Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
When Drew was eight, his mother died in a car accident. Relocating to live with relatives, he met Jeff on his first day at his new school and they have been best friends ever since. Now 20, Jeff is in college and Drew works as manager at his uncle’s programming business. Drew has always been interested in women. Jeff is bisexual, spends more time with men, and has always been attracted to Drew. However, Jeff is keeping his bisexuality and his long standing interest in Drew a secret.
Drew and Jeff do everything together. As teens, they even had hot make out sessions together under the guise of practicing their kissing. When things progressed one afternoon, it was too much for Drew, and they have been platonic friends ever since.
While spending an afternoon together at the local water park, Drew finds himself attracted to Jeff, and it’s not helping that Jeff is rubbing Drew’s neck on the roller coaster. When Jeff accompanies Drew to a conference, a hotel mix-up has them acting on their growing desire. They take their friendship to the next level all the while dealing with school, family, and work obligations.
Dude. I just want to let you dudes know that these dudes say dude, a lot.
This book has a good premise of a best friends to lovers story. Drew and Jeff are both fun, responsible guys who have always been attracted to each other in some way. The story veered off in a few different directions, however, which took away from the emphasis being on their relationship.
The story line involving Drew’s co-workers was a major area where the story veered off course for me. When Jeff first accompanies Drew to the conference, we are given a list of Drew’s co-workers, their names, their characteristics, and their sexual preferences. When Drew picks up a few of them for the drive to the conference, he opens up their suitcases because these grown men cannot pack their own essentials, such as underwear. The reasoning is that they are genius programmers, but cannot take care of themselves. Once at the conference, Drew is a self-described babysitter for the entire group. He spends the entire conference following the group around to make sure no harm comes to them as they have sexual encounters with random strangers. We get a quick back story on one of the employees who was raped and beaten after taking two men to his home. This apparently has not deterred his behavior. The co-workers’ names were listed in quick succession, they were two-dimensional characters that were difficult to form connections to, and their extracurricular activities were of no interest to me. This conference, and subsequently a second conference, took up a reasonable portion of the book.
After a brief awkward moment of there being only one bed in their shared hotel room, Drew and Jeff begin a sexual relationship. Then, after the conference, Drew and Jeff spend almost every weekend together at Jeff’s dorm room. They are a few familiar characters that we encounter briefly: the male roommate who questions them as he wants to know what sex with a man is like, and the girl who wants to hook up with two men. Drew and Jeff profess their love for each other fairly quickly and have their futures together pretty well laid out in their minds.
The shift for Drew to having a sexual relationship with Jeff was fairly seamless. They easily went from being platonic best friends to best friends having sex. There is no drama and no angst. One of Drew’s biggest obstacles is whether he can give up touching “boobs” for the rest of his life.
Drew has lived with his aunt and uncle who are incredibly supportive and open minded. There are also other family members that were introduced in a similar list fashion, and with the exception of Drew’s uncle, none of them really stood out from the others for most of the book.
There is not a lot of overall character development. There is more of a here and now feel to the immediate story as the time line is about three months. Drew and Jeff are both responsible guys and they have both had to deal with a lot in their young lives, with the death of Drew’s mother, and father abandonment issues for both of them. Yet, their emotional range remains quite young and underdeveloped. There is a bit of a coming of age feel to the story as they both experience romantic love for the first time. When Drew and Jeff come out to their families, the book’s message, that you do not have to label yourself, and that love is love no matter what gender you are, is a good message. It just took a while for us to get there.
While the tone and style of this story overall did not work for me and would not be one I would easily recommend, if this type of story line sounds good to you, then you may want to give Closer than Brothers a try.