Josh is the epitome of the anti-hero. A corporate lawyer, he hooked up with Dan a few years ago in a friends-with-benefits arrangement. Though Dan has been pushing for them to become an “official couple” by having them move in together and for Josh to meet the parents, Josh has managed to maintain his own residence and evade anything that would resemble something a boyfriend would do…until he finds himself sitting at a dinner party and realizes that despite his refusal to acknowledge he has been in a relationship with Dan, he’s been in a relationship with Dan. Josh begins to feel trapped and is looking for a way out.
Alex is a struggling student who is working two jobs and going to class. He doesn’t have much time for a social life. When Josh steps in to protect Alex from a customer who physically assaults him, Alex finds himself attracted to the Good Samaritan, setting warning bells off. If Alex has a type of man, it’s always the wrong one. After getting himself out of an abusive relationship, he knows he can’t trust his judgement when it comes to men.
When Josh asks Alex out for a drink, he expects that maybe the two could hookup and have raunchy sex in the alley or something. What Josh wasn’t expecting was for Alex to hold him at arm’s length, and for him to be okay with that. For the first time in his life, Josh is learning how to have a relationship with another man that isn’t based on sex.
For Alex, Josh is his chance to prove to himself, and his best friend Liam, that his judge of character isn’t completely flawed. Or is it? Can Josh and Alex find a chance for happiness or will their secrets and flaws doom them?
I am going to start off this review by saying I had two different opinions on this book. As a romance (which is how this book is marketed), I think readers will be sadly disappointed. As a piece of gay fiction, I thought the book was interesting and thought provoking. In fact, two weeks after reading the book, I still struggle to process my feelings about it…hence, a 3.75 rating.
Readers will quickly fall for Alex. Despite being gorgeous and willowy, Alex is far from perfect, especially with his two slightly crooked front teeth. Eager for love, he’s made poor choices in his life that have left him trying to pick up the pieces. Just as he starts to believe that he can move on in his life, in walks Josh, a man who fits the mold he’s trying to avoid.
Josh is a really hard character to like. He is stringing along a man who sees a future for the two of them, while out prowling looking for something better. I found him self-centered, quick to temper, and somewhat creepy at times.
Both of these characters are hiding secrets. Josh is hiding his relationship with Dan, while Alex is hiding his past. Though Alex tells Josh some of what happened in his previous relationship, he doesn’t spill all the beans. When the truth does come out, I found myself initially hating Josh’s reaction, but then found him redeeming himself, leaving me somewhat conflicted as to whether Josh is just another one to fit the mold, or whether he was really changing for the better.
There are some sexy times between these two characters, but nothing that is overly explicit. I will admit, my favorite parts were the awkward afterwords that are typically left out of other stories.
My complaint about this book is that despite getting a happily ever after ending, I still have a lot of nagging doubts as to whether Josh has changed, or whether Alex is still a victim and just doesn’t know it yet. Some of the things Josh says and does set off alarm bells with me.
Overall, I thought this was a great piece of gay fiction. It wasn’t perfect, but I found myself engrossed in the story despite that. As a romance, I’m sorry, I didn’t feel the chemistry between these two characters at all. Like I said, I had a hard time liking Josh at all, he creeped me out and I was just waiting for the monster inside to emerge at any time. Imperfect isn’t perfect by any means, but it was the perfect book to get my mind spinning!