Narrator: Kenneth Obi
Length: 5 hours, 52 minutes
Artie’s life has never felt less perfect. His roommate — who never cleans up after himself, smokes pot, deals drugs, and has questionable taste in friends — got him arrested! Artie didn’t know there was anything more in that brownie than chocolate, and if he had, he never would have accepted it. The next thing he knows he’s nudged awake by a lady cop, while he’s wearing nothing more than a sheet, and put in jail! No, Artie’s life is far from perfect, until August walks into it.
Tall, dark, and dangerous, August walks into the jail like he owns it. Dramatic and handsome in his tux, August gets Artie out of jail and lends a sympathetic ear to his troubles. He exudes charisma and charm and makes Artie feel safe on a day he desperately needs it. August makes him breakfast, takes him out to dinner, charms his mother, and has Artie dreaming about what it might feel like to kiss those lips… but it all comes crashing down when his roommate finds him.
“They’re after you,” he warns Artie, talking about the mob, talking about people hunting him down and killing him! He tells Artie that he needs to get out of town. Afraid that they’ll hurt him and everyone he loves, Artie makes the desperate choice to run. To keep his mother safe, and his sister — and August, who has become more important to him with each passing day — Artie gets in his pink car and drives away, hoping August will understand why he did what he did. If the man of his dreams got hurt because of him, Artie would never forgive himself.
August is more than a bail bondsman. He’s also a bounty hunter. He has no intention of letting Artie escape, and it’s not just the money. It’s because he loves the flighty, shy, and sweet young man. He’d do anything it takes to keep Artie safe, he’d do anything it takes to make him happy. And he’ll do anything and everything to bring Artie home.
This story is as cute as it gets. It’s so sweet it makes my teeth hurt. Artie is, in a word, adorable. He drives a pink car, he watches old movies, dotes on his mother and sister, and doesn’t like to swear. His favorite word is “gosh” and I hope you don’t mind it, because you’ll be hearing it a lot. Artie is clueless, so much so that it takes him some time to figure out August has asked him out on a date. Several times he has to ask for clarification, with a ‘gosh’ each time. Fortunately, August finds Artie adorable.
August, like Artie, grew up with old movies and a loving mother and sister. They have a great deal in common, which helps take the instant physical attraction and lets it grow into a sugary sweet relationship. Where Artie is shy and wide-eyed, August is mature and controlled, almost suave, in a Cary Grant sort of way. He’s old-fashioned (much like Artie), and though only a few years separate them, he comes off far more mature. Everything about Artie charms August; he wants nothing more than to wrap him up and take him home.
There are parts of this book that feel heavily cliched and almost offensive. Artie, in some passages, comes across not just as emotional and gentle, but almost stereotypically feminine. Adding to that his language choices, such as calling alcohol “yucky stuff,” or referring more than once to the cop that arrested him — and saw him naked — as a “lady cop,” the constant use of “gosh,” and a set idea of what masculine was, and whether something gay could even be masculine, this book made me wonder just how old Artie was. Through most of the book he came across as young and innocent, or at least sheltered, but there were one or two times he came across as much younger, both emotionally and intellectually.
I have no problem with books that refrain from coarse language, but the overuse of gosh had me gritting my teeth more than once. I also have no problem with Artie’s character in general, but there were times it became a caricature, which didn’t happen with August. It led to an unbalanced story, character wise. The plot is fun, but there are some lulls in the pacing, such as August taking Artie to dinner where they talk about Artie’s interest in acting, or descriptions of each and every course of the dinner. They’re not bad, but they linger a little much and become less a seduction and more an advertisement for a restaurant.
The narrator of the audio book, Kenneth Obi, did an amazing job. He had to sing three or four times, both a pop-y boy band song and an older torch song sung by a woman, and managed to do both pretty well. His August sounded a little like John Hamm, while his Artie had a soft feminine lilt, which, I think, suited the character. If you’re interested in this book, I do recommend the audio version.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.