Frank Sheldon lives his life how he wants. Mostly. He flies the LifeFlight helicopter and tries not to let his family drag him into too much. But Frank’s true hopes and dreams were killed when he was outed the year before DADT was repealed and he was forced to take an other than honorable discharge from the Air Force. When he meets the geeky, cute Benjamin Kaplan, Frank is more than interested, but Benjamin won’t give him the time of day.
After the death of his parents, Benjamin gave up on his dreams and found an alternate one in taking care of his sister. Now, ten years later, he and his sister are working through the backlash of something horrific that happened to her. Benjamin also runs an untraceable muckraking website, which airs dirty politicians’ terrible acts, but that’s not his main focus.
Frank is forced into helping his sister and her campaign for governor. He believes in his sister and her message, but he doesn’t like being on display. He has been for most of his life, and he’s over it. In the hopes of getting his father off his back, Frank approaches Benjamin with the idea of backing Benjamin’s video game so that he can invest in something worthwhile.
Benjamin makes it clear they can’t date, and Frank will take the friendship that ensues. However, both Frank and Benjamin want each other and all this time together only deepens their attraction. But just as they finally get going, secrets are exposed that threaten everything. Frank and Benjamin have to work together to resolve it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and the love they found is in jeopardy. But if they can get through this, they might just find their happily ever after.
The blurb for this one intrigued me, and I’m a fan of the author, so I picked it up. I will say that there were some parts that were a mixed bag for me and at odds with my personal preference. I will also give a content warning that rape is discussed in the book.
I really liked both the MCs. They are strong characters on their own and they have their own moral convictions. I really enjoyed the way Cooper developed them both. Their chemistry was electric and came through loud and clear. These guys were made for one another, and they’re relationship, even when it was just friends, really served to improve one another. I loved that Frank was persistent without being pushy, and they he sought to do things for Benjamin that Benjamin would really enjoy. It really made for a lovely relationship.
This book is a bit long and there were some portions where the pacing dragged just a little. But for the most part, it was very well done. The balance between the character development, the relationship, and the political campaign was nice. None of the elements had too much page time before we moved to something else, and it all tied together well. I was also fairly impressed with the depth of information presented about campaigns, computer science, hacking, and aeronautical engineering without it ever feeling like an info dump. It served to enhance the plot and move it along without being overwhelming.
But I will say here that there was one major downer for me. Benjamin kept a big secret, two really, from Frank and he did it on purpose. It wasn’t to benefit Frank in any way, and it was a rather important information for Frank to know. But Benjamin didn’t speak of it and of course, then it was outed spectacularly, making Frank feel betrayed. This is one of my least favorite plot devices, and I found the way it was handled somewhat irritating. A little conversation would have cleared things up between them, both before the secret broke and then after, and yet it persisted. It did not work for me at all.
But on the whole, the characters and the relationship went a long way to making up for that for me. It’s a really solid read, and if you like complex and well developed stories, then consider picking this one up.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.