Summary Review: In a word – delightful.
Ryan’s relationship-phobic, preferring to live his life from one anonymous hook-up to the next. He never remembers a name, and he never goes back for more. But then he meets Jayden, the one-off who won’t get out of his head, his life — or, indeed, his bed. Ryan remains in a denial, however; he has no place in his life for emotion or feelings, despite how much difficulty he finds in keeping away from the gorgeous, confident Jayden.
It’s not until Jayden gets a boyfriend, bringing their non-relationship to a sudden end, that Ryan thinks he might have been feeling something all along. Feeling a lot, actually, but it’s too late. Jayden’s happy with his new man, and Ryan shouldn’t want to get in the way of that — but he’s selfish, and he’s had an epiphany, and maybe the only way to get Jayden back is to reveal more of himself than he knows how to handle. But is it enough for Jayden to take a risk on a man who, by his own admission, has no idea how to love?
Let me start at the beginning:
Ryan wasn‘t planning on going out. He‘s had a rough week, too much work and not enough sleep, and this is his first night off since his last night off, which was spent wasted in some nobody‘s bed. He needs the downtime. It‘s been a while, though. Almost a week. His protests only last as long as it takes for his dick to order him out the door.
And just like that, with nothing more than Frankie‘s lazy, whiskey-rough drawl, Ryan‘s world and, everything he believes in, spins over and dumps him on his ass.
Resistance is told in the present tense, third person, which I usually hate, and every time I encounter it I do a double take because I find it very confusing. Definitely not the case here because it works.
Ryan has every personality flaw that could put you off romance. As it says in the blurb, he never has sex more than once with anyone and there are no sleepovers, but when he meets Jayden, the man who would take over his life, that rule and any other that governs his life is passe. He has rules for everything (which Jayden ignores) and one he never breaks, ever, is he doesn’t kiss his random one-offs on the mouth, except Jayden doesn’t know this and on their first encounter Jayden’s tongue is in his mouth before Ryan realizes it. Ryan only meant to have sex with Jayden the one time and send him on his way, but it doesn’t quite work out as planned as they have sex several times that first night and it is so unbelievably hot it not only scorches but makes the pages burst into flames as the guys get off in grand style. The only problem for Ryan is that Jayden decides he is going to stay over and leave when he’s good and ready, and somehow Ryan can’t find the energy or determination to shove him out the door, which should have been his first clue that Jayden was different from his other hook-ups.
This push and pull non-relationship continues throughout the book as the characters’ evolve, and the ‘pursued’ (Ryan) becomes the pursuer, to his everlasting dismay. Ryan is drawn more and more into Jayden’s web when he realizes that Jayden will only take so much crap from him without pushing back, and that he actually likes him more than he wants to admit. He doesn’t know how to deal with feelings or emotions, which he thinks are unhealthy and non productive. He can’t help who he is and he runs true to form whenever he panics about getting in too deep. His only solution to his dilemma is to have sex with yet another nameless, faceless, man even though he knows he’s only screwing himself as he no longer gets his rocks off with anyone but Jayden. It’s a matter of principle.
There are many occasions in the book when Jayden texts Ryan as he’s having sex with someone else, and their conversations are amusing as Ryan is trying to get off while texting Jayden back. He never hides what he’s doing and thinks nothing of it and it’s only when Jayden finds a new man who can give him what he wants that Ryan realizes what he’s lost. But even then Ryan’s past drives his responses to this new challenge and it’s a race to see how much he can screw up the smallest chance of a reconciliation, as he seems to have a death wish. Jayden is definitely not a pushover and he plays hardball to get what he wants, but what he wants and what he needs are conflicting objectives, and he, too, has choices to make.
What I most like about this story is that the author makes no excuses for Ryan and gives him enough rope to hang himself. He has to prove that he can change 180 degrees in order for Jayden to take him back, all the while his struggles with his past, which are quite revealing and compelling, play out in the background.
Resistance is exactly the type of book I love – wonderful dialogue and prose, great characterizations, a plot that works well, and despite the theme, the angst is kept to a manageable level so that it doesn’t overwhelm the story. This storyline of a relationship-phobic man has been used a lot lately, but in most of the books I don’t think it’s as well executed as in Resistance. There’s so much to like about the book and I laughed so many times that I lost count, but to balance the many funny moments there were a few not so happy ones. Both protagonists are complex and they have complicated pasts that made them the conflicted adults they became. The secondary characters were also well drawn and actually had something to contribute to the story and not just window dressing. There is a female character that you will love, Ryan’s roommate Olivia, a former street person and now exotic dancer or stripper, who was really sweet but tough and considered it her job to get Ryan and Jayden on the road to matrimony, much to Ryan’s disgust.
If you don’t like to read stories where one of the protagonists has random sex with strangers while trying to figure out his relationship with the man he is starting to care about you won’t like Resistance, because Ryan plays out his crushing fears and his past, and at times panic overwhelms him as he considers what it would mean if he were to enter into a relationship with Jayden, assuming that Jayden still wants him. At first I didn’t like him and the only reason I thought the character had potential and was redeemable was because of his unconditional love for Olivia and the way he protects her, which showed a completely different side to his personality. She humanized him but didn’t let him get away with anything! The other character who loves him, but again not unconditionally, is Frankie with whom he has been friends for years, and their relationship shows yet another side to Ryan’s incredibly flawed personality. I was impressed that the author didn’t give Ryan a pass because he had so many emotional problems in his life, and he had to decide whether staying in his comfort zone with no hurt, but also no highs, was worth a life without Jayden which was a real possibility if he didn’t change.
Apart from all the emotion that plays out in the book there is so much humour that it would take me too many words to describe even a few of the scenes. I’ll only say that Resistance is one of the funniest books that I have read recently, the dialogue is fresh, the one-offs and double entendres are endless and I’m definitely on a mission to find other books by L.M. Turner, an author I had never heard of before. Highly recommended.