Title: The Second Door
Author: T.C. Blue
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link The Second Door
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 178 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary Review: A delightful friends to lovers romance.
When Mitch’s relationship with his boyfriend implodes on Christmas Eve, it’s up to his best friend, Sam, to comfort him. It’s not like Sam has a choice. He cares deeply for Mitch. He even refrains from saying “I told you so.”
That one night of chaste comfort is all it takes to start Sam thinking about Mitch in ways he really shouldn’t. A spontaneous kiss that should have helped sort things out just makes everything more complicated, because Sam is terrified sex will ruin their friendship. Mitch is afraid that pushing Sam for more will drive a wedge between them, but he’s even more afraid of never trying for happiness with Sam at all.
Sam and Mitch have been friends ever since Sam moved into Mitch’s apartment block. Over that time they have grown close and have helped each other through some difficult times. Sam has been in love with Mitch for a while now, but has always set it aside, knowing that he’s not Mitch’s type, but things come to a head after Sam comforts Mitch through a bad break up. When it seems that they may be on the verge of a relationship, Sam panics because he doesn’t want to lose the best friend he ever had.
I was really in the mood for this book which turned out to be a pleasant and engaging friends to lovers romance. The characters of Sam and Mitch are very much ‘nice guys’ as such there wasn’t anything particularly unique or unusual about them, and they came across as a little bland at times. That doesn’t mean to say I couldn’t sympathise with their situation. I did. I like a good friends to lovers romance and one of my bug bears is when authors don’t take the time to show the catalyst for the change in feeling. There must be something which initiates the change from a person seeing someone as just as friend to desire and love for them. In the case of this book I thought that TC Blue had done a good job in showing how Sam’s contained love for Mitch suddenly deepens into much more, and how that then begins to affect how Mitch views Sam.
Once things are sort of out in the open the story then goes backwards and forwards as the two friends fight their attraction whilst trying to be sensible about it. This could have been a little annoying but the balance was right between the good reasons for them not entering a relationship and their growing feelings for each other. TC Blue always has an engaging narrative style and this was the case here too. We get lots of opportunity to be in the heads of both characters and to learn what each other is thinking and as such I felt happy with the way the story progresses. There’s also a light humourous touch to the story in the writing which meant that it didn’t get bogged down in the heavier themes but still handled them in a sensitive fashion.
One aspect I felt was handled well was the way that past experience affects the present actions of the men. Sam’s abusive ex may never feature bodily in the story but his spectre hangs over Sam, dictating his actions and making him wary of commitment, especially if that commitment means he’s possibly losing a best friend in the future. Mitch has been hurt in the past too, but he uses that as a springboard to go after what he wants and I liked the way he manipulated the circumstances in order to get his own way.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The characters may not have been wholly unique but there was enough about them to make them sympathetic. The pace was measured but not too slow and the writing good. I would recommend The Second Door to those looking for a nice romance between two great guys.