Review: After Hours by Emjay Haze

AfterHoursRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Sometimes all it takes is a push. Alex Michaels is a hard working, work-a-holic manager for a respected Wall Street firm who has just been promoted. Not quite to director, but it’s still a step up with a bigger office and a bigger staff. To celebrate, his assistant, Belinda, decides to take Alex out clubbing to a popular gay club with bright, glittering young men. What catches his eyes, though, aren’t the handsome men dancing on the floor or the striking bartender. Instead, it’s the brown-eyed waiter with the irrepressible smirk.

Soon Alex is finding every excuse he can to return to the club, and always orders the drink Nick made up just for him. Nick, like so many others, is working two jobs to put himself through school (he wants to be a teacher.) But being a waiter at the club gives him a chance to flirt, to hook up, and to let off some steam. Once he realizes Alex is here to stay, Nick begins to wonder if he’s worthy of the successful Wall Street financier. All Alex wants is to help Nick follow his dreams … and maybe find one of his own, along the way.

Nick was born to a family of lawyers. Mother, father, uncles and aunts, even siblings. It was all but set in stone that Nick would join the family business, only Nick had other ideas. One, he was gay — which didn’t sit well with them — and two, he didn’t want to be a lawyer. His family cut him off more for the latter than the former, disowning him, and there hasn’t been a word between them ever since. Not that Nick allows it to bother him. His roommate likes him, his friends like him, and he likes himself. Though, while acting out, Nick did tend to go through a lot of one-night stands with partners who treated him like someone convenient. Booty calls and quickies and nothing more long-term than a week.

With Alex, though, Nick doesn’t just want a bit of fun. He wants something real. With Alex, he has the chance for an actual relationship. Suddenly, Nick feels uncomfortable about his past, but when he tries to confess it to Alex, Alex doesn’t care. He isn’t going to condemn Nick for having a life. It’s not his business and has nothing to do with what the two of them have here and now. It takes Nick some time to get that through his head, that he can be loved and accepted without strings, without judgement.

Alex has been too busy with work to put himself out onto the dating scene, but he knows he doesn’t want to just fool around. He wants a boyfriend, and he wants Nick. He spends several nights a week at the club just watching his lover, giving him generous tips and stealing kisses when he can. He also brings his ‘harem’ of girls (his assistant, some women from work, and the granddaughter of a neighbor) who love the ability to drink and dance at the club without having to worry about groping hands. After all, if it weren’t for his harem, he might not have had the courage to get Nick’s number. Besides, it’s more fun to sit at a table with friends than hog one to himself and stare at the waiter like a stalker.

This is a light, sweet story about two men in love. There’s no drama, no angst, no conflict at all. Every misunderstanding is quickly talked out, with the few almost-arguments being diffused with apologies, explanations, and maturity. Nick and Alex talk about their feelings, make certain their partner is happy, express themselves with words, and act like two adults who happen to be had over heels in love with each other. It’s pure, unadulterated adult fluff.

To be honest, I was bored by this book. Every now and then there were hints that the story might go somewhere other than the bedroom (there was a lot of time spent in the bedroom!), such as when Alex pondered culinary school, or when Dan, a work friend of Nick’s, resented the idea of Nick having a boyfriend, but every possible unpleasantness was smoothed over as characters communicated and made their feelings clear, and every possible plot thread just lay around doing nothing. It was like sitting in a car, trying to get the engine to turn over. A lot of noise, but no movement.

It’s well-written, the characters are fun, and it is nice to see a realistic portrayal of two adults falling in love. Not every story has to have demons and betrayals and love triangles, but this book feels like it was missing something. It is, however, book one in a series. I don’t know if book two will keep with Nick and Alex or move on to some of the side characters, but I’d kind of like to see what happens with Dan and Eric, the other waiters at the club.

elizabeth sig

Comments

  1. Thanks for an informative review, Elizabeth. I do like the sound of characters who actually talk things out. That boring thing though … hmm.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Boring is subjective. For me, the lack of external action — everything was internal; sex, conversations, dates — made it feel repetitive at times. It’s a decent book, but I think it would have been better either as a shorter story, tighter and more condensed, or with some vacation in scenes.

Leave a Comment

*

%d bloggers like this: