Josh Bennett is the producer on the low-rated local morning show for WPUD in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The show is peopled with a motley crew of personalities, and things always seem to go wrong. When a new investment group buys the show, the upside is a slightly revamped show and a new male cohost.
Tyler Dash is charismatic and pretty, but he has no idea what he’s getting into when he comes on board. He was hoping to take the first step in his career of being a TV personality. But the tiny show has barely any production value and it’s a dead end instead of a career step forward. Tyler is focused on the material things, and he denies his sexuality because he knows that if he’s out, then his career is over. But that doesn’t stop him from appreciating the good looking Josh.
When a snow storm and a little alcohol trap Josh and Tyler together, they finally act on their mutual attraction. And so begins their hidden relationship. The two men fall in love with each other quickly, but Tyler will not live his life out loud and Joshua is fine keeping it quiet and so things disintegrate.
Everyone at the station has known about their relationship because of the way the two men look at each other. When Josh takes a leave of absence from the show, everyone blames Tyler. Even once the two men finally talk, things aren’t easy. Josh won’t live his life in the closet and he won’t be with Tyler if Tyler keeps hiding. It seems like that is the end of the things, but Tyler, despite his fears, is not going to give up that easy.
Okay, I’m going to be completely honest here and say this was not the book for me. Despite a decent beginning, the characters, including the MCs, read like caricatures, they were incredibly inconsistent, and lacked chemistry. That coupled with a lackluster plot left me wanting.
I’m going to start with Joshua because he was the more likeable of the two MCs. He definitely had moments where I really liked him and he showed personality. I liked the way he lead the ragtag bunch of people that worked on the morning show at WPUD. He read as believable character at first. But then when he got involved with Tyler, he became a simpering doormat. He lets Tyler lead the way their relationship goes and then when one thing goes wrong, he runs. That plot point in and of itself was contrived, but it was worse coming from Josh. He was so confident and comfortable in the rest of his life that his attitude with Tyler just didn’t make sense.
Tyler was materialistic and, frankly, often a jerk. While I understood his reasons for wanting to stay in the closet, he was an ass about it. So I couldn’t understand why Josh would want to get involved with him. Okay, yes, he had a good heart underneath but we didn’t get to see much of it. I needed more to understand why Josh would give Tyler the time of day. After that first night, which I could see as just momentary passion, I just had no idea why these guys were together. I’ll say here that the sex is all off page, and for once I was glad about it. It would have been like suffering to sit through sex scenes between these guys, both because of their lack of chemistry and because of the author’s style. On top of that, there was no character growth for Tyler. He was selfish and insistent that he couldn’t come out right up until the very last second, and then he was suddenly declaring his undying love and bursting out into the open. It didn’t track at all, and I found it disingenuous.
And that brings me to the author’s voice and style, and here’s where I had the biggest problem. Yes, the characters weren’t that engaging, but handled in a different way, the book might have been better. As it was, I was constantly yanked out of the book by the word choices. I forgive the few typos easily. When the word usage is out of character for who these MCs are, that is jarring. I had problems with several words being used repetitively or in the wrong context. In particular, “nonplussed” jumped out as a word that was not used correctly and it was done several times. Not to mention that some of the language was florid and over the top. Just one example, “Their coupling a keening, throbbing, act of gulping desire.” I’m sorry, but language like that does not fit a contemporary romance where both of the guys are not overly educated. Or, perhaps, into literature. It just doesn’t work and I was continually pulled out of the story.
I’m just going to take a moment here to mention the plot. I called it lackluster and that’s what it is. Wholly predictable. Josh runs at the first sign of trouble, Tyler doesn’t actually understand why, all the people in their lives tell him exactly what is wrong (and of course they all saw it because it was so obvious even though neither man said anything), and then they finally have a conversation. After that, there’s a big declaration and they live happily ever after in marriage with babies. And while this isn’t always a bad thing (I myself often enjoy a predicable plot), it didn’t work here because the characters were just not engaging enough.
Ultimately, I can’t recommend this book. Any of these issues on their own would not be a total detriment to the story. But all together it made for a rather unenjoyable read for me and I’d have say just give this one a pass.