Prelaw student Jamie Stevens is on the verge of losing everything. Despite working three jobs, he’s being evicted from his apartment and doesn’t have enough money to pay for the upcoming semester. And then he meets Guy Bass. Guy seems to be too good to be true. Older than Jamie and with money to spare, he offers to house Jamie and pay for his schooling and he asks nothing in return. For Guy, helping Jamie is a way to honor his mentor, the man who helped Guy when he was young and struggling.
Almost at once, Jamie feels at home with Guy. The two make easy roommates and Guy goes out of his way to make sure Jamie’s path to success is given a boost in the right direction. The two can’t help noticing the natural attraction they develop. But Jamie is straight, so dealing with his feelings for a gay man are more than complicated. What he discovers is that love doesn’t care about labels. And if he takes a chance on Guy, it might just change his life.
Let me preface this review by saying that I’m generally a fan of K.C. Wells. I find this author’s books are dependable reads, with plenty of angst and romance. So when I saw Step by Step come up for review, I snagged it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the book was a disappointment to me from the start. That said, I must admit that most people will probably enjoy Jamie and Guy’s romance and I’ve tried to temper my problems with the book by honestly looking at the pros and cons.
Step by Step is generally angst free and it has a lightness about it that will appeal a lot of readers. That isn’t to say that Guy and Jamie don’t face challenges, but they are able to work through them without creating a three-act drama of each problem. Additionally, Guy and Jamie make a sweet couple and the May/December aspect is never overly emphasized or drawn out. Rather it is portrayed, rightly, as a natural part of the relationship and no more or less important than any other. Too often I find May/December romances get so caught up with the age difference between characters that they fail to let their characters evolve. So Step by Step definitely handled this well.
Now for the things that didn’t work so well. I felt the entire premise was ridiculous. It felt like the author was trying to shoehorn and bend the plot constantly to make it “fit.” And it never did. It just wasn’t believable. Also the conversational text is extremely awkward, even between Guy and Jamie. It read as stiff, forced, or just uncomfortable. There was no natural connection between Jamie and Guy, despite their sweetness. I never believed in their romance and they never read as particularly comfortable with one another. In fact, I would say the entire book was rather awkward. Situations, characters, and conversations often failed to seem believable or relaxed. This was the main reason that Step by Step was nearly a DNF for me.
Step by Step failed to strike a positive cord with me personally due to a silly plot and characters that never meshed. But I don’t think everyone will feel the same way and I can see how Jamie and Guy’s sweet and drama-lite romance will appeal to many. So if you enjoy May/December couples whose stories aren’t laden with anguish, you may want to check out Step by Step.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.