Maybe I can’t stop the downpour, but I will always, always join you for a walk in the rain. —Albert Camus
Every day for the past year, Markus Simmons has watched the gorgeous Clinton Stewart come into the coffee shop where Markus works. The men have smiled and flirted and chatted a bit, and Markus is totally smitten, but it takes a long time for him to work up the nerve to ask Clint out. Especially when it is clear that the shy history geek is hiding something. But Markus has a huge crush on Clint and finally the men go out on their date, soon falling hard for one another. But Clint’s secret is not the only thing complicating things for the men. When hate crimes on campus hit close to home, Clint and Markus must gather strength from each other to make it through the difficult times.
Oh, this is such a sweet romantic story, I really loved it. Markus and Clint are so wonderfully mushy in love. These guys have been pining away for each other for a year, and when they finally get up the nerve to get together, they are head over heels pretty fast. They are both such sweet, good guys that you can’t help but love them and root for them. Clint is more shy and reserved, dealing with a lot of baggage in the form of his homophobic family. He has been through hell dealing with the fallout from his parents’ rejection, yet he remains so strong and determined, never giving up his goals and making things work no matter how bad it gets. And Markus is just a total sweetheart, a guy who just wants to take care of other people. His nurturing instincts kick in when Clint is around and all he wants to do is make sure his boyfriend is loved and supported. The story is a bit over the top mushy at times, but I really liked the sweetness between these two guys and I had no trouble believing their feelings or behavior. These two face some rough times, but they are always deeply committed to one another.
Despite the sweetness, this is also a super sexy book. Clint and Markus are crazy hot together and the book balances the sweet romantic side with some hot and sexy stuff, which I really liked. I also appreciated that these guys are an interracial couple, which is rare in romance, and that it is so seamlessly integrated into the story.
Leone does a great job showing the relationships these guys have and how they impact their lives. I loved Markus’ best friend and roommate Jesse, along with his boyfriend Peter. They are a great opposites attract pair, with Jesse the enormous jock and Peter his more conservative Brit boyfriend. Again, these guys may be a bit too good to be true, but I loved how much they cared for Markus and immediately take Clint into their home and their hearts when he needs them. Leone has indicated their story is to come (yeah!), along with their friend Tyson’s (double yeah!). I also loved the way we see how Markus is so shaped by his family. His mother is a doctor and his father is a pastor, and it is clear he has learned a lot about building a relationship and caring for others from them. I like how they provide not just a contrast to Clint’s parents, but also a clear example of how Markus became the man he is.
I really only had a few small quibbles with this one. The story slowed down a bit for me at about the 3/4 mark, but then picked back up at the end. I also had a few nitpicky things that bugged me where I had to suspend my disbelief a bit. For example, I never quite figured out how Clint was feeding himself after being kicked out by his parents. It is clear this guy is destitute, but he also obviously has some money because he is buying coffee every day. I wish it was just mentioned where this money came from, especially since we are told he doesn’t have a job. Which also felt a bit off, as we are told he applied for work but his parents badmouthed him when called for references. Do potential employers really track down your parent’s phone number and call them for a reference? Especially a college senior applying for part-time work around school? Don’t want to spoil things so the next part is tagged…
I also had some issues related to the trial. I couldn’t believe that the police would allow Markus in the room, holding Clint’s hand, when he viewed the line up, because Markus was there earlier that night when the guys started causing trouble. He is a potential witness to the crime and would certainly recognize the guys himself. Not to mention that he would probably have been testifying at the trial for the same reason since he could verify Clint’s claim that these guys had been harassing them all night.
So nothing major here and not much that really impacts the story, but little things like this catch my attention.
Overall though I really loved this one and I am SO excited to follow along with the rest of this series. Downpour was sweet and romantic and sexy and a perfect book to curl up with on a cold day when you want something to warm your heart.
P.S. In case you missed it, Leone was here last week with an excerpt from Downpour so be sure to check it out.
Cover Review: Oh yes, this one is yummy. These guys perfectly capture Markus and Clint and the coffee ties in exactly with the story.