Author: Cara Dee
Release Date: October 19, 2017
Page Count: 299
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“I guess I always figured coming out was something you did for friends and family, and maybe it is, but it’s personal too, you know? The person I was last night is new. I wanna get to know him.”
I had two things on my list when I arrived in Los Angeles. One, track down Henry Bennington, the uncle and guardian of my little brother’s best friend, and tell him to get his ass back to Washington. He needed to do something about his nephew, who was turning into a douchebag. And two, figure out just how non-straight I was. For the past two years, I’d had all these fantasies, and now was the time to explore them, far away from my sleepy little town.
Nowhere on this list did it say, “Get Ty’s uncle into bed and fall for him.” I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with another city either. But between brunch, making new friends, and discovering the man I was meant to be, I lost sight of the future that had once seemed pretty damn vivid. How the hell was I supposed to merge my old life and who I used to be with the new dreams Los Angeles and Henry had awakened in me?
Being out is more than just telling friends and family. It’s a feeling.
Zach was born and raised in Camassia Cove. And once he hit 18, he was raising his eight-year-old brother. Now at 27, he feels a little nudge in his brain to get his social life started. His brother’s best friend is acting more and more like a douche, and said friend has an estranged uncle in LA. Zach imagines visiting the uncle to ask for help while using LA to……experiment with the bi-curiosity that he’s never been able to do anything about until now.
Girls aren’t really attracting him anymore, but watching gay porn doesn’t turn him on, either. He wants to figure out his attraction to men. LA can definitely help him more than Camassia Cove, he thinks.
One look at Henry, Ty’s uncle, and it’s game over.
He looks how a sucker-punch feels.
This story was ripe with delicious, mild kink, age gap, and (my personal favorite) intra-relationship angst.
Cara Dee is a favorite for a reason. She writes so smoothly, and so authentically. She only ever has to use one POV, and I’m IN, I’m so invested, it’s crazy.
Zach was refreshing. I truly enjoyed being in his head. While he may be naïve about non-straight things, he was an eager learner in all ways.
However, wet behind the ears to gay and bi-culture doesn’t mean young and naïve in all things. The student turned into the master when it came to relationships. Henry is so jaded at this point in his life that Zach was the one to teach Henry how to be in a real relationship.
I can’t over-emphasize the depth that Dee went to with her character building and relationship-development. My eyes leaked twice!
Secondary characters came to life as well. Martin, Henry’s best friend, is someone I want to read about in the future.
My biggest niggle was the use of cheesy endearments like “darling” and “dear.” I was taken out of the story a little with each use, but I know that’s simply a personal preference.
It’s Zach’s voice that brings this one to life. He is so honest and real.
Forearm porn was happening as he folded up the sleeves of his button-down.
To thoughts so poignant, but in the simplest (re: not pretentious or prose-y) way to say them:
I’d only paid attention to the bolts of lighting, mainly because they’d stolen it, but there was something to be said for thunder, too. They rolled in slowly and took over the skies.
I’m settling on 4.5 stars for this gem, and highly recommend it. Bonus points for cameos of Noah and Julian from “Noah” and Cam from “Aftermath“.