Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Ryan runs his sex life with some pretty simple rules. No names. No kissing. No sleepovers. And definitely no repeats. That is until he meets Jayden Cobain and Ryan’s carefully ordered life is turned upside down by the man he can’t get out of his head and who is determined to break through the walls Ryan has carefully erected.
From the start, Jayden is clear that he wants more than just a one off with Ryan. He likes Ryan and wants to get to know him and see where things might go, and he isn’t willing to let Ryan’s rules get in the way. Ryan is determined to proceed just like always, but something about Jayden is so enticing he just can’t stay away from the man despite himself. Ryan knows he feels differently about Jayden than he ever has about anyone else, and that thought terrifies him. Yet he falls back into bed with him more than once, and even worse, enjoys spending time with the man.
Jayden is willing to give Ryan some time to come to terms with his feelings, but Ryan is sabotaging himself and their developing relationship at every turn. Jayden isn’t willing to wait forever though, and if Ryan can’t accept that that he wants to be with Jayden soon, he may lose the man who is starting to mean everything to him.
Resistance is another one of the books I read early on in my m/m romance life and one that I continue to love all the times I have read it. This story really boils down to a simple plot: will Ryan open himself up to the relationship he really wants deep inside, or will he sabotage himself because he is too scared? I love how Turner is able to play with that simple conflict and draw such a fabulous story out of it. From the start, as we meet Ryan we can see he is a guy who is desperately clinging to his rules and his lifestyle. He has absolutely no interest in dating, or even sleeping with someone twice. It has worked for him for all these years (at least he thinks it has), and he has no intentions of changing that. What I love is that right from the start, Jayden blows right through these rules and somehow, despite himself, Ryan lets him. Here is one of my favorite scenes from right after the guys meet and have sex for the first time:
“So…” says Ryan, staring up at the ceiling. Jayden’s warm and spent beside him, taking deep, satisfied breaths. And Ryan does what he always does: makes the guy think he wants to leave, when really Ryan’s the one shoving him out of the door. It doesn’t matter that it’s Jayden. It doesn’t. “I suppose you wanna head out now.”
“Nope. I’m staying here tonight.”
“What?” Ryan sits up, exposed in his nudity, as if his nudity is all of a sudden an issue. “Jayden, no. I have this rule—”
“No sleepovers? Yeah, I figured. Thing is,” Jayden drawls, reaching up to trace a shiver down Ryan’s spine, “I’ve decided I’m not paying any attention. Where’s your bedroom?” He hops to his feet and heads over to investigate the doors leading off the room.
Ryan stares after him, somewhat dazed. “You can’t just invite yourself to stay in a stranger’s house.”
“Dude, I had my tongue in your ass. You’re way past being a stranger.”
“Jayden, I’m serious here. This isn’t what I do.”
“I know. You’re all about random one-offs.” He disappears into Ryan’s bedroom, and with a mild prickle of fear, as if maybe he’s slowly suffocating, Ryan gets up and follows him. “I get it, dude,” Jayden adds. “No need to keep going on about it.”
“I’m not… I haven’t—”Deep breath, Ryan. “Okay, you know what this is. I guess that’s the awkward part out of the way.”
“Guess it is.”
“So why the hell are you getting in my bed?”
“Uh, to sleep?” says Jayden, flopping onto his back on Ryan’s mattress. “You do that sometimes, right? It’s really awesome. You should come try it.”
“Oh my God, Ryan, I’m just staying the night. I’m not proposing marriage. Will you get in the fucking bed before I drag you in it myself?”
Ryan hovers by the door, mind at war with itself. He feels the beginnings of a headache and sighs. “You better be gone before I wake up.”
“You’re so romantic.”
“Shut up,” says Ryan, climbing onto the bed. He doesn’t get too close, wonders how he’s going to get the covers out from beneath Jayden without manhandling him.
“You shut up.” Jayden stretches out an arm. “And come here.”
Ryan stares at him with the bizarre feeling that the walls are closing in. “You want to snuggle?”
“I don’t know if you missed it, dude, but we just had mind-blowing sex. Of course I want to snuggle. I want to stay in the moment.”
“The moment passed.”
“You’re so grouchy.” There’s a pout. There’s definitely a pout. “Let me cuddle it away.”
Ryan groans, pinches the bridge of his nose. “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”
“I know, right? Who knew when you left this house today you’d end up meeting the incredible Jayden Cobain? I’d be in shock too.” And god-fucking-dammit, Ryan can’t help but smile.
“There it is,” Jayden adds, tone gentle, face soft. “Now are you gonna quit bitching and come and give me some love? I’m feeling used here.”
“That’s because I did use you,” says Ryan, and then, “Is your name really Cobain?”
“Yes. It’s an awesome name. Maybe when we get married, I’ll let you have it.”
I love the way Jayden just doesn’t take any of Ryan’s shit, right from the start. He likes Ryan, wants to get to know him, and just sort of proceeds like anyone in a new, developing relationship might. But Ryan is so freaked that he doesn’t even know what to do with Jayden. At the same time, he is so hot for Jayden he can barely stand it. Not to mention he actually likes the guy and wants to spend time with him. Basically, Ryan is fine with things except when he starts to think about them (which is sadly most of the time).
What I love here is that Turner really finds that perfect balance that makes this all work. On one hand, Jayden pushes Ryan, determined to get to know him and to get him to loosen up and just see where things go. He is willing to give Ryan time and willing to deal with all his craziness. At the same time, Jayden isn’t a pushover and he won’t let himself be walked all over. He is willing to be patient, but he is not willing to be abused. When Ryan can’t get his act together, Jayden walks. He is clear that Ryan is neither that hot, nor is Jayden that desperate, to go through that level of shit. Jayden has enough strength and dignity that even when we see Ryan being a jerk, we know that Jayden isn’t going to take it, and it gives a balance of power to their relationship that it really needs to make the story work.
The other thing that sells this book is that Jayden Cobain is basically the most perfect man alive. He is tall and gorgeous and hunky. He is sweet and caring. He is warm and friendly. His last name is Cobain for heaven’s sake! And he is sexy as fuck. It is basically impossible not to love him (ok, yes, he does do a not very nice thing to the guy he is dating after things go sour with Ryan). And I will tell you a secret… I totally love Ryan too. I know there will be some of you who will read this story and hate Ryan. Or at least hate him at the start. Maybe my love for Ryan comes from the fact that I have read this so many times and I know what kind of guy he is deep down. He is such a good friend, generous and kind. He dotes on his roommate, Olivia, and truly cares about the few people he lets close to him. Once we learn Ryan’s heartbreaking backstory, it is totally clear why the guy is just terrified to make himself vulnerable. When I look at him, I just see a scared softie who is just too terrified to let himself have something good and so he puts up a big, stoic front to cover it up. But you have to wade through a lot of baggage and a lot of attitude to get to his soft, mushy center. And when he makes Jayden sad, you just want to punch Ryan. But I can’t help it. I love him and his big old messed up self and it makes his ultimate redemption all the sweeter.
And by the way. Can I tell you that Ryan and Jayden are just about the hottest things around? I mean, the sex is scorching and the chemistry is off the charts. You can just feel the intensity between them, even when they are out of the bedroom. It just crackles between them and when they get together it is so super sexy. Like get out the hose to cool yourself down kind of hot.
Last thing I’ll mention is that Turner does something here that I almost never see done well, and that is write in third person, present tense. Now normally this makes me run screaming because it is so hard to write in this tense and POV without sounding like some narrator is just reciting a list of actions. I normally find this pretty much the hardest style to read, even more so than first person, present tense. And the first time I read this book, I definitely needed a minute to adjust. But honestly, this story captured me so fast and after the first page or two I never even notice it. Rather than depleting the energy as present tense can often do, Turner writes in a way that gives the story so much zip and intensity. So for that reason alone, you should give this book a try because Turner manages to succeed in an area where so many other writers struggle.
Ok, so clearly I love this book. It is one of my old favorites and I think I like it more each time I read it. You need to go into it with a bit of an open mind about Ryan. But I love him and just adore the two of them together. It is a great story and one that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. So I am so glad to bring it back from Throwback Thursday and hope you will all give it a try.