Starting With the UnexpectedRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Morning show DJ Zach Blaise receives a wrong number text from someone calling themselves Mari. A week later, Zach and his best friend Jordan go for breakfast and their server, Marcus, catches Zach’s eye. The following day, Mari asks to meet Zach and yet again, Zach is taken by surprise: Mari is Marcus–Marcus Ian Edwards, who recently broke up with his cheating boyfriend. Although Zach is very interested in Marcus, he refuses to be the rebound guy and tells Marcus that what he needs are friends.

One night, Marcus is late for their weekly gathering and it turns out that Marcus’ ex is the cause. In the process of saving Marcus from his crazy stalker, Zach is injured. Marcus finally convinces Zach that he would not be a rebound and so they have their first official date. When Marcus’ home is vandalized, frustrated and worried, Zach convinces Marcus to move in with him and Jordan.

Soon after Marcus declares his love for Zach in a very public manner, things start to go wrong. First Zach’s car is vandalized and then the incidents escalate, scaring Zach and Marcus until the stress gets to be too much. When Marcus’ sister calls for help, Zach engages his mouth without thinking and Marcus’ low blow in return signifies a doozie of a first fight. When Marcus has an accident and ends up in the hospital, the fear that their fight may have been the cause of Marcus’ accident tears Zach apart.

I must say that you would be hard pressed to find a more interesting and fun cast of characters in a book. Zach was priceless and being the sarcastic SOB that I am, I found that I could relate to him with ease. Marcus was a super sweet guy, but not so sweet as to be unrealistic. The chemistry between Zach and Marcus felt genuine and I liked that it developed slowly, so slowly that Jordan was convinced that Zach and Marcus had been in a relationship for weeks before they admitted it to each other.

The secondary characters did their part with style, humor, and emotion and supported the story perfectly. The two families could not have been more polar opposite, almost, and I mean almost to the point of being two-dimensional. What kept them real, in my opinion, were the subtle behaviors and traits exhibited by the various individuals, like Kat, Zach’s co-worker, Zach’s mom, and even Marcus’ ex. The little details seeded throughout the story added the authenticity and depth that I love seeing in a book.

I did notice some things that did not sit well with me, but they were few and far between, and not critical to my enjoyment of the story. I debated whether to include examples and decided against it due to context and not wanting to give anything away.

Starting with the Unexpected sure was just that…unexpected. I laughed uproariously at Zach’s wit and interactions with Jordan and Kat, and found the pop culture references to be spot on and simply hilarious. I also found myself getting a bit teary-eyed near the end, as I was drawn into the story. I don’t do this often, but I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the cover. It not only suits the story, but would also draw me to buy this book.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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