Title: Acceptable Behavior (Marked Men, #1)
Author: Jenna Byrnes
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Genre(s): M/M Romance; Contemporary
Page Count: 179 pages
Reviewed by: Alissa
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Tattoos don’t define a person’s character, or make him sexy. But, if you ask Sam Madison, they sure don’t hurt.
Dr. Travis Nelson has a passion for ink but keeps his many tattoos covered by long sleeves and trousers. He’s aware that as a pediatrician he’ll be judged not only by the other physicians in his practice, but also by the parents of his young patients.
When Sam Madison takes his young nephew, Levi, to be seen for an ear infection, he’s immediately attracted to Travis and the feeling is mutual. But Sam’s sister Melanie is going through a rough time and caring for Levi, and covering her obligations, keeps Sam occupied. He feels like he’s in no position to start a relationship.
Travis sees things differently, though he’s unable to truly understand the deep bond and connection Sam shares with his twin. As Melanie’s life goes from bad to worse, Sam is forced to make difficult decisions. Is protecting Levi enough of a reason for the two men to stay together, or will fighting for the child ultimately tear them apart?
I would be remiss in not giving a shout out to that ridiculously gorgeous cover. Well done.
Acceptable Behavior started out promising enough. A gorgeous pediatrician who hides his 100 plus tattoos behind long sleeves and lab coats. A beautiful young free lance writer who is taking care of his sister and nephew. The two meet when Levi has an ear infection and his Uncle Sammy takes him to see Dr. Travis. They are drawn to one another immediately but Samuel lies to Travis about being interested because he feels like he has nothing to give in a relationship. But the doctor is quite tenacious and the two along with Levi begin seeing each other. And I enjoyed these early moments.
But somewhere along the way I felt the storyline was heading off the rails like a runaway train. The two characters who I gravitated toward in the beginning became two entirely different people. Travis became a bossy control freak … manipulating events and people to get his way. Samuel became a pushover not only with Travis but his sister as well. And poor Levi … who I adored throughout the entire story was caught in the middle. He just wanted attention and love.
So much happened … I felt like drama was being invented to keep the story going. To make it fit so the author could get to the ending they wanted and not just letting it flow naturally. Just when I thought it was a good place to end the story … there were several more chapters to go. I will admit I was happy to see this family get their HEA but it just seemed a bit over the top in how it got there.
What bothered me most in the whole story were the sex scenes. Now there was some honest to goodness hot loving here but again I was pulled away by the excessive need to talk during these scenes. And I just don’t mean dirty talk which there was quite a bit of. And I, who normally am down with the dirty talk, cringed with some of the things these two said to one another. I won’t quote verbatim but when see I words like “stud”, “beast”, “bunking bronco”, “tasty” used during sex, I tend to squirm. It was just too much. But if these words don’t bother you, you will be a very happy camper indeed.
I believe Acceptable Behavior … and I think the title is referring to what’s “acceptable behavior” for a pediatrician, an uncle who is taking care of his nephew, a person trying to help someone they love during a difficult time or what it means to care for someone you want to be with for the rest of your life, could have been so much more. I’m not sure the characters ever made it there. While I enjoyed parts, there were just too many distractions for me to love it.