Title: Meet me in the Middle (Distance Between Us #3)
Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Men in Uniform
Length: Novel/217 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review Summary: A romance that took 20 years to make it but was well worth it in the end.
Fool me three times…
Dale Ramsey is looking forward to his twenty-year high school reunion except for one small problem. Adam O’Connor, his old friend—and old flame.
Twice before, Adam has disappeared from Dale’s life. Once after a graduation night fling, and again after a hot reunion years later. When Adam resurfaces this time, single and on the verge of retiring from the Navy, Dale wonders if he’ll want to mend fences…and maybe tear up some sheets.
The spark between them is alive and well, but Dale resists. After all, Adam only seems to come around when his life is in flux, and Dale is through being a placeholder until something better comes along. He wants his friend back, but not if he’ll be deserted a third time.
Inevitably, though, their attempts to rekindle their friendship wind up igniting something much hotter, and stirring up emotions too strong to ignore. Making Dale wonder if he should put his heart on the line…or if this time he should be the one to walk away.
The Distance Between Us Series
Meet Me in the Middle is the third book in this series after The Distance Between Us and The Closer you Get, but it can be read as a standalone as the author gives readers enough of Dale’s backstory. Obviously you will get the maximum flavour of the all characters and what brought them to where they are in present day if you read the previous books.
As indicated in the blurb, Dale had been dumped by his old flame Adam a couple times in the past. Okay, I could maybe understand the first time after high school graduation as Adam had enlisted and was waiting out the three weeks before boot camp, but it was never clear why he wouldn’t have at least communicated with his best friend Dale before he left, after they had sex. When they met at their 10 year high school reunion Adam made promises to Dale after another night of hot sex, but again he broke Dale’s heart.
Dale was sick of being screwed over by the man he loved and he was conflicted about whether he should attend the 20 year high school reunion because it was quite likely that Adam would be there. but after talking it over with his friend Rhett he decided to go, even knowing that Adam might show up. The attraction was just as strong for both of them as it was 20 years ago, but Dale wasn’t sure he should risk his heart again when Adam didn’t seem to know his own mind.
When they met 10 years ago Adam told Dale he was married but was separated from his wife and they were getting a divorce. This was of course only part of the story. Dale thought that at last things were looking up for them as a couple and that he would finally get the man he had been in love with since high school, but shortly after Adam returned home he informed Dale that his wife wanted to reconcile and he was going back to her. Dale was devastated, not only at the loss of the love of his life, but also that their friendship was over.
After being so cruelly dumped twice Adam was concerned that he would not be able to resist Adam if he showed up at the reunion because he was still in love with him and didn’t want a replay of the past. Sure enough, Adam was there and, as predicted, Dale fell into the old love trap. However, Dale didn’t trust him this time, nor was he willing to risk his heart again, as Adam didn’t seem to know what he wanted and Dale didn’t want to be just another f**kbuddy whenever it was convenient for Adam.
I always had a soft spot for Dale who was the odd man out in this series, on the outside looking in at his friends’ relationships and hoping that someday he could have someone in his life who loved him. I guess it’s the human condition that we hope for the ideal partner, but I did think that Dale took this to a whole new level as I don’t know many people who would be as forgiving under these circumstances. Throughout the book it was obvious that Dale was more into Adam than the reverse; he had a history of wanting unsuitable men and he didn’t seem capable of separating the physical and emotional when it came to Adam, for whom he was always the second choice – initially the military and then his wife while he (Dale) was left behind. He seemed to be Adam’s placeholder until someone or something better came along.
Very few authors do relationships better than L.A. Witt, and although her stories are full of angst and I don’t do angst very well, her writing always wins me over and this was the case in Meet Me in the Middle as she excels in this book. At first it seemed that this was like any other book about a failed relationship 20 years in the making, but it goes well beyond that as the author tapped into the emotions of the protagonists and showed why and how people really screw up and why they get a second and even a third chance in life. Emotions make us all do silly things that defy logic and Dale was the poster boy for bad decisions, but in the end when he was ready to call it quits Adam proved that he was exactly the man for Dale by demonstrating that he was prepared to do everything in his power to make Dale believe in him. Now he was the one asking Dale to meet him in the middle. The way he showed his love took a lot of guts and a willingness to put his heart on the line.
In case you think that this book was all angst, nothing could be further from the truth as Rhett, his husband Ethan, their former playmate Keiran and his new fiancé Alex made this into an incredibly funny story as they rocked the house and showed how great friends get each other’s backs.