Ren hates New Mexico, so the plan is get in, get the house he’s remodeling for a spoiled trophy wife finished, and get out. That simple. Until he gets a text from his oldest friend and first crush, Cole. It’s even more complicated when he realizes Cole is texting him from the same restaurant Santa Fe. For years, they’ve had this “thing”—talking, flirting, and texting with innuendo. But they haven’t been in the same room in longer than Ren cares to think about. And worse, Ren’s engaged now—in love, even if it’s not storybook love—to a man he rarely sees and who works as much as Ren does. They understand each other and he loves Paul. Except now there’s Cole.
Cole is only in Santa Fe for a few months producing an album for his friend and boss, Alegra. He never expected to run into Ren in the middle of the desert, but walking away from him is impossible. With the encouragement of his friends and need tugging his heart, Cole gives into his desires, the ones he’s had since he walked away from Ren all those years ago. Cole’s only problem? Liam—his boyfriend, who is back in London waiting for him to come home.
It was supposed to be one night. Something to get it out of their systems. But one night isn’t enough so they agree on twelve. The twelve days Ren is in Santa Fe, Ren and Cole will forget the outside world, work off this lust that’s been building in them since they were kids, and walk away from one another in the end. Never to speak of it again—to each other or to their significant others. Except it’s more than that. And they always knew it would be. But how do they reconcile this thing between them without devastating the people they love, the others who will be affected by their relationship?
There is so much I have to say about this book and I’m not even sure where to start. I picked up this book because, first, the cover caught my eye. I know, you’re all shocked. But add in friends-to-lovers and second chances and really, I didn’t have a choice but to read it. Forever Man is a sexy, angsty, powerful story of two friends who fell in love early on in their friendship, but didn’t know how to say it, didn’t know how to make that first move and not lose what they had, so they grew apart. And then fate or destiny or whatever brought them back together in the most unlikely of places. I’m telling you, this story had me engrossed most of the time. It’s both beautiful and painful. It was a war of emotion from the very beginning that lasted until the end, but it was completely worth it.
I’ll be the first to tell you that cheating isn’t high up on my scale of things to read. And to be honest, I don’t read a lot of it, but one, in fiction I can sort of overlook it, and two, these guys were so obviously meant to be together, I couldn’t help but cheer them on. I’m going to start with Cole, because while, I adore both guys, he is my favorite. I found Cole to be the more passionate of the two. He was gung-ho from the very beginning, and even when he felt bad about deceiving the man he left at home, he went full force for what he wanted and never really looked back. But when Cole took time to really think things through, he did the right thing for the right reasons. So even though, I’m not a respecter of cheating, I respected his honesty and boldness to fight for what he wanted. Ren is a different story. I liked Ren—a lot. But I think he wanted a little bit of both worlds. I think, even though he didn’t admit it, he liked the thrill of cheating, of straddling the fence and having both men on a leash. In his heart, he knew what he wanted, but he also knew he had feelings for Paul and he was afraid to let the political climate and Page Six rumors destroy what he’d built. I hate to say it, but for a while, he was a bit of a coward. Really for most of the book, until he decided to do what was right for him and forget what everybody else thought. I liked the guys together the most. When they were together is when I could practically see “Meant To Be” flashing above their heads. They completed one another. When Ren panics, Cole’s presence soothes him. When Cole acts before thinking, Ren is there to be the rational, grounding force. They are quite perfect together, if very imperfect men.
This story is written in the dreaded present tense POV. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Exactly what I was when I cracked it open. “Nope, not for me. I’m gonna hate it.” But seriously, I barely even noticed. The author drew me in with this story and it flows so well, the tense was barely a blink of a thought across my mind unless I was focused on it and awed by the fact that I actually liking it.
I will say, though, that this story is incredibly long and could have been cut down by at least a quarter, probably a third, and been spectacular. There are a lot—a lot—of introspection and flashbacks especially at the beginning of each chapter. Things that could have been explained easily in conversation or action were instead drawn out into lengthy explanations. I love a good book and I don’t even mind a long book, but wordy for the sake of being wordy is a different story and there are several times that this book does just that.
And I’m gonna nitpick here for just a second. Two fingers. I’m strange when I read, I guess, but sometimes I notice the most random things, and for some reason this author and these characters had a thing for two fingers. When they were intimate, being silly, talking, their actions seemed to include “two fingers.” I’m probably not making much sense. Let me show you:
He runs two fingers through Cole’s wild hair.
He slides his hand up Ren’s chest, presses two fingers into Ren’s collarbone and reaches up to cup his chin.
Ren pushes two fingers in now, letting Cole suck and bite and suck and bite until they’re both moaning.
Cole adjusts his hand so that his two fingers dip lower, his thumb rubbing along the outside of Ren’s briefs.
Cole trails two fingers down Ren’s cheek, grabs his chin and pulls him in for a kiss.
He runs two fingers through Ren’s hair, brushes the tip of his ear and moves down, the two fingers gently pinching Ren’s earlobe.
Okay, I know. It’s my oddity. But seriously with the two fingers. I’m fairly certain the guys have at least eight more as they were never described as having lost any. Just sayin’.
Overall, I really liked this story. It’s crazy emotional and heartfelt. The characters are wonderful and the story is engrossing. There are a few missteps, but still it’s a great book. I definitely recommend Forever Man by A.J. DeWall.