Rating: 4 stars
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It is has been two years since Tristan’s relationship with Stuart ended, but it is still rough when he gets an invitation to Stuart’s wedding. Tristan knows they weren’t really meant for each other and the guys have remained friends. But watching Stuart get married to a man he has known less than a year after Tristan and Stuart were together for 10 is awfully hard. And though he is having reservations now that he has the invitation, Tristan has already verbally committed to going and it is too late to back out now. Tristan’s friends suggest that the best tactic is to find a hot date to bring to the wedding to show everyone he has moved on and is doing perfectly fine on his own. Finding a date, though, is harder than it seems and Tristan resorts to an online site where to he finds a surprising match that turns out to be just perfect for him.
Ok, so here is where I am running into the tricky part of the review because Tristan’s date ends up being sort of a surprise. It is revealed pretty early on in the book and has been named in other places, but it is a bit of a spoiler. So if you really don’t want any details, you are going to need to skip pretty much the rest of this review. So you are officially warned…
So it turns out that as Tristan is scanning the online dating site, who does he see but his best friend Darren? Darren who Tristan has known for years. Darren who is straight. Despite knowing Darren forever, Tristan has never really thought of him as a potential romantic interest because he assumed Darren wouldn’t be interested in him. But now that he knows Darren is gay, suddenly Tristan begins to see him in a new light, realizing how attractive he is and how much they enjoy spending time with one another. And when Tristan works up the nerve to tell Darren what he found, he is delighted to find that Darren feels an attraction to him as well.
Despite the joy these guys find together, it is still not all smooth sailing. The closer they get to the wedding, the more it seems that Tristan may not be as over Stuart as he thought. Or at least not as comfortable with Stuart getting married as Darren would like. If he is going to make a future work with Darren, Tristan has to find a way to put the past behind him and move forward.
So this was a cute story with a clever set up and characters I really liked. Darren is just a sweetie and I loved seeing him find some peace with himself and finally come out to his friends and family. I liked his mixture of shy and reserved, but also strong and sexy and ready to fight for what he wants. And I found Tristan fun and quirky. He is our POV character and I enjoyed his voice and found him very entertaining. Yes he is a bit of a drama queen and a bit snarky. But I found him to be fun and really entertaining. So I was rooting for these guys and liked them both a lot.
There are actually two main conflicts here. The first focuses on Tristan and Darren’s relationship, and specifically Darren coming out. And the second deals with the wedding and Tristan’s feelings about Stuart. I actually had a laugh at the set up with Tristan and Darren because I just heard almost this same story on Dan Savage’s podcast where a guy stumbles across his “straight” friend on a gay dating site and wonders what to do. (In case you are wondering, Dan says tell the guy you saw the profile.) So I found this set up quite entertaining and I enjoyed the struggle Tristan faces as he first deals with his shock that Darren is gay, then tries to figure out what to do about the fact that he knows. Tristan is very supportive and patient and I was pleased to see things don’t drag on too long for Darren before he was finally ready to start telling their friends. I think McMurray does a nice job with really capturing that friends to lovers element. It is portrayed very realistically as they deal with the strangeness of suddenly becoming a couple and how that changes their dynamic. I do wish we had some more time developing their relationship. With so much time focused on the wedding, we don’t get as much attention paid to them as a couple. But I did find them likable and really sweet together and I was rooting for them to make it work.
The second plot focuses on Tristan’s feelings about the wedding. Here I feel like things weren’t quite as smooth flowing. It seems that the story goes back and forth a lot — first Tristan is over Stuart, then he is not. It wasn’t just that Tristan seemed confused, I felt confused as well and I wasn’t ever really sure what was going on. Is he really regretting their breakup and wants to get back together? Is he just having a hard time facing the idea that Stuart has moved on? Or does he just want to have someone to show off at Stuart’s wedding to make everyone see how well he is doing in Stuart’s absence? I never felt this was very clear and the story seemed to fluctuate as to what is really going on.
In the same way, I found their conflict toward the end sort of muddled and a little out of nowhere. [spoiler] It seems like Darren went from laughingly agreeing to being eye candy, to not wanting to go to the wedding, to not wanting to be with Tristan at all in about three seconds. I am not sure what suddenly happened to make him rethink his whole relationship in a matter of minutes. [/spoiler] I think if things had been clearer with Tristan’s feelings, then Darren’s actions may have been easier to understand, but instead I felt like they was sort of out of nowhere.
I think the story would have benefitted from things being tightened up a little bit. Maybe just too much going on for the length of the story to give either plot its full due. But I do like the way things came together in the end though and left this one feeling good. It is definitely a cute story and I enjoyed it. Recommended.