Rating: 4.75 stars
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Riley Evans has been happily dating Jason for about six weeks. He knows it isn’t love – it is way too soon for that, he’s sure. Plus, Riley’s heart was broken six years earlier by his college boyfriend Eric, and even though most of him knows Eric is never coming back, there is still a tiny part that clings to hope, preventing Riley from fully falling for someone else. Eric, Riley, and Jason were all close in college, but when Eric and Riley started seeing each other it definitely strained the relationship among the three of them. But Riley had wanted Eric since freshman year and was thrilled when Eric finally returned his interest. The two dated for three months and Riley fell hard for him. But Eric panicked and left him to marry a woman, breaking Riley’s heart.
Now Riley is shocked when after all these years of wanting Eric back, Eric finally calls. And Riley is even more shocked when Eric tells him that he wants to get back together. But Riley is happy with Jason, and even though part of him can’t let Eric go, he doesn’t want to ruin what he and Jason have. Yet when he tells Jason about the call, Riley is surprised to find that Jason wants him to see Eric and figure out if there are still feelings between them. Jason realizes how much Eric still means to Riley and knows that the two of them can have no real future while Riley’s feelings are so unresolved. So he sends Riley off to spend some time with Eric and to find out if that relationship from the past is what he still really wants.
So that sets the stage for this book and it is pretty much all laid out in the first three chapters. I will admit I was a little wary at this point. I worried Riley would end up with the “wrong” guy, and I worried the plot would follow a very predictable path. And I am thrilled to say my fears were totally unfounded and the story was really wonderful. I think Quinn takes a familiar plot line with the love triangle and the past colliding with the present and really gives it a fresh spin and a lot of depth. We really get inside Riley’s head and follow along as he examines his feelings towards both guys, thinks about his past and his present, and comes to some realizations about who (and what) he really wants.
Quinn gives us three really interesting men and makes us care about all of them. There is no bad guy here, even when not everyone behaves perfectly. We see all three men make mistakes as they go through this process together. Despite each of them trying to care for the others’ feelings, this is such a delicate situation and there are lots of stumbles along the way to working this out. And even though Riley’s feelings and indecision about these two important men in his life are the impetus for the action here, I also appreciated that the internal conflict doesn’t drag out forever. Riley makes his choice midway through the book, and the remainder of the story focuses on making the relationship work.
I want you guys to be able to enjoy the discovery of which path Riley chooses for yourself, and as a result, I am leaving out a lot of detail here. But I was really impressed with this story. I thought the author did a great job elevating the book from a very common trope to a much more layered story with a lot of depth. I thought the main characters were great, and also enjoyed the cast of supporting characters, including Riley’s meddling friends. This is a really fabulous debut novel from Quinn and I can’t wait to read more. Definitely recommended.