Rating: 2.5 stars
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When Alex Parker walked out on the love of his life two years ago, he was sure that he was saving them both from a lifetime of regret, pain, and hate. Two years later, Alex still thinks of Tyler every day, still wonders what Tyler is doing, but he’s never called or contacted him. It’s beginning to wear on his relationship with his best friend turned new boyfriend, Donny. He loves Donny in his own way, but Alex knows he’ll never be able to love him the way his best friend deserves. Still, he can’t make himself hurt the man that has been there for him for the past two years. But when Alex receives a call telling him of Tyler’s grandmother’s death, Alex drops everything to pay his respects to a woman he loved like family and to see Tyler again.
Tyler Matthews was heartbroken when Alex left him, but he’d promised Alex that he would be there whenever Alex wanted to come back. But two years later, Tyler has yet to hear from him. With his best friend pushing him to move on, Alex reluctantly takes Riley out to show him around, but makes it clear that he won’t pursue anything with him. After an accidental kiss on a dance floor, Tyler wallows in the guilt of wanting Riley but loving Alex. Then Tyler calls Alex only to discover the man that he’s pined over for two years has a boyfriend and has moved on. So Tyler makes the decision to move on too. But his relationship with Riley is only friends-with-benefits on his end. He can’t promise more.
When his grandmother has a heart attack, the last thing Riley expects is for his brother to contact Alex. He didn’t think he’d see Alex again, especially with his boyfriend in tow. But Alex swears he and Donny aren’t together anymore and that he wants Tyler. Although their trust is broken and the past stands between them, Alex refuses to give up. With the emotions of not only Alex and Tyler flying high, but those of Donny, Riley, and Tyler’s friends and family, Alex and Tyler face many obstacles to find forgiveness and make their way back to the love they once shared.
Okay, let me start with the positive. Back to You by Leighton Rose is a good story at its foundation. The basics and the set up are really good, but the execution is lacking. When I think back on the story, I like the whole breaking up over constant fighting because that is real. And I like each of the characters learning their lessons apart and realizing what really matters. I even like the tension-filled reconciliation. It was the writing and the actual storytelling and poor editing that took away from this story.
My biggest issue with this book is the many relationships that weren’t the focus of the story. Alex’s relationship with Donny and Tyler’s relationship with Riley, including the sex, made it hard to care about a healing between Alex and Tyler. I didn’t feel any connection between Alex and Tyler. By the end, I wasn’t sure that I cared if they got back together or not. There was relationship building in this story, but not between Alex and Tyler. It was more between Alex and Donny as well as Tyler and Riley. Instead of focusing on the main characters and their bond, this author chose to focus on their other relationships which, again, took away from the story.
Then there is the frustration that comes from the many relationships and lack of communication from all parties. The only way I can describe it is a bunch of bitchy, jealous, whiny babies. Instead of being grown up about the situation in which these four men find themselves and talking it out, they avoid, lie, and sneak around to get what they want. Then they cry about it and fight among one another. It was annoying and grating.
Overall, this story did not work for me. The foundation was good, but everything else just took away from the attraction of the story. So, unfortunately, I won’t be recommending this one.
Back to You is the first in Leighton Rose’s Second Chances series