Frank Phillips is a hopeless romantic who has a habit of falling for the wrong type of man. After getting out of a relationship with an alcoholic partner, he stops at the local bar where he meets Casey Green. The handsome stranger makes a provocative introduction that has Frank unable to easily dismiss the newcomer. As they begin conversing, Casey divulges that he’s an author who hasn’t had any success with publishing houses and Casey offers to read his manuscripts. Following Casey back to his apartment, Frank finds himself once again falling for the wrong guy – or is it the right guy?
This is one of those books that left me perplexed over how anyone would bill it as a “love story” like the title suggests when all I found was a tale of one man’s journey into habitual dysfunctional relationships. The fact that this relationship ended in a HEA–one that had me shaking my head and ready to throw my book across the room–doesn’t mean that what happens between the opening sentences and the epilogue is a romance by any means.
This story is told from Frank’s point of view, though we do get some insight into what is going on in Casey’s head through his writing much later in the book. While I, as a reader, did appreciate Casey baring his soul through his writing, it was a little too late for me considering everything else that happened up until that point.
The story starts off with Frank and Casey meeting before back tracking to the time before they met and all Frank’s former failed relationships. Apparently, Frank equivocates having sexual relations with someone as being in a relationship with them. He has one encounter with a woman and she becomes his best friend. He barely knows Casey and he is asking him to move in with him so that he can focus on his writing without having to worry about making his rent – and Frank is perfectly okay if Casey wants to invite men over for sex.
Casey is probably one of the most eccentric characters I’ve ever seen in a romance story. Casey is a writer who seeks to have his work published, but he can’t seem to be bothered with details – such as submitting a clean copy of his manuscript. An exhibitionist, a trespasser, and many times doing things that made me question his sanity, there was little endearing about Casey as a character.
As the story unfolds, Casey moves in with Frank and they agree to have a roommate with benefits/open relationship. Eventually the two manage to settle into an exclusive relationship, but it takes much longer than I anticipated, which is a big no-no in my type of romance books where once a couple is together, I don’t want to see them sleeping with other people. Unfortunately, the author then chose to have one of the parties cheat on the other – another huge no-no in my romance stories – and this causes significant problems in the relationship. The final nail in the coffin for this story as a romance was when I realized that Frank didn’t even know the real Casey and that Frank’s father knew more about him than Frank did. It was as if Frank was in love with the idea of being in love and it probably didn’t matter who the person was.
Unfortunately, despite there being a lot of sex going on, the sex scenes are almost non-existent. One of the few that have any details is the scene where Frank is with his best friend – a woman – and even that would still be on the low end of the heat scale.
In my opinion, this story bombed as a romance. In all honesty, it was a fairly decent read as a piece of gay fiction with some horribly flawed characters – both primary and secondary. Drug use, alcohol abuse, casual sex, mental illness, desperately wanting to find someone to love, loss, cheating, and forgiveness – all made for an interesting story – but not a love story. As written and as advertised/marketed as a romance story, I can’t recommend.