Nathan Seward wakes up in a hotel room that is not his own with absolutely no recollection of what happened the night before, nor of the man in his bed. He came to Houston to pitch a bid for his small company, but doesn’t remember anything since dinner the night before. Nathan is a bit panicked, but when Tim Conrad wakes up, he finally gets the truth. They met at a club, talked for hours, and had lots of sex. Nathan doesn’t remember a single moment, and doesn’t know why. Tim leaves, disappointed. But when Nathan gets an email with a blackmail demand, including pictures, he knows this goes farther than he ever thought.
Tim felt a connection to Nathan, and learning that Nathan remembers nothing is a harsh blow. He thinks he’ll never see Nathan again. When Nathan tracks him down at the club again the next night, his elation is quickly mitigated by Nathan’s anger. Nathan explains what happened, that he was drugged with Rohypnol and is being blackmailed. Tim wants to help Nathan get to the bottom of it, and though he doesn’t agree with Nathan’s insistence that they don’t call the police, Tim’s connection to Nathan makes him agree. They spend another night together. All the while, Nathan is piecing together some of the clues. When the man who drugged and blackmailed Nathan goes after Tim, things become much more serious.
With the police now involved, and Nathan’s presentation given, Nathan is supposed to go back home. But he doesn’t want to leave Tim and Tim doesn’t want him to go. After one more night together, they talk about trying things long distance. Nathan even asks Tim to go with him back to California, though Tim turns him down because he doesn’t feel like he can go. Even still, when Tim leaves the hotel, it still feels like goodbye. Tim is attacked again, and when he calls Nathan to make sure Nathan is all right, Nathan shows up. He hasn’t left Houston after all, and Tim accepts his invitation. Nathan is happier than he’s ever been with Tim at his side. But when tragedy strikes back in Houston, and Tim has to go back to be with his father, Nathan goes with him. Tim knows it’s not fair to make those kinds of demands on Nathan. They haven’t known each other long enough. Now Nathan has to convince Tim that he’s in it for the long haul, and that they are better together than they are apart.
The premise alone hooked me on this story and it carried me all the way through. I loved these characters, they were well developed, and even if I didn’t always agree with the choices they made, I understood exactly why they made them. I loved watching the growth of the characters throughout the story.
Nathan was so earnest, so lost and confused in the very beginning that my heart just went out to him. When he starts piecing together what happened to him, finds out he was drugged, his anger is real and palpable. What I perhaps loved best about him was his analytical mind and the way the author used his practical thought process to bring about his epiphanies. This guy might be socially awkward and lost in his own head, but he made good use of his smarts and really developed as the story progressed.
Then there was Tim, and I really adored him. He’s had a pretty tough life, and more bad luck than good for a lot of years, but he’s made do. He’s honest and loyal, and a real romantic at heart. I loved the dichotomy of him. He could have so easily been jaded and hard because of everything that’s happened, but he wasn’t. Sure he had his self-pitying moments, but that was to be expected. They never lasted long, and he was the kind of guy you could see that he wanted to look at the bright side. I loved him and Nathan together, their chemistry just sparked off the page, and I was rooting for them from the very beginning. And yes, these guys form a connection and fall in love very quickly, but it absolutely works here.
You guys, this was a great story. McAllister did a really wonderful job of giving us fantastic characters and a great plot. Each little twist that happened was believable and had sound reasoning behind it. I’m definitely recommending Lost in the Outcome.
Cover: Oh man, this cover is absolutely perfect for the story within. Nathan’s shocked expression, pretty Tim sleeping beside him, and a hotel room where so much of the story takes place. Just lovely.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.