Felipe Suero is a twenty-two year old, half-Mexican, half-Filipino man looking for a serious partner. He’d fallen hard for his last boyfriend, but that guy wanted to keep it casual, which didn’t work for Felipe. His parents and grandparents have all modeled loving, close partnerships and Felipe knows that he’s just not a “casual boyfriend” guy. Felipe’s attention has been snagged by tall, mature Trask Briscoe, a comic shop owner and game master. Felipe may dress as Catwoman one day and Silver Surfer the next, but Trask’s full-sleeved tats and no-nonsense demeanor are catnip to this younger man.
Trask has seen a lot in his 46 years and, despite his attraction, he struggles with the idea that Felipe is barely older than his own sobriety. When he was Felipe’s age, Trask was just getting out of jail for DWI and it took him several more rounds of treatment to get fully clean. Now, Trask lives by his own austere rules, which has shut out partners for several years.
To better connect, Felipe has wheedled Trask into running a Role Playing Game (RPG) for his cast of pals. Trask knows Felipe’s energy and earnestness are a big attraction. The long-standing acquaintance Trask shares with Felipe and his friends is another plus, but will starting something physical mess all that up? Trask has lots of doubts, which mainly center on feeling old, used-up, and not suitable for such a vivacious young man. He also assumes Felipe might be flighty, but their deepening friendship reveals unexpected maturity.
While having a full-time job and going to college, Felipe designs and sews award-winning costumes for himself, other cosplayers, and a local theatre group. Oh, and he raises puppies. Knowing he needs to up the pressure on Trask, Felipe gives Trask one of his precious puppies, which helps Trask open his heart to love again. The respect they develop for one another is strong, which facilitates a rapidly developing bond, once they do become physical. Felipe knows that his family won’t approve of Trask’s age—because they balked at a twelve-year gap with his previous boyfriend—but Felipe doesn’t trust younger men with his heart. He feels like they have too many competing interests, and he’s hates head games.
I really liked how these two kindred spirits connected. Felipe is beloved by his family, but he’s very different from many of them. With the love comes tension. And, it gets complicated when Felipe’s family pretty much wants to meet Trask. Having come from a big family, I felt drawn to both Felipe and Trask on this part—because I’ve been in similar relationship struggles. Trask, who has no family ties to claim, refuses to come between Felipe and his family, but how he went about handling the struggle was kind of unfair. It’s not Felipe’s fault how other people think and act, and Trask’s unilateral decisions were unjust. It took some convincing for him to see how wrong he was, but he sure did the right thing once he was clued in. Both Trask and Felipe have good people around them, with familial and friendly love to spare. Even the biggest critics of Trask are motivated out of a desire for Felipe to have a stable and loving partner.
The way the puppy comes into the story was sweet and fun. I think both characters read as decent guys who have to work on viewing each other’s perspective. While Felipe didn’t mind a boss in the bedroom, he wants a partner every place else. Meanwhile, Trask is so used to being on his own, he doesn’t even see Felipe’s drama as important. They have different styles for confrontation, with Trask more than willing to walk away and keep peace, while Felipe’s a in-your-face, lets-hammer-it-out type of guy. These differences lead to unnecessary struggle, but the resolution is richer for the discussions and revelations they bring.
This is the second book in the Geek Life series that features MCs who love comics, RPGs, and cosplay. This book features a new couple falling in love, but has some chapters that highlight Zack and Miles from A Little Side of Geek, and also a couple that may likely be featured in the next book. It’s not required to read Miles and Zack’s story, but I did like that one, too.
Expect yummy sexytimes here and flirty/dirty banter. They build a tight relationship while also dealing with the very realistic situations of family, disapproving friends, misbehaving pups, and a stark age difference. The name is a bit of a pun, as Felipe is a coffee maven, and Trask delights in surprising him with a good brew on some of their morning-afters. Probably an angel in disguise, right there!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.