In stories about twins, there’s often a good twin and a bad twin. It’s Aiden’s misfortune that the twin he went out with — and broke up with — happens to be the wrong one. Aiden is a talented designer and tailor who, even at his young age, owns his own business and a cat. The only thing he’s really missing from life is a little more love. Sure, he has his Gran, but that’s not the same. Aiden had thought he’d found someone: a tall, dark and handsome judge who wined him and dined him, but it just didn’t work out. So, Aiden turned his attention back to his own work. Summoned to a wedding to help make some last minute alterations to a dress, who does Aiden run into but the judge.
Only, Anthony pretends not to know who he is, which hurts Aiden, and pisses him off, but all of that soon turns to confusion as the mirror image of Anthony, dressed as a groom, comes down the stairs. It soon becomes clear what happened. Gregory had been sowing some wild oats in the weeks before his wedding, and Aiden just happened to be one of them. Furious, Aiden stalks off, leaving the unfortunate bride and her dress far behind.
Anthony can’t help but be just as confused and just as pissed. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Gregory is on fiance number three, and Anthony knows that Greg runs around with both boys and girls, but why did Greg have to screw around with someone who is so perfectly Anthony’s type? After telling the bride the truth, and having to deal with their angry father, Anthony decides to find the lovely tailor and apologize. And maybe find some way to make it up to him?
Aiden is a young man — only 23 and just out of college — who hasn’t had the greatest life. His father died when he was very young and his mother left him with his grandmother before taking off to parts unknown. He doesn’t even know where she is, and, to be honest, he doesn’t care. He’s always been pale and fragile and was bullied at school for being socially awkward. Even the teachers used to joke that he needed some “special” education due to his crippling shyness. In college it didn’t get much better as his first boyfriend slept with him as a bet and boyfriend number two was using him as a fuck buddy (and also engaged to a woman!) while Aiden thought they had something special. Seeing Gregory use him the same way Duane had brings back not only bad memories, but the same crippling insecurity and self doubts. If it weren’t for the fact that Anthony is both the man of his dreams and the complete opposite of Gregory, Aiden would run back into the arms of his self-imposed celebacy.
Anthony was never his father’s favorite, but when he came out to them on Christmas vacation, his father’s ambivalence turned to utter dislike. Now Anthony’s the scapegoat of the family while his brother, Gregory, can do no wrong … even as Gregory never finished college, doesn’t have a job, and still lives at home. However, Gregory’s straight — at least he hides his bisexuality from his father — which makes him perfect. Anthony’s learned to live with that by simply not giving it any thought. As a judge, a publicly elected figure, he has to be careful with his relationships. There are those who wouldn’t care who he slept with, and those who would care very much. So, while he’s not in the closet, he’s not exactly open. That doesn’t stop him from wanting to find someone to love and settle down with. He already had his college years of random hookups and one-night stands. Now he wants something real, and he thinks Aiden might just be the one.
There’s a 10+ years age gap between the two of them, though Anthony seems to find Aiden’s youthfulness and innocence to be just his cup of tea, and Aiden is more than willing to let Anthony take care of him. Together they’re almost … too cute. Tall and dark and dominant Anthony next to small, frail, and pale Aiden who looks up at his love from beneath pale eyelashes. There is nothing wrong with effeminate men, but Aiden doesn’t really rise beyond the stereotype of damsel in distress. Anthony, too, feels rather vaguely “nice guy” without much to him.
A great deal is made of the trauma in Aiden’s past and Anthony’s issues with his family, but it’s never dealt with beyond exposition. The side characters of Mason, Gran, and Gregory lack nuance and subtlety, played mostly for laughs — and there’s a lot of laughing when Mason’s in the room. Neither Anthony nor Aiden can stop laughing with him or at him no matter what he does. It felt very forced, to me, but comedy is highly subjective. I just found the sheer amount of guffawing and giggling at every single thing Mason said to be a bit much.
Mason, himself, is a creepy pervert. He’s been Anthony’s friend since college — though there’s never been anything romantic between them — and has severe boundary issues. Whether it’s making Anthony listen as Mason is getting a blowjob over the phone or walking in (and pausing to watch) as Aiden and Anthony are having their own intimate moment of fun in the kitchen. He also listens, avidly, as they have sex. It’s not funny, it’s not cute, and it’s … unsettling. But, since Aiden and Anthony seem to think it’s the height of wit, I guess they don’t mind.
I chose this story for our New-to-Me Author Week as part of our Reading Challenge Month because, well, I’ve never read anything by this author! This story is a quick, light summer read that has quite a few steamy scenes without too much drama to get in the way. One thing I particularly enjoyed — aside from the crisp writing style and fast pace of the story — was the argument at the end. Aiden did something wrong, and when he was caught out, he didn’t just confess and weep (though there were some tears). He apologized! It wasn’t just a token “I’m sorry” to fix things; he knew what he’d done was wrong and owned up to it, and admitted he should have spoken to Anthony about it. Anthony, for his part, was hurt and angry, but — while he did need time to cool off — didn’t end the relationship out of spite. He just needed a few days to think about it.
I honestly enjoy when adults behave like adults and when people use their words. Too many other stories would have made that scene something comical or had them break up violently so they could come back together. Instead, Kay treated her characters like people and had them act like it. I really enjoyed the way that scene was handled.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for New-To-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of six $20 gift cards to NineStar Press. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a Kindle Fire filled with Dreamspun Desires/Beyond books, plus a 3-month subscription!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New-To-Me Author Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.