When Ryan sees Johnny at a party, he is immediately drawn to the gorgeous blonde. Ryan has never been attracted to men, but something about Johnny just calls to him and he decides to go for it. The guys have a hot night together and Ryan realizes that he is clearly into men after all.
When Johnny ends up moving into the house next door to Ryan’s, the guys rekindle their connection. Both men are interested in hooking up again, so they decide to have some no strings sex. Johnny has been burned before and isn’t interested in a relationship. And Ryan is still exploring and coming to terms with his bisexuality. So getting together for regular hookups seems like the perfect solution.
The more time they spend together, however, the more Ryan and Johnny begin seeing each other as more than just a sex partner. Both guys are starting to get interested in something more serious, but neither man wants to admit it. Now Ryan and Johnny need to work up the nerve to share their feelings with one another if they have a hope for something deeper between them.
Pretty in Pink is the sixth book in Jay Northcote’s Housemates series. The books all feature college-age guys living in shared houses. The characters often appear in one another’s books, and in this case the story has appearances by Sid from Starting From Scratch as Johnny’s best friend and Ewan from Practice Makes Perfect as Ryan’s confident, among others. But while being familiar with the other stories may enhance your enjoyment here, you can definitely read this without having read the other books.
Housemates is a light and entertaining, new adult series that focuses primarily on guys having new sexual experiences. In this case, Ryan is exploring his newfound bisexuality. I appreciated that Ryan just jumps right into things, a bit nervous, but willing to act on his attraction without too much fuss. It does throw him a bit, and he is definitely not ready to come out right away, but I liked that it isn’t met with a whole lot of angst. The guys are sexy together and the story nicely explores Ryan figuring things out and finding his way with Johnny. I also appreciated that while Johnny is a more androgynous guy, there is never any indication that Ryan thinks of him as a girl, or is only attracted to him because of his more femme side.
I did feel like the book gets a little repetitive however. The guys get in this pattern of hooking up, followed by awkwardness as they either don’t know how to act around each other or are misreading what the other man wants. This cycle is pretty much carried on throughout the book. It leads to some other issues, namely that by the end of the story we are supposed to see them as having a real romantic connection and a solid relationship, yet they barely ever interact outside of sex. Aside from one evening early on where they go out for drinks, they literally barely talk at all aside from arranging hookups and their conversation while actually having sex. So buying them having real feelings for each other out of that was difficult. Which brings me to the other issue, in that these guys are just not communicating, which drives the conflict in frustrating ways. Both guys want each other, but neither one will admit it. So they are talking around each other, misunderstanding each other, each upset that the other isn’t interested without actually asking, etc. It made for some frustrating reading at times, particularly with regard to Ryan who jumps to conclusions and totally freaks out instead of just talking to Johnny.
So I found this one entertaining, as I do enjoy this series and find it hits the spot for sexy, easy reads with a new adult bent. I like how the story (and the series) really shows these young men exploring their lives and their sexuality in interesting ways. And I liked Johnny and Ryan together. But I did need more from the relationship side if I was going to buy these guys as so emotionally connected by the end of the story, and I could have used a little more talking between them.
P.S. The title presumably refers to the fact that at one point Johnny wears some hot pink lacy women’s underwear, but other than that, the story doesn’t feature much of a cross dressing element.
Also that cover! Hot!