Philip Lomax is a young businessman based in London, but he travels to Manchester for a week each month for work. Philip is very driven and determined to succeed at work, and so that leaves little time to enjoy life. That means romance and even sex mostly take a back burner. But when he is in Manchester, Philip does like to visit some of the clubs and there he meets go go dancer, Ben.
Ben is gorgeous beyond belief and Philip can’t believe the guy is paying him any attention at all. After a night together, Philip assumes that will be the end of things. But something about Ben just draws Philip in, and when he learns Ben has been on his own since age 16 and that he doesn’t have a regular place to live, Philip knows he doesn’t want to let Ben walk out of his life.
Ben and Philip are as different as can be. Philip is disciplined and focused on his career and worries constantly about what others may think, particularly his stepfather. Ben is easy going and lives for the moment, a bit wilder than Philip can ever imagine being. But somehow, despite their differences, the guys end up being a perfect match. Philip helps provide Ben with a little stability, and Ben helps to shake up Philip’s routine. As that one night turns into days, weeks, and even months together, the guys continue to grow even closer. But can two such different men really make things work for the long term?
Oh you guys, I absolutely adored this one from start to finish. I am a huge fan of opposites attract stories and give me a somewhat uptight hero paired with a bit of a bad boy and I am all there. So I knew this one would be up my alley, but I had no idea just how much Kate Aaron would blow me away with this romantic, sexy, and incredibly absorbing story.
I think that what makes this book stand out from many others with a similar theme is how incredibly well drawn Aaron makes these characters. Both Philip and Ben are so nuanced and layered, I felt like I was discovering new things about them throughout the book. Yes, we have the “bad boy” with the “uptight” guy. And that definitely describes these two on the surface. But there is just so much more to each of them, so many fascinating elements that we uncover as the story goes on, that I was totally captivated. I particularly love the way that these guys not only discover more about each other as they get to know one another, but also by doing so, learn more about themselves and what they want from their own lives. We are in Philip’s POV, but I never felt like this was just his journey. Aaron does a wonderful job making both of these characters incredibly accessible even through Philip’s eyes.
This is also an interesting story in that there really isn’t a conflict here. It is much more of a slow bloom as we watch these guys build their relationship, navigate their own personal growth, and figure out how they can make it work together. Normally a book without a major conflict can feel kind of flat, or too simplistic. So it is to Aaron’s credit that I never felt that way here. I was engrossed from moment one, completely captivated by the story, and I didn’t want it to end. I found myself putting off reading just because I didn’t want the book to be over. The connection between these guys is so intense, they are so romantic and incredibly sexy together, that this was more than enough to carry the story.
So I can not say enough good things about Strait Laced. I was expecting to really like it just because this is one of my tropes of choice. But nothing prepared me for how much I would absolutely ADORE this one. I hope you all will give it a try as I can highly recommend this book.