Step by Step (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Author: Step by Step
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 256
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

20-year-old Jamie is a struggling college student with three jobs, no money, facing eviction and has plans to become a brilliant lawyer. The day he meets 38-yr-old hot bear Guy Bass in the library is truly his lucky day because Guy is a wealthy philanthropist who offers to “pay it forward” by paying for Jamie’s law school. “I’d like to help you out, the way Stephen helped me. Whatever you need, Jamie: a place to live, financial aid so you can concentrate on your studies instead of burning the candle at both ends, a mentor, I suppose.”

There’s a lot to like about this story. We get both Jamie and Guy’s POV and the opportunity to watch their relationship slowly develop. Jamie is straight, and had “long since decided [sex] wasn’t all it was cracked up to be” so he’s truly perplexed that overhearing Guy and a hookup having hot headboard-banging sex is the hottest thing he’s ever heard. Jamie slowly comes to terms with his sexuality and Guy is more than willing to abide by Jamie’s pace. There are no angsty misunderstandings – they communicate about anything and everything, and the age difference really isn’t a factor. And when they finally have sex, oh, hell it’s hot and definitely worth the wait.

But, on the other hand, there are several things about this book that gave me pause.

Given Guy’s history of bad relationships with straight guys (Derek and Shane), having Jamie live with him seemed … odd. Guy has a party full of older men who could potentially help Jamie’s career in the future, yet many of Guy’s friends automatically think Jamie is *wink wink nudge nudge* a convenient hot piece of ass given that he is living with Guy. Guy could have easily gotten Jamie an apartment and still helped him achieve his career goals. In addition, Jamie’s parents seem to be used only as a plot device (their crazy divorce uses up most of Jamie’s college funds) and after the first chapter or so, they basically disappear. We don’t get their reaction to Jamie coming out or any reaction to his life with Guy, per the epilogue. Finally, Guy’s family is very one-dimensional – lazy son, crazy ex-wife.

I give Step by Step 3.5 stars and will place it on my “Everyone Else LOVED This Book Except For Me” shelf!

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Galley copy of Step by Step provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

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