The Swap


Title: The Swap
Author: Devon Rhodes
Publisher: Dpeamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella 19k words (80 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Tj

Summary Review: A fun and sexy story about friendship turing into love.

The Blurb:

When layoffs hit Jim LaRue’s company, his first concern isn’t for his own job, it’s for his friend and co-worker, Tommy Graves. Tommy’s coming off a bad year, finally made better by the purchase of a new house. Losing his job would mean losing the house, however, and his newfound lease on life. Jim can’t let that happen to the man he’s secretly come to love, so he proposes a swap to his boss—forfeit his own job to save Tommy’s.

Now suddenly out of work, Jim reluctantly accepts a job helping Tommy remodel his house. Having the work is great, but it also chafes Jim’s pride to be employed by his friend, and creates one of several obstacles in their budding romance.

Can Jim and Tommy get past their differences and finally make this swap work in their favor?

The Review:

Jim and Tommy are friends and coworkers at at a financially troubled company with pending layoffs. When his childhood friend and boss, Keith tells Jim that the staff cuts will include Tommy, Jim is very troubled. Tommy is coming off a killer year, with a nasty divorce that wiped him out both financially and emotionally, his recent recovery marked by the purchase of a house. Jim can’t stomach the thought of Tommy going back in to his funk again, so he forces Keith to lay him off instead. Upon finding out about Jim’s layoff and unaware of the swap, Tommy offers Jim the General Contractor job on the remodeling project at his new home.

This is a well written short story with a clever plot populated by fun and realistic characters. Jim has had a crush on his friend and coworker Tommy for some time. He believes Tommy to be straight since he was, until recently, married, and purportedly quite the stud. Meanwhile Tommy had thought that he was straight until he met Jim at work. Then those darn uncomfortable feelings started that foretold the end to his marriage.

Although a fairly short story, The Swap has a nice pace to it and doesn’t feel rushed. This is partly because when we pick up the story, Jim and Tommy are already good friends and both have been feeling an attraction for the other, that was never acted upon. Secondly, Tommy has been divorced for some time and acknowledges that attraction to Jim since the day that they met. There are also a couple of secondary characters that are more than just window dressing, such as Jim’s friend/boss Keith. I really felt his pain during the layoffs, especially with Jim forcing his own layoff.

Overall if you’re looking for a sweet and sexy romance you should definitely give The Swap a try.

12 comments

  • Hey Tj, I’m so glad you enjoyed The Swap. It was one of those books whose characters came to me so strongly, it practically was like taking dictation. 🙂 Thanks for the nice review! Dev

    • Hi Devon,
      The Swap really was a great book. I was very impressed with how nicely developed the characters felt. This is quite an accomplishment for only 80 pages. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  • The blurb intrigued me, TJ, but your review just added this book to my growing TBR list. Thanks, I think. *g*

    The one thing that jumped out at me is this: if Tommy is having such a financially and emotionally devastating year, how/why is he remodeling his home? Is that bit explained, or will it drive me crazy through the whole book?

    • Buda- I know what you mean about that growing TBR pile. I’ve given up hope if ever getting through them all!

      Good question about Tommy’s finances. I understood it that some time had passed and he had saved up enough to purchase somewhat of a handyman’s special (fixer upper) and that Tommy planned to do most of the work himself, with Jim’s help of course. The General Contractor job seemed like a way for Tommy to help Jim out. The way it’s explained should satisfy you.

      • Ah. Thanks, TJ. Your explanation alone helped quell the niggle.

        I didn’t realize the book is so short. I’ll definitely be able to squeeze it in soon. Yay!

  • HI, TJ! I enjoyed this one, too. I thought the author did such a good job with weaving in all these realistic sources of tension to come between the two guys: their pride, the secrets kept, the fact that one ends up working for the other, etc. A really well written novella. 🙂

    • Hi Val,
      I’m so glad that you commented. I always like to know what others who’ve read a book thought of it. Everything that you mention really made this book stand out for me. It just all came together so nicely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Val.

  • That review sold me. I love a good friends falling in love book, plus its short, and it doesn’t sound overly angsty , so it fits the reading mood I’m in right now perfectly. I am really looking forward to reading it.

  • TJ
    What a well done review! Whenever I read your reviews I keep forgetting how new you are to giving your opinions on books in writing.

    You make me want to read The Swap by the way you describe the relationship between the guys, and also the fact that the secondary characters were realistically drawn, which is always a plus in these stories. I haven’t read anything by Devon Rhodes and this would be a good place to start.

    Thanks TJ.

    • Thank you Wave, that’s really nice to hear. Maybe it’s that by my age I’ve read thousands of books! I was very pleasantly surprised at how good The Swap was, especially with only 80 pages. I will definitely be watching for other books by Devon Rhodes.

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