The Backup Boyfriend (Admin’s Review)

the backup boyfriendTitle: The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles – Book 1)
Author: River Jaymes
Cover Artist: The Killion Group
Publisher: self published
Amazon: Buy Link The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel/69K words/225 pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

five star + DIK read 2

Review Summary:
A heartwarming, moving story with two MCs who overcame personal demons and hangups to fall in love and stay together.

The Blurb

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn’t have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex’s company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec’s new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.
Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.
And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

But he’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real…

The Review

If you like books with a wounded hero who refuses to accept his bisexuality even though he is having mind blowing sex with a man and loving it, and his partner in crime who grows incredibly throughout the book from a serious geek who knew nothing about love although he thought he did but really just wanted to be part of a couple, you will adore this book. The Backup Boyfriend is so much more than a romance – the characters are wonderfully crafted and flawed, the dialogue is fresh and crisp, the prose is funny and sometimes poignant with so much depth and warmth that I couldn’t put this book down when it ended and started reading it again immediately after as I didn’t want to leave the characters.

Alec Johnson and Tyler Hall are both doctors who worked and lived together until Tyler suddenly dumped Alec 2 years into their relationship just as he was planning a wedding after Prop 8 in California was overturned. Getting married was not in Tyler’s plans; he found their life together and the marriage plans suffocating. Less than 2 months later he’s sporting a new boyfriend, which devastated Alec who still believes he loves Tyler.

Alec was so upset at the breakup he decided to buy an old Harley-Davidson motorbike on a whim, against the advice of an expert, and he got into trouble immediately when it refused to start and he had to visit said expert and garage owner, Dylan Booth, to ask for help as he knew nothing about bikes other than theory. He was a walking encyclopedia and if you love motorcycles his research and statistics will astound and  😀 Because he felt sorry for him and also he owed their mutual close friend Noah who had referred Alec to him, Dylan offered to teach him about the bike. One afternoon when Dylan was at Alec’s place Tyler showed up to move the rest of his stuff, accompanied by his new boyfriend. Alec was visibly upset and Dylan felt surprisingly protective, even though they didn’t know each other well. Dylan hated how devastated Alec looked so he pretended he was his new boyfriend and that they were having wild, kick-ass sex, which got them in a whole lot of trouble as events moved faster than they anticipated.

Dylan’s background was tough as he had lived on the streets for years since he was fifteen because of an abusive father who was also a drunk and he had to survive the same way most homeless teens did, until he met Rick Adams another teen who also lived on the streets. They became best friends and this is when his protective instincts kicked in as Rick was very vulnerable and needed him in order to survive. There was no romance between them, although it was obvious that Dylan felt more for Rick than friendship, but he denied it because then he would have had to admit that he wasn’t entirely straight. Long story short, despite his efforts Rick died of HIV five years ago and every year since then Dylan held a fundraiser in his memory.

Alec was emotionally fragile and although his relationship with Tyler hadn’t been exciting it was comfortable, but he really wanted to be with someone who loved him as much as he loved them. I got the feeling that his mother was more into the marriage than he was, because although she accepted the fact that he was gay it was obvious she wanted him to have the white picket fence and 2.5 children which would signify to her that he was “normal” – her version of the perfect gay male and therefore more “acceptable”. Now he no longer wanted to just settle for someone, despite his mother trying to get him to make up with Tyler. He knew he deserved better but was Dylan the man to give him what he wanted?

Dylan was a lot more complicated than Alec and I really “got” him when I saw how different his apartment was (sparse, hardly lived in, with “start-up” second hand furniture) compared to his garage where he obviously poured out his heart and soul. He had no idea how to live in an apartment – all he knew was living on the streets. His mother had abandoned him to a father who was a drunk and a bully and he lived by the philosophy that everyone leaves and “gone is gone;” even Rick had left him and in the process left a huge hole in his heart. He didn’t over-think anything. He only did one night stands, didn’t believe in PDAs, was brash, bold and cocky but he wanted Alec badly and the fact that he was sleeping with a man for more than a couple nights in a row didn’t seem to bother him. He didn’t know the meaning of the word “commitment” but his rough edges appealed to Alec. Could they move beyond the sex, these two men, one from a privileged background with the best education and countless letters after his name, and the street tough, smart-ass who had so many hangups and refused to show his vulnerable side? Dylan didn’t believe in labels so he wasn’t going to examine his sexuality too closely because then he might have to admit he was bi. Opening up to Alec was the toughest thing he had ever done but I wondered how their relationship could ever be more than something fleeting and an experiment for Dylan.

These characters were intricately drawn, cleverly layered, and just when I thought I knew them, a new and unexpected aspect of their personalities would emerge making them even more nuanced. I really love River James’s writing and her characters, even Tyler who turned out not to be the callous jerk I initially believed he was. But Alec surprised me when he showed his mettle and took charge of bad boy Dylan in a Da Vinci inspired filthy sex scene in the garage that was so hot the pages were probably on fire. Alec showed Dylan who was “the man” and that scene blew my socks off because the sex was explosive and mind blowing, and even if Dylan didn’t want to have feelings for Alec he was falling off a cliff into no man’s land while Alec was screwing with his mind. This scene has to be experienced to be believed and I’ll never think of axle grease the same way again. 😀

I thought that the author wrote a thoughtful, creative story with pathos and two MCs who couldn’t have been more different and complex. The story was packed with emotion but wasn’t draining as there was a lot of humour throughout, with Noah providing some of it but Alec and Dylan were no slouches.

The MCs and all of the supporting characters were three dimensional and I really liked Noah, despite his personality which made me want to slap him,  🙂 because he was Dylan’s and Alex’s friend and conscience.

If you like complex stories that make you feel the heroes’ hurt, love and rage, this book should be on your “to buy” list. The Backup Boyfriend will be on my Top Ten Books this year – it’s that good.

Highly recommended.

The Boyfriend Chronicles Series



  • This sounds like a fun story, I like a “tough guy” helping out a novice 🙂 …I’m also like the others where I wish stories were offered many places as opposed to 1 place (like Amazon)…either way I plan to buy…Thanks for reviewing!

    • Hi rdfafan7

      You are one of our most loyal visitors and I will miss you. Your comments are always on point and you let us know when you think we’re wrong. 😆 I’ll miss that too.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this book but be sure to let me know either way. 🙂

  • I agree with everything Wave said. It’s so nice to have the tried and try trope “pretend boyfriends” be turned on its head. I adored this book and cannot wait for the sequel. As a reviewer, you don’t find many books that surprise you, but this one did for me. Easily in my Top Ten Reads of this year.

  • Thank you for the wonderful review. Now I definitely will purchase the book. I’m going to miss your site and all the reviews. It is good to hear that you will be continuing writing reviews on Amazon. Will it be under the name “Wave”? Thank you.

  • There is a Kindle App for the desktop which works – I know, because I have used it on occasion when my Kindle was charging. Here’s the link:

    The installation instructions are quite simple. I know it’s not the same as having the file in your format of choice but at least you’re able to read it on your laptop or desktop. Hope this helps.

  • Sorry I missed this yesterday and I’m kicking myself because I want to harass everyone to read this book.. Or else… Don’t know what the or else would be to be honest but I adored this and I want everyone else to do too! Lol! <3 😀 😎

        • Hi Laura

          It is my understanding that if a self published author uses Amazon Digital Services to publish her books she has to give Amazon exclusive rights to the distribution for a certain period of time, which means Kindle format only. If I’m incorrect I’m sure River will clarify or correct me.

        • Sorry to be late answering, Issa, but I was away from my computer and I’m not good enough on my phone to try longer answers : ) My fingers would have fallen off LOL. Yes, Wave is right. My husband and I decided to start out with Amazon because they made the whole process quite simple. At the end of the first three months we will be allowed to put it up in at other places. .

          Thanks for asking,


  • Thanks for the review, Wave! And, yes, Alec totally owned Dylan in that scene in the garage lol. I had so much fun writing Alec and Dylan’s story. I’m pleased you found it worthy of your time : )

    • Yeah! Well! That scene was truly memorable. I must have read it at least 5 times and I very rarely read sex scenes in M/M romances because they are b-o-r-i-n-g. 😮 🙁 You are bad girl. 😀

      As I’m sure you figured, I absolutely loved the book and my favourite character was Dylan. I love that man. Can’t wait for Tyler’s story to see him get his ass kicked even though I no longer hate him but he has to pay a little for what he did to Alec. Vicious aren’t I 😆

  • I bought this book because I liked Brad’s Bachelor Party so much. I wasn’t disappointed. I will probably read anything Ms Jaymes writes as long as it doesn’t involve the occult. I wanted to slap just about everyone in this story at one time or another. It was soooo good! I would like to know more about Noah, though Tyler and Memphis should be interesting too. Good review, Wave.

    • Hi Deedles

      As you could tell I loved the book, which is an understatement. I also loved and reviewed Brad’s Bachelor Party and I’m very happy you loved both of them. 🙂

      What are you going to do when the site is no longer here and you can save tons of $? 😕

      • It’s too late for me to save money. I have too many favorite authors now mostly because of this site. It will be harder for me to find new authors but the ones that I do like are very prolific,drat the luck! As I said before though, I’m gonna really miss you guys.


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I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports - especially baseball
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