Taylor is a senior in college and can’t wait to finish school and move to California with his best friend, Livvie. He is definitely looking forward to leaving the cold East Coast climate, but also he is also looking to put some distance between him and his overly critical mother and stepfather. Taylor hasn’t come out to them, but he is well aware of their feelings as they constantly pressure him about his dating life. He has only had a few dates with men and hasn’t found anyone that he is comfortable with until he meets Ashley.
Ashley has just moved from California to Connecticut for a position at a university. His family is wealthy as they own a luxury hotel chain, but he’s content consulting and teaching business. His track record with men is a disaster and it was the demise of his last relationship that prompted Ashley’s move across the country. Taylor isn’t Ashley’s usual type as muscular guys don’t usually turn his head and he prefers the stock market and the symphony, but Taylor’s well toned body and demeanor charm him from the first glance.
Ashley also doesn’t bring guys home after just meeting them, but the chemistry with Taylor is amazing. But when Ashley realizes that Taylor is a virgin, the evening screeches to a halt and Ashley and Taylor make plans to go out on a date. Taylor certainly wasn’t expecting to walk into class the next day to find Ashley is his professor and Ashley can’t even believe that the one guy he has a true connection with is off limits. It’s 245 days until graduation, but the attraction the men feel may have them putting everything at risk.
The set up for this story was well written as Ashley and Taylor first meet at the mall and then again at a bar. The chemistry just oozes off of these guys and they have a real connection. Ashley feels like he does the right thing when he realizes that Taylor is a virgin and calls their heavily heated first night to a halt. But as the guys spend more time together, Ashley knows that he wants more then just one night with Taylor as he tells him, “I really like you. This isn’t just some hook up. And I’m sorry if this is too much for me to say, but you just…I don’t know…undo me.”
There are then many conflicts surrounding these guys. The first being that Ashley is Taylor’s professor, which they realize after they meet. They try and stay away from each other as Ashley is truly concerned about his career since relationships with students are prohibited by the university. Then, there is also the fact that Ashley is not out at work and Taylor is not out to his parents. The author does a good job of pulling us into their story and they grapple with how to proceed because the chemistry between these guys is amazing.
So while the attraction and chemistry is sizzling between them, it can only take the book so far and there were many, many, many issues with details that constantly pulled me out of the story one after the other and it was really all too bad as Taylor and Ashley on their own worked so well. Taylor is a senior with a double engineering major, yet he’s taking Business 101. There is an explanation that was attempted, but it didn’t work for me. There were also many details that just added up over the course of the book from the dated language of using “boomboxes” at the beach, to calling female students “co-eds,” to calling out a specific wine that wasn’t labeled properly. There was also a random character in Taylor’s Triathlon Club that was described as such:
He would brag about his conquests. A couple guys suspected he used date rape drugs, but nothing had ever been proven.
That was just casually added in like it’s no big thing and what–whoa! Then it’s mentioned they all think this same guy hacked into the school’s computers to change his grades, but that hasn’t been proven either and it’s all just added into the basic narrative for a character that has barely any page time. Ashley’s former boyfriends are described with there being a suicide, a married man, a closeted man, and then a stalker. He also has a twin sister thrown in there, as well as issues with his boss and then the boss’s daughter. There is getting the character’s history and backstory and then there’s this, as there was just so much added on. The narrative was also too repetitive as we would be told something only to then have it repeated a few lines down.
The situation with Taylor’s parents was also repetitive as we see him visit them several times. He would do his laundry, have dinner with them, and then get grilled over his dating life each and every time as that’s all his parents wanted to talk to him about and they just gave off a creepy vibe. Then there’s yet another storyline involving the stepfather added in that gets brushed aside and in case that’s all not enough, there’s more stalking and–just–wow!
There was so much going on here to the point it felt like the author had so many ideas for the book and then included all of them instead of choosing a direction and there were areas that were insulting and other areas that were way over the top. It was unfortunate that what started off as a promising book with two characters with incredible chemistry collapsed under the weight of itself.