Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Leo Foster owns a construction company and he just found out that his employee and good friend, Charlie Ryder, is a former porn star. Leo doesn’t care at all about Charlie’s past, but he is upset when he learns the circumstances that led to Charlie leaving porn four years ago. When Leo admits that he knows the truth, Charlie is so grateful that Leo isn’t going to fire him, especially since Charlie has taken on an increasing client-facing role in the company.
Leo doesn’t care about the porn, at least not about anything other than how his friend was hurt. But when Charlie seems interested in moving their relationship from friends to more, Charlie is a little worried. He is concerned that Charlie is mixing up gratitude for Leo’s attitude with real attraction. And when Leo’s ex-boyfriend, Ethan, comes back into town, things get even more complicated. Now Charlie must show Leo that the feelings he has are real if he is going to be able to forward into a future with his friend.
Any Closer was part of Dreamspinner’s 2011 Daily Dose collection and it is a short, sweet, friends to lovers story. Much of the focus of the story is on Charlie’s past and him opening up to Leo about what really happened to cause him to leave porn. He can’t quite believe that Leo is so open and accepting of his past, and really only wants to support him. We get a nice sense of the friendship between these two guys and the way Leo stands behind Charlie and his other employees. It is a short story, but we get a nice sexy ending for the two of them and I liked seeing how Charlie is able to get Leo to open his eyes to the fact that there is more there than just friendship.
Where I struggled is understanding Leo’s transition from seeing Charlie as nothing more than a friend, to suddenly not only finding him attractive, but moving to pursue a sexual and emotional relationship with him. It is clear they have been friends for a while, and yet the book starts with Leo suddenly noticing how attractive Charlie is. And when Charlie makes a move, Leo is very surprised, yet still immediately is ready to transition to thinking of Charlie as a lover rather than a friend. I would have liked a bit more sense of what changed in Leo’s head to make this move. I’ll also admit at times I found Leo a bit gruff and not so pleasant. He expresses a lot of concern that others not see him as scary and intimidating, yet at the same time he seems to spend a lot of time snapping and snarling at everyone.
I enjoyed the narration here by Greg Tremblay. Tremblay is one of my favorite audio narrators and he does another great job here. The pacing is good, the tone is nice, and the audio is easy to listen to. I would have liked a little more differentiation in the main characters’ voices, but Tremblay does a great job with the female characters, particularly Leo’s mom and her hispanic accent. Tremblay also captures Leo’s growly surliness well, something that comes up a lot in the story.
Overall this is a nice, easy story that is a quick listen on audio. If you are looking for a nice friends to lovers story, you may want to give Any Closer a try.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.