backup boyfriendRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Alec has just bought his first motorcycle. Not just any motorcycle, but a vintage 1964 Harley Davidson that was a spur of the moment impulse purchase. The purchase went against the advice of Alec’s friend Noah, and Noah’s mechanic friend Dylan, as they both suggested Alec go with a starter bike.

56 days. It has been 56 days since Tyler, Alec’s partner of two years, left him. Alec found out this morning that Tyler has a new boyfriend. And Alec then bought the Harley.

When the bike stalls, Alec tries to get his humiliation in check as he pushes it into Adams’ Vintage Motors. There, he sees Dylan Booth, the man with the phone voice that flowed over Alec like warm oil. The man whose calloused handshake is far different than the smooth, professional hands Alec shakes all day long as a doctor.

Although extremely booked, Dylan finds he is unable to say no to Alec’s request for help. When Alec’s bike won’t start for the second time, Dylan makes a house call to Alec’s, just as Tyler and his new boyfriend arrive to pick up the remainder of Tyler belongings. As if that isn’t awkward enough, Alec and Tyler founded a clinic together and they are this year’s joint recipients of a humanitarian award for their work with the homeless.

Watching Alec endure his ex sends Dylan into protective mode. Having spent a portion of his teenage years on the streets, and losing his best friend Rick to HIV, Dylan is drawn to the vulnerability he sees in Alec. Dylan finds himself telling Tyler that he and Alec have been having wild, hot sex for a few weeks, which sounds all kinds of weird coming out of Dylan’s very heterosexual mouth.

Tyler suspects Dylan is lying and asks if Dylan will be Alec’s date for the party their mutual friend Noah is hosting to celebrate their award. Dylan wonders if even an expert bullshitter like himself can fake an attraction to a man. Alec gets attached too easily. Dylan knows everyone eventually leaves. But, the hands on role is scorching hot and Dylan’s part playing the backup boyfriend feels so very real.

This book transcends the typical gay for you format. It is about two men finding love on their own terms. First, we have Alec who is still reeling from his partner Tyler abruptly moving out. He cannot seem to get away from Tyler as they work together, have mutual friends, and are receiving a humanitarian award together. Alec believes he is still in love with Tyler and is waiting for Tyler to take him back. Alec has a self-deprecating humor that Dylan finds endearing and, gasp, adorable.

Dylan’s life was rough as he began living on the streets at the age of 15. He survived by doing things he was not proud of and met Rick, another homeless teen. Rick was gay, but there was no romance between the two.  Although Dylan felt something more for Rick, he never would label it. Dylan does not believe in labels: heterosexual, gay, bisexual, even the label boyfriend. He believes that life just happens and if it feels good, it’s just all good. He has never had a relationship with a man and has never been with a woman longer than one night. The inner dialogue Dylan has with himself is witty, sarcastic, and quite entertaining.

Dylan and Alec have great sexual tension as their friendship begins to turn into more. Before Noah’s party, Alec and Dylan spend time together riding their motorcycles. One night, Alec asks Dylan to go watch a game at a local sports bar. This is an all out, well crafted, great scene. As the two men sit next to each other at the bar, their shoulders bump and pleasure and awareness flares through Dylan. Alec glances at Dylan’s mouth. Dylan is unable to look away as he wonders if Alec’s lips are as soft as they look. The description of the interaction sizzles and becomes known as The Look.

The character of Noah is where the story veered off a bit for me. When he walks in on Alec and Dylan in bed together, he chastises them like a parent walking in on two disobedient teens and both men take it from him. For the sake of argument, Alec and Dylan agree their night together was a mistake and weeks go by before Dylan goes to see Alec again as he misses his friend.

Alec and Dylan resume a relationship, spending most of their time together in and out of bed. Dylan never has a crisis of conscience that he is with a man, he simply refuses to acknowledge any labels, such as commitment, relationship, and boyfriend, which goes against everything Alec has always wanted. Their stark contrasts become more apparent as we visit Alec’s upscale, well appointed home, compared to Dylan’s sparsely furnished apartment. Dylan never had a real home and has no idea how to make one for himself.

Dylan’s journey is about his sexuality, but was also about him working through long buried issues of his past and Rick’s death. Alec struggles with trying to find a balance between easygoing friend and sexual partner.

There are miscommunications along the way as Alec lets Dylan set the pace and Dylan wonders why Alec will never take the initiative. There are also points of no communication as Alec lets their time together remain undefined in order to keep Dylan happy. Some of this did slow down the overall pace of the story. There are pop culture references that will eventually date the story and I will leave it to your preference whether you enjoy that in a book or not. For me, it draws me right out of the characters’ world. On a note of interest, this is the first book in a series and both Tyler and Noah will each receive a book of their own.

I wanted to love this book. I loved parts of it and liked most of it. Was I able to put it down? Yes. Was I interested in picking it back up? Yes, again. Should you read it? If I let Dylan have the last word, he would say, “God, yes, just yes.”

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