Title: Life of Bliss (Love Life #2)
Author: Erin McLellan
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: April 30, 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 211 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy with benefits.
Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.
Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.
In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.
But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.
This title has a bit of a convoluted lineage. I initially received this book from Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, for review, but understand that the author is now self-publishing the title, with a revised publication date of April 30, 2018. Also, the book was not initially identified as #2 in the Love Life series, and I suggest you read the first book in the series to get a better background on Todd and Victor.
So, anyhoo … we first meet Todd in Life on Pause as Rusty’s faithless ex. As Life of Bliss starts, Todd and Victor (Nile’s BF) find themselves on the outside of Rusty and Niles’ domestic bliss and act their parts as the respective BFFs who absolutely despise one another. Except … they have been enemies-with-sexy-benefits for about six steamy sexy months.
Todd and Victor had a thorny relationship. Victor was horribly gorgeous, sarcastic, and infuriating . . . And Todd loved hate-fucking him.
Todd has NO confidence in his relationship skills (after breaking up with Rusty, AND the guy he left Rusty for) and tells himself he’s content with what he and Victor share. For his part, “Victor’s Todd crush was the reason he didn’t have a date for his cousin’s wedding. It was hard to woo other guys when you were carrying a torch for some fickle motherfucker you only saw when you visited your best friend, who lived hours away.”
Todd agrees to go with Victor to that family wedding, loves Victor’s quirky family, much drinking ensues, and the two wake up married. So far, so good. But at this point, Victor and Todd pretty much seclude themselves from their family and friends and spend the summer living together, telling no one they are married. Todd also spend the summer agonizing over his marriage:
If this falls apart in six months, in a year, you’ll be even more alone. You’ll be completely isolated. If you allow yourself to connect with Victor’s family and friends, and then your relationship ends, it will hurt worse than it does now. It will hurt worse than it did with Rusty.
Todd’s indecisiveness over the entire summer grows weary, IMHO and the pace of the book feels very slow at times due to the sameness of Todd’s angst. Also limiting the “married by accident” trope by keeping it secret dulls some of the impact for me personally, since part of the fun is watching two unlikely mates working through their situation in front of equally parts horrified and supportive family and friends.
I really enjoy the initial set-up of the love/hate/married situation, and Victor and Todd’s chemistry is ridiculously hawt, but Todd’s unwillingness to make a decision stalled the story for me personally, as well as the secret marriage. I give Life of Bliss 3.5 stars, realizing that other readers may not feel the same!