Noah and Charlie grew up in the same neighborhood. They’d always been friends, though never close. When Charlie is left alone after the death of his family, however, Noah is the only friend that sticks around after Charlie practically becomes a hermit.
Determined to get through to Charlie, Noah invents a fake identity on the computer to talk with him. And while Charlie still keeps Noah at arm’s length, he opens up to his new computer buddy. Finally, Noah’s dream comes true when his friendship with Charlie changes to include sex, but each time they are together, Charlie pulls away afterward. Every time Noah tries to get through to him, Charlie grows even more distant.
Then Charlie tells Noah’s disguised Internet persona that he doesn’t have a boyfriend, merely a neighbor with whom he has sex. Crushed, and in order to protect himself from further heartache, Noah begins to live a life separate from Charlie. But Charlie realizes soon enough that he misses Noah in his life, that he must get past his grief and go after the man he has come to love.
But is it already too late?
Noah was hopelessly in love with his friend Charlie. They had known each other since they were kids but when Charlie’s parents died 2 years ago he had changed from the outgoing person that Noah had always known and had become almost a recluse. Since his parents had left him well off he didn’t need to work and he had withdrawn more and more, losing all of his other friends in the process.
Recently Noah and Charlie started to have sex with each other but it was just that, sex, and Noah was becoming more and more frustrated that he couldn’t reach Charlie emotionally so he invented an Internet user id Sly Cat, a gamer, and talked to Charlie online. As Charlie became closer to Sly Cat he retreated more and more from Noah except to have sex. Noah was going to let it ride, until Charlie made disparaging comments about him to Sly Cat and he realized that he needed to sever their ties or he would get hurt in the long term.
When Charlie saw that he was losing Noah in addition to everyone else, he knew he had to make major changes in his life if he wanted to to get him back. What I couldn’t tell is whether he wanted Noah back because he loved him or because he was his only friend left.
While reading this book I didn’t feel that the characters in Pulling Away were close emotionally even though Noah was in love with Charlie and they had been friends for a long time. There didn’t seem to be a connection between them and Charlie was detached from everyone other than his online friend Sly Cat so it was difficult to get a sense of who he was. I did understand his depression after his parents’ death and his need to come to terms with the way it happened, but his personality didn’t appeal to me. Noah’s character was more fully developed and his motivations were clearer to me.
The plot worked fine as I do understand that in any romantic story there must be conflicts (I welcome them) and the characters have to work them out, and the sex is an integral part of the relationship. What I didn’t find in this story were any sparks between the main protagonists and that affected my enjoyment. As I say all the time, this is only one person’s opinion and other readers may be able to relate better to Noah and Charlie.
Pulling Away would be of interest to readers of the genre