by his attraction to Steve. His first interactions with Steve are actually quite comical as he is a terrible flirt and quite provocative in his behavior, knowing that it pushes Steve’s buttons. But, when Steve angrily turns the tables he finds it’s not as much fun to be on the other side of the innuendoes.
When he realizes how very right it feels in Steve’s arms, he is so utterly conflicted that I felt his pain. How can he hurt his fiancé by calling off a wedding that has been in the works for over a year? How could he possibly bring himself to hurt someone who has meant so much to him? Then there’s his best friend Jack who has been in love with him for years. How could he explain to his best friend that he had feelings for a man… they just weren’t for Jack?
As I read this book a quote came to my mind that I felt was so perfectly illustrated here by G. A. Hauser: “You can’t help who you love. You’re not supposed to!” Sometimes love comes from a direction that is least expected and may not be welcome. But love is a gift that should be savored and treasured and Mark and Steve’s journey to this final realization was one that I actually felt a bit privileged to be along for. The struggle of these two men as they grapple with their emergent sexuality was sometimes heartwrenching and at moments I felt my own stomach clench at their anguish.
This book had so much to recommend it. There was drama and conflict and love and hot love scenes. Add in a few moments of levity, especially a case of shameless self-promotion by Hauser as Steve contemplates purchasing a book in a bookstore that brought a chuckle when I realized it for what it was, and it's a perfect combination to hold your interest. This was a fabulous love story with strong erotic elements, period. The fact that it was between two men only added to the overall feeling I got as I read. G. A. Hauser will definitely be added to my favorite author list.