Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 3, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
After a rough breakup, Todd Addison wants time alone to grieve. While still dreaming of winning back his ex’s love, he moves across the country and finds work with a construction company. The last thing he needs is the cute office boy developing a crush on him, especially since he’s back in the closet.
Sebastián Nye can’t help feeling sorry for the obviously brokenhearted Todd. Though rebuffed repeatedly, Sebby chisels away at Todd’s resistance, determined to help him forget—a task potentially beyond anyone’s capabilities. He never meant to fall for the poor guy, but he does. Hard.
Desperate to hold on to Todd, Sebby hatches a sneaky plot guaranteed to end Todd’s heartbreak—if Todd doesn’t bail and ruin everything. Just when things can’t get more complicated, Todd’s ex wants him back. And Sebby’s abusive ex is just waiting to catch Sebby alone. Todd and Sebby must decide what’s worth fighting for, what’s worth sacrifice, and what’s worth compromise, or their relationship will begin and end with a broken heart.
TROPES: rebound romance, workplace romance, coworkers to lovers
TAGS: contemporary, romance, queer romance, adult, sexual content, coming out, interracial romance
WARNINGS: homophobia, questionable Latinx rep, violence, alcoholism, slutshaming, ableism, fatphobia, mention of pedophilia, enbyphobia/transphobia, aphobia/acephobia, body shaming, non-consensual touching, queerphobia (re: polyamorous relationships)
Please see the publisher’s website for further tags and warnings for the rest of the novel.
DNF @ 33%
This book was a mess from start to where I finished. It started out as amusingly terribad but then there was one part that was so offensive that I immediately stopped reading, which I will touch on later.
From the beginning, the writing is average and the dialogue is absolutely cringeworthy. The “banter” between the two main characters, and with other characters, does nothing but inspire secondhand embarrassment. Todd, the narrator, tries way too hard to sound smart every time and ends up sounding like a pretentious asshole. He talks and acts like every self-proclaimed Nice Guy and I was just waiting for him to tilt a trilby at someone and call a woman “m’lady.” (He did call women “females” at one point. Yikes on a bike.) Todd and Sebby use nicknames for each other in nearly every line of dialogue, and while it might’ve been cute the first few times, it became damn annoying very quickly.
Sebby is a biracial man, whose mother was Mexican, but that biracial and Mexican rep are so very questionable. It has all the signs of a white person writing it, and even more specifically, a white person who knows nothing about Latinx people and didn’t bother to do any research other than what they see in other forms of media.
There were plenty of textual inconsistencies that were apparently missed by everyone involved in this book. The most “what the fuck” moment came when Todd was talking to his brother and sister-in-law, who were forbidding him and Sebby to take their sons out together as a couple anymore after one of the kids was witness to homophobes harassing Todd and Sebby. Todd is outraged and doesn’t see why this should be allowed just because he’s gay and the kids could be witness to hate crimes, and he asks if things would be different if he was straight and in an interracial relationship. And I’m just? YOU ARE IN AN INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIP CURRENTLY. It just made no sense. I understand what the author was going for here, but the example that is used here just doesn’t fit since it’s already a canonical thing.
Also, I was very uncomfortable with the fact that Sebby pressures Todd into having sex with two of Sebby’s friends. I am a great proponent of polyamory, but Todd is so clearly uncomfortable with the situation, so I’m at a loss as to why Sebby pushed it. I stopped reading not long after this incident, so I don’t know if this threesome, without the love interest, happens.
Finally, to discuss the scene that was so offensive I stopped reading. Sebby and Todd are talking, and Todd’s ex comes up, and Sebby asks Todd to tell him one thing that he likes about Sebby more than his ex. And, I shit you not, Todd actually says that he likes Sebby’s skin more than Vivian’s because Sebby’s is all smooth and soft where Vivian’s was scarred all over. I feel sick even thinking about this moment, and days, weeks later, I am still outraged that this exists.
I will never recommend this book to anyone.
Laurie Loft lives in Iowa, endeavoring to write stories to give you that rush. Her husband, cat, and dogs kindly tolerate this odd activity. Her first M/M novel came about because of a minor character in a straight romance who just took over and demanded his own book. Laurie enjoys NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and other forms of writerly torture. She finds inspiration in her NaNo friends and her fellow Riptide authors. When not writing or working at her mysterious day job, she can often be found screaming at tangled cross stitch threads.
Connect with Laurie:
- Twitter: @Laurie_Loft