Title: Where You Least Expect It
Author: M. Durango
Cover Art: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Where You Least Expect It
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: 51,600 words
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: An agreeable, uncomplicated, everyday OFY romance.
Blurb: Still getting over a bad breakup, ex-Army computer expert Matt Halston is a bit of a recluse with a strict routine that involves working too much, playing basketball with his best friend, and letting himself be dragged to parties when he’d rather be catching up on sleep. When he meets Christian Flannery, an out-and-proud college student, he’s immediately intrigued and finds himself going out of his way to spend time getting to know Christian.
When Christian makes it obvious that he sees Matt as more than just a friend, Matt is forced to re-examine his sexuality and take an honest look at his feelings. With unintended pressures from his friends and his own confusion, Matt has a tough time working through the challenges. While Matt faces his fears of intimacy, Christian’s facing his own issues paying for school and rent on barista wages. Can these two stubborn men find a common ground or will their obstacles prove insurmountable?
If I had to define this book further it would be as a straightforward OFY read, which follows through in some extensive detail, a growing relationship between cheerful Christian, an out gay man, with the emotionally restricted and straight Matt.
I enjoyed that there was a gradual build-up of unexpected attraction, developed primarily through coincidence and casual meetings, before finally reaching some formality of social interaction. I have to say that at the beginning of this process I was more than a little disgruntled with Matt’s lack of self knowledge and social ineptness. Though his sullen attitude to his best friend Sam’s social set ups did reinforce the believability of his interest in a man. I found Christian an easy, spontaneous and like-able character and worried that he was being used for that easy blow job by an insensitive but physically attractive Matt. However before I could take a real dislike to Matt, the author rather nicely began the careful growth of his personality and character. I really liked that it took the interest he had in Christian to force some self awareness. Matt grows into a much more balanced and caring guy.
Although it took longer than I wanted, Christian doesn’t allow Matt to take him for granted. His personality has it’s own clear definition aside from being the unexpected object of Matt’s sexual interest. Moreover any problems he has come from real life, not from heated over imaginings. He really worked for me as a well thought out character.
The ups and downs of their tentative relationship are slowly examined. I did find that things got a little dragged out but rather that than the more usual instant gratification. Although I found the writing a touch ordinary it actually suited the story. The guys do, in the most part, have real and slightly awkward conversations when things get complicated, which was quite satisfying. The emotional range never becomes extravagant. Matt’s post Army nightmares are realistically dealt with. Moreover even the whole ‘coming out’ issue develops organically; the scene with Sam worked rather well.
The background of this story is placed, while avoiding becoming bland or boring, within the normal and everyday; social meetings in car parks, coffee shops, bars and local shops. There are no larger than life characters and there is no melodrama……. and yes that was very welcome.