Rating: 3.75 stars
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Alex Nichols’ boyfriend dumped him 8 months ago, and since then, he’s been in a funk. But his sister thinks he needs to get out there again and sets him up on a blind date. Alex doesn’t really want to go, but he relents. And then gets pissed when his date is late. But even worse, Alex’s mystery man is none other than Craig Fontaine, his onetime friend turned bully in high school. Craig is model perfect, and apologizes for his behavior. Reluctantly, Alex agrees to continue the date. And surprisingly, the men hit it off.
Alex falls quickly, and Craig finds his perfect match in Alex. But there are things in Craig’s past that he doesn’t want to think about, let alone talk about. And what’s worse, those things are letting Craig go. When a triggering event happens, Craig spirals downward. But Alex’s love and affection is a bright light. With Alex’s help, Craig can finally begin to heal from his past.
I read the first iteration of this story when it was originally released, though I’d forgotten I had until I dove into this story. I was reminded quickly how much I enjoyed Alex and Craig, and while this story isn’t perfect, it has all the elements to make a quick, heartfelt read.
I loved Alex and how even though he was still hurting from Craig’s treatment in the past, he didn’t let that stop him from finding out who Craig has become. It helps that Craig’s apology is sincere, but what’s more, Craig shows Alex how much he’s changed. These guys are hot together and their chemistry is great. The falling in loved happened pretty quickly, but it worked. I believed that these guys were at the right place in their lives to give each other a chance, and that made their love all the better.
Mental illness is a theme throughout this story. Because of Craig’s past, and what he still has to deal with, he has some mental blocks about sharing his truth. More than that, he has his own issues that he hasn’t dealt with. I will take a second here to say that there is suicide talked about in this book, and it is a potential trigger. But I think the author handles it well, for the most part. I would have liked to see a bit more discussion toward the end, and for a bit better resolution for Craig. As it was, that part felt a bit unfinished to me.
The pace was a bit choppy in a few small places and that sped things up a bit too much. It wasn’t a huge deal, really, but it’s worth a mention. That, combined with the ending, left me wanting just a little more where this story was concerned.
But I really liked the MCs and I thought they were great together. I liked the way they held each other up, and I especially enjoyed how understanding and loving Alex was. Definitely worth a read if you have a couple hours and are looking for a story with some depth.