Title: Tech Support
Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: Novella

Rating: 3 stars

Aaron is a painfully shy 25-year-old working on a company’s tech support staff. He is nervous interacting with people, although a whiz with his computers.  As the new guy on his team, Aaron is sent to the office of Yoshiki Fukui to fix the latest in a series of broken laptops.  Aaron immediately finds himself captivated with the tall, slim, gorgeous “Ki” but he doesn’t really seem to recognize it as attraction.

After Aaron solves Ki’s computer problem, Ki asks Aaron to help him set up an electronics system at home.  Aaron is drawn to Ki and agrees to help him. The men spend over a month shopping and getting to know one another before Ki makes a move, sensing Aaron is new to relationships and sex.  The two are very hot when they finally do get together and I really loved the combination of Aaron’s sweetness and Ki’s gentle power.

I really wanted to love this book. It hits so many of my favorite things. I love shy, geeky heroes and the set up really appealed to me.  And I enjoyed the power dynamic between the men. Plus, as a fellow redhead, I love stories that feature them.  Not to mention that I really liked Mykles’ Heaven Sent series.  But there were some inconsistencies and other issues that cropped up throughout the story.  And over the last third of the book things just fell apart for me.

First off, the men didn’t appear to use condoms.  Now they never specifically say they don’t, but it never comes up in conversation.  No discussion about them, no reference to them, no telltale “crinkle of foil,” nothing.  And the first time they have sex it seems pretty clear there is no condom as it describes Ki “convulsing as wetness surrounded the hot rod inside Aaron’s body.” Ok, so maybe this is supposed to be lube? But really that is reaching.  I can’t remember the last book I read that didn’t at least DISCUSS condom use if they decided to skip them.  It just seems incredibly irresponsible and certainly not in character for either man.

I also struggled a bit with the timeline.  At one point it says it is has been two days since Ki returned from a trip, but he came back on a Wednesday and it is supposed to be Saturday.  Then later Ki says something about devoting “a full month” to Aaron when by my count it was only 3 weeks.  This may seem nitpicky, but it took me out of the story because I kept getting confused about how much time had passed.

I really liked Aaron (up until the end) and the story is told from his POV, but I had trouble really getting him.  Partly because he seems so unaware of his own feelings.  To the reader it seems clear he is attracted to Ki from the beginning, but Aaron doesn’t really realize it.  Even once they get together and have sex, I kept wanting to understand more how he was feeling. This is the first person he has ever had a relationship with, physical or otherwise.  I wanted to get a better sense of what he was thinking, how he was feeling.  Excited? Overwhelmed?  Surprised to find out he is gay?  For the main POV character, I didn’t feel like I got enough insight into him.

Despite all of that I really enjoyed Aaron and Ki and loved the men together until about the last third of the story. Up until then I would have rated it much higher but the ending and “big misunderstanding” just drove me crazy.  Aaron’s reaction at the party just seemed so out of line and out of character.  I get that he would be anxious about the party given his shyness, and freaked out to see one of Ki’s former girlfriends (sex buddy?).  But his reaction seemed so extreme, not just his immediate response but also in the days after.

Ok, I can’t get into more detail without spoilers so hopefully this nifty little spoiler tag I set up works here…

First off, where is all this stuff coming from? The insecurity about Ki having slept with women I sort of get. But the “you need to be with a woman” stuff felt like out of nowhere. This has never been an issue throughout the book. We have never been given any idea that Ki wants, or feels like he needs, to settle down with a woman. Or that he is planning to dump Aaron eventually, so Aaron may as well just break it off now.

Even if we are going to accept that it is just Aaron’s mind going crazy with anxiety, he should have at least listened to Ki when he explained he was not interested in Rachel and tried to reassure him. I just felt like the previously sweet Aaron came across like a total ass out of nowhere, both by ditching the party and refusing to even discuss the problem (and listen) like an adult.

But then, just when I feeling sorry for Ki, he goes and sleeps with Rachel. Yes, technically he and Aaron are not together, but by my timeline it is less than a week later. I wouldn’t call it official cheating, but I guess the romantic in me didn’t want to see Ki give up so easily and turn so soon to the person who made Aaron feel insecure in the first place. It just made him feel sleazy to me.  Especially when he tells Aaron, “We fucked.  We fucked a lot. I enjoyed it.” Really, we can’t be any more diplomatic?

Ok, so got that out of my system! As I said, I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book. Likeable main characters in a hot story and a nice “sweep him off his feet” feel to things.  I just got frustrated at the end and it bugged me too much to wholeheartedly endorse it.  So a mixed review – fun and enjoyable in parts, frustrating in others.

Cover Review: A
I love this style of artwork and the cover guys totally feel like Aaron and Ki.  The cover does a great job of capturing the book.