Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Length: 6 hours, 55 minutes
Jason is completely overwhelmed. His boyfriend left him with the mortgage, his business is in the red, and he has chronic shoulder pain that makes everything that much more unbearable. In constant pain and fighting with his conscience over taking pain pills, Jason finally goes to see Michael, the acupuncturist his friend recommended.
Michael is a doctor and has joint custody of his son, but is also struggling financially. He is also quite easy on the eyes and Jason is interested immediately. When Jason realizes Michael also has financial concerns, he suggests the men become roommates to help alleviate the strain. Michael is hesitant at first as to how it will affect his son, but ultimately decides it is the right choice.
Jason hadn’t considered that his new roommate never seems to wear a shirt and the reality of living with Michael is driving him crazy. The sexual tension is in the air, but Jason has been told that Michael is straight. Jason is then completely caught off guard when he not only realizes that Michael may like men, but that Michael is attracted to him. One night can’t possibly be enough for Jason, but Michael has all kinds of concerns regarding their doctor/patient relationship, his son, and the fact that he’s not out to anyone. When living in the same house becomes unbearable for both men, Michael has to be ready to make the next move.
Jason is the character we spend all of our time with in this book and he is having such a hard time as nothing is his life is working out. The constant pain he is in makes it all that much worse, but the thought of giving up on any of the issues in life never occurs to him. He keeps putting one foot in front of the other trying to make it to the other side. He has a strong inner voice and his inner dialogue really gives us a sense of who he is and where he is coming from. For all of Jason’s struggles, however, the book was quite easy to listen to and had a smooth flow all of the way through.
On the other side is Michael. We learn about him through his conversations with Jason but we are never with his thoughts. For as much as this was Jason’s story, some of the biggest issues lie with Michael and we are not invited in to his thoughts, which was the area that weakened the story for me. Michael never wanted to admit he was gay and when he is first attracted to Jason and then puts the brakes on a relationship, his thought process is off page and for a main character he felt secondary to Jason.
Now Jason and Michael are clearly attracted to each other, but that seemed to be the basis of their entire relationship. Their relationship evolves backwards as they are living together first, intimate second, and dating third. Sure the initial attraction was well done, but then it wasn’t further explored what it was about the two of them together outside of the bedroom that worked for them in the long term. I also wondered why it was not addressed that they shared the same best friend for years, but had never crossed paths when they all live in the same town.
Iggy Toma narrates this one and I have come to expect a polished performance from this narrator. His voice is distinct and instantly recognizable. A good portion of the story is Jason’s inner dialogue and you can’t go wrong with having Toma read a story out loud to you. Michael did sound older than I expected, but his voice offered a contrast to Jason, and Michael’s son and ex wife were both handled well. While the intimate scenes had a more matter-of-fact tone here, the quality of the production is stellar. The entire audio performance is polished and listening to this book on audio may have even offered a greater appeal. This is an easy and enjoyable story of two men living life despite hardships and finding love along the way.