Zachary is traveling to Los Angeles to track down Henry, his brother’s best friend’s uncle. Mattie, Zachary’s brother, and Ty have been close friends for years and Ty needs some straightening out. Zachary also wants to explore the side of himself that thinks he’s not so straight and figures LA is the perfect place to do that. So the plan is to track down Henry and then explore his interest in men. Never did Zachary think that Henry would be the one he wants to explore.
Henry left the small town he grew up in a long time ago. After his brother died, he gained full custody of Ty, but let Ty live with his grandparents (Henry’s parents), from whom he is estranged. When he meets Zachary, Henry is completely blown away by the man and also hopes for a second chance to be an uncle to Ty. Zachary and Henry are on fire together as Zachary explores being with a man for the first time and naturally submits to Henry’s dominant side. But the 20-year age difference might be too much for Henry to overcome and when Zachary has to return home, he may be leaving his heart behind.
The best thing about Out is the dynamic between Zachary and Henry. When Zachary comes to Los Angles he is looking to explore going out with a man, but he gets much more with Henry. He is immediately attracted to Henry and when he first sees Henry he thinks, “He looks like how a sucker punch feels.” The book is told through Zachary’s first person narrative so the entire story rests on his shoulders. Some characters you click with right away while for others it takes time and I wasn’t really clicking with Henry as the story was being set up. The story tries to accomplish a lot. There is the initial story of Zachary looking for Henry to help with Ty. Then there is the story of Henry’s parents and what’s going on with Ty, there is Zachary’s younger brother Mattie, and then there is the relationship between Zachary and Henry.
The relationship between the men is scorching and they have an amazing dynamic. Zachary is with a man for the first time and they naturally fall into their roles. Henry is naturally dominant and Zachary takes to submission under Henry’s hands easily. It’s subtle and when Henry talks dirty to Zachary and calls him “baby boy,” it’s all systems go for the both of them.
The larger story didn’t come together as well for me. After Henry’s brother died he gained custody of Ty, but let him live with his parents with whom Henry did not have a great relationship. We are told how his parents will fight Henry if he wants to see Ty, even though Henry technically has full custody, but the parents became a non-issue by the end and there was a lot of lead up with no story behind it. The same was true with Ty’s story as it was seemingly resolved too easily. Then when there is tension between Henry and Zachary and their relationship, it came off as more formulaic then being what the characters truly wanted.
There were some fun side characters in Henry’s friend Martin to round out the story, but then there was the character of Joseph that had history with Henry that detracted from their story more than added to it for me. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Zachary and Henry and could have read an entire book based on that without so many other threads going on all at the same time. The end result is a mixed review as one area was great, but other areas didn’t all work together for me as well. The epilogue has the men with a strong HFN certainly leaning toward a HEA. The author states that an extended holiday themed epilogue will be available in December and I will pick that one up for sure for more of the dynamic between Zachary and Henry.