Ex Equals


Title: Ex Equals 
Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: 39,000 words
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A guest review by Lasha

Summary Review: Excellent story that rings true as two former lovers try and make their way back to each other.

 

THE BLURB

On the first day of his new career as a community college math teacher, Chris Reuben gets an unexpected—and most unwelcome—blast from the past: one of his students is his former navy shipmate…and ex-boyfriend.

Justin Hayes isn’t after a second chance when he signs up for an algebra class taught by his ex. All he wants besides a passing grade is a chance to make amends with the man he loved and hurt while they were deployed together three years ago.

Pain, guilt, and bitterness aren’t the only lingering feelings, though, and even if three years is enough to melt the ice between them, they’ve already risked their careers for each other once. Can Justin convince Chris that what they once had is worth putting careers and hearts on the line again?

THE REVIEW

Ex Equals is a wonderful story of Chris Reuben and Justin Hayes, ex-lovers and shipmates who were driven apart by the military’s DADT rules and Justin’s ego. L.A. Witt takes a very likeable character, Chris, and pairs him with a sometimes unsympathetic partner in Justin. Through flashbacks the reader learns of their passionate and very secret love affair when they were in the Navy together. Even though they’ve since broken up and Chris left the military, while Justin stayed in, you can tell these two men are destined to be together.

What I liked most about Ex Equals was the realistic portrayal of Chris and Justin when they were in the Navy. It is obvious that Ms. Witt knows about the military, their procedures and policies and it shows in the book. As a former Navy vet myself, I found this to be a plus because I could see the details were accurate and only enhanced my enjoyment of the novel. Plus, who doesn’t love a man in (and out) of uniform?

After Justin and Chris are reunited when Justin takes a math class Chris is teaching at the local college, the sparks fly once again. However, Chris is very reluctant to even be friendly with Justin after their bitter break-up. And while I admit that I was on Team Chris more than Team Justin at first, Ms. Witt won me over to liking Justin by the end. I figure if Chris could forgive Justin for being a jerk, so could I. And the ending? Some people may think it was cheesy, but I loved it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ex Equals and moves into the top spot as my favorite L.A. Witt novel. (With the Band now moves into second place). If you like hunky men in uniform, angst and reunited lovers who remind you of Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, then this is the book for you! Recommended.

Author

I’ve been reading romance books since I was 12 and when I found m/m books a few years ago I fell madly in love with the genre. My favorites tropes are: GFY, police partners in love and May-December romances. I also adore paranormals and in my spare time away from Jessewave, I review pararmormal m/m books at my own blog. Give me a good shifter book and I’m a happy girl!

14 comments

  • I read it and liked both of them, although I suffered with Chris.
    Apart from his verbal begging for forgiveness Justin apologized in other ways: by taking the first step towards Chris, by not giving up even when Chris rejected him more than once, by coming out in front of all at the very end. For me, his remorse was very believable. 🙂

    Reply
  • I liked this book as well and Chris was of course my favourite character – I thought that Justin was a jerk and I would have pushed him off a short pier. 😀 My favourite stories so far from this author are Out of Focus, Static and With the Band 🙂 BTW Lori does know a lot about the military – her husband is stationed in Japan. They will be returning home to Seattle very shortly (if they are not already there).

    Reply
    • I liked the story too, totally agree that Justin was a jerk, it did not bother me in a sense that it provided great conflict for the story imo. Having said that, I admit to wanting a lot more begging for forgiveness from Justin than what we got. I also cringed when the comparison was made between their situations now and then (position of power they found themselves as instructor and student). To me Chris did absolutely nothing wrong and had every right to be even more offended when Justin showed up in his class. So yeah I wanted the begging, LOTS of begging. And of course no way in hell would I want to get involved with somebody like Justin, but of course I understand that brain is the last thing Chris employed when deciding the way he did. We cant help whom we love indeed, great illustration imo. I usually have A LOT of sympathy for characters who chose to stay in the closet, because to me those who do not want to be treated the way society often still treats gay people deserve every right to make that choice. But what Justin did? GRRRRRR, it is one thing to choose to stop because of fear of being exposed, but to consciously resort to cruelty? UGHH. Um, sorry for the rant, I meant it when I said I liked the book, I just had strong feelings towards Justin in case you could not tell lol. Thanks for the review Lasha.

      Reply
      • I worked with some petty officers who once they were promoted the power went to their heads. (The worst was a former enlisted guy who later become an officer). So I understood Justin a bit better, but yeah he should have begged a whole lot more. 🙂

        Thanks for the comment, Sirius.

        Reply
        • I think part of the reason I reacted so strongly to Justin is because what he subjected Chris to resonated with me in a stronger way than what author intended. Let’s put it this way, in the country where I am originally from cruelty towards young soldiers was widespread and often resulted in fatal consequences.I am sure bad things happened in american army and unfortunately may happen again, but I will speculate that it never reached the horror level which happened in soviet union/Russia/Ukraine, etc. I will even say this – I understand every parent and every eighteen year old who back home tried to avoid being drafted by any means possible. I do not begrudge them for that, because simply put you may have easily ended up coming back home dead and *not* because you died serving your country. Anyway, sorry for getting on my soap box, what I am trying to say here is when Chris remembers what happened to him after power went to Justin’s head, being ignored as authority, given worst jobs, etc, etc, I was imagining much worse things, something which I know was not in the text, but something which could have easily happened under similar circumstances in another country. Am I making sense? Just wanted to explain myself. I have no beef with Justin as a character, for me it made for an interesting read, but in order for me to be happy for both of them at the end, I would have wanted Justin on his knees and begging for forgiveness, both literaly and figuratively 🙂

          Reply

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