Buy Link: The Closer You Get
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Samhain
Length: Novel

Rating: 4.75

The Closer You Get picks up about two years after the end of The Distance Between Us (see review).  Kieran Frost is still living in Seattle, working as a bartender, engaging in regular threesomes with friends Ethan and Rhett, and generally enjoying life as a self-described manwhore.  When Rhett’s daughter Sabrina asks Kieran to meet her friend Alex Corbin who is just learning his way around being an out gay man, Kieran agrees.  He figures it will be a good chance to show the guy some fun, help him adapt to his new lifestyle, and maybe get to enjoy some hot times with the gorgeous Alex.

Kieran is shocked to find out that not only is Alex newly out, he is completely inexperienced, having never even kissed anyone, man or woman.  Although Kieran is wary of starting up anything with a virgin, he agrees to help him rather than leave Alex at the mercy of men who may not be kind or considerate as he adjusts to sex and an open lifestyle.  Both men agree that this arrangement is just sexual, and that they are not entering any kind of relationship.  Kieran is sure that once Alex is comfortable, that will be the end of things. Yet he never anticipates that they might fall in love.

Ok, first let me say that I love, LOVE a virgin hero story. One of my all time favorite romance tropes.  And when combined with a good-hearted manwhore? Yes, please! <<makes grabby hands>> I love seeing the wonder of the virgin partner as he experiences everything for the first time, combined with the way the experienced partner is able to appreciate sex and intimacy in a way that he hasn’t in a long time.  Witt does a wonderful job showcasing that in this story, as Kieran slowly introduces Alex to a whole host of pleasures, each man so excited and overwhelmed by what they are doing.  I think Witt is a master at writing scenes with building sexual anticipation and we see that in this book so many times as each man struggles with wanting more, but also knowing they need to take things slowly.  I appreciated the way Alex wasn’t ready to jump into sex the first minute; it felt much more realistic to me than stories where the virgin goes from zero to dirty deed without batting an eye.  And even with the more realistic pacing, the sex is still off-the-charts hot and intense.

One of Kieran’s struggles throughout the book is his fear of falling in love and being hurt.  He lived through Ethan and Rhett’s temporary breakup and watched his parent’s marriage fall apart due to his father’s cheating, as well as experiencing his own heartbreak in a past relationship.  Although he has no problem with commitment, he worries about the pain of an inevitable break up and is afraid to enter an emotional relationship with anyone, including Alex. Early on Kieran attends his father’s marriage to a new woman, emphasizing his bitterness over the cheating and reinforcing his feelings about failed relationships.  While I see the importance of the wedding in explaining Kieran’s relationship fears, I did feel like this part took up a bit more of the story than I would have liked.

I loved the chance to see Rhett and Ethan again.  They provide a great sounding board for Kieran as he works through his developing relationship and feelings for Alex.  I actually read these stories back to back and I could appreciate the many small details of continuity that worked so well connecting the books together.  While you could read The Closer You Get as a stand alone, I think it is much richer if you have the background on Kieran that comes from the first story since he plays an very significant role in that book (and Rhett and Ethan are featured quite a bit in this one).

I was so happy to see Kieran get his own story after reading The Distance Between Us.  We know he is a good guy from Distance, but this story shows how sensitive and caring he is as he takes the time to really make Alex feel comfortable, always putting the other man’s needs before his own.  And Alex is so sweet and shy as he takes his first steps into being an out gay man after living his life in an ultra-conservative small town.  He is nervous but committed to finally experiencing life and learning more about himself after living so long under other people’s expectations.  I loved watching him gain confidence and take the first steps to really finding himself.

I thought this was a great story – hot, sweet, romantic, sexy.  Loved the combination of the shy virgin with the good-hearted manwhore.  Definitely a recommended read.

The Closer You Get will be released from Samhain Publishing on November 15 and is currently available for preorder.

And for even more fun, tomorrow L.A. Witt will be guest blogging on Joyfully Jay about virgin heroes from an author perspective!  We will also be giving away copies of both books to one lucky commenter so be sure to stop back in and chat!