Ben Harrison’s sister is getting married to his ex-boyfriend (who is still in the closet) and the last thing Ben wants to do is deal with either member of the unpleasant couple at the wedding. When a friend suggests he bring a fake boyfriend to the wedding, it seems like a good way to put a buffer between him and his sister and ex.
Jonathan Olson is surprised when Ben asks him to go along as his date. Jonathan has always assumed Ben hates him, what with all the glaring and weirdness. As it turns out, Ben has just been super awkward as Jonathan is mostly deaf and Ben hasn’t quite known how to interact with him. But Jonathan figures it is worth the chance to visit Oregon, especially when Ben apologizes for his past behavior (and has learned sign language to better communicate with Jonathan), and the two set off for the wedding.
Things are pretty much as bad as Ben feared, what with his sister the Bridezilla (who still has no idea her fiancé used to date her brother), not to mention ex-boyfriend Damon’s generally smarminess. But having Jonathan around really helps, especially as he fits right in with the rest of Ben’s family. While Ben has sworn off relationships after Damon, he finds himself drawn to Jonathan, and what starts as some fun, no strings sex, actually begins to turn into feelings for both of them. But things at the wedding are turning more chaotic, adding some tension between the two men. And even if they can work past that, neither one thinks the other could really want a relationship. Now Ben and Jonathan need to figure out what they want and be honest with their feelings, and they just may have a chance at happiness together.
Only Love You is the fifth book in J.D. Chambers Only Colorado series and I find this a really fun series with a great ensemble cast. This book stands alone a little better than most in the series as the guys spend much of their time in Oregon. So you could read this fairly well without the others. However, we do get appearances from almost all of the other series characters, as well as a big event for one couple, so being familiar with the series will definitely make this one richer.
Both Jonathan and Ben have been part of past books in the series, and Ben in particular has been a major player. Poor Ben, who has gone through three roommates, each ending up finding true love while he is still off having his one-night stands. If you have been following the series, you have likely been awaiting Ben’s book as I have, so I was really glad to see him get his happy ending here. While Jonathan is an really interesting guy in his own right, this story very much feels like Ben’s journey. First, he has to work through a lot of baggage, both regarding his past with Damon and his relationship with his sister. We learn more about what really happened way back when and it is easy to see why Ben has avoided relationships ever since. We do get some nice closure here, though I did feel like his sister goes from uber-villain to pretty much totally redeemed way too fast. She is almost caricature-level awful and I feel like this part of the plot wraps up too easily after so many years of horrible behavior and bad feelings. But still, it was good to see Ben moving forward, especially as it means he opens himself up to Jonathan.
The other major growth area for Ben is with regard to his interactions with Jonathan and the fact that he is mostly deaf. At first, Ben is pretty rude to Jonathan, out of a combination of ignorance and discomfort. He doesn’t know how to relate to someone who can’t hear and makes a lot of assumptions about Jonathan based on this. I think Chambers does a nice job of allowing Ben to grow from this over the course of the book, without making him feel so boorish that it is a turn off for readers. Even before the fake boyfriend thing, Ben makes an effort to reach out to Jonathan by learning sign language. As they spend time together, he becomes much more aware of what life is like for Jonathan, both in places where he may struggle, but also in the many ways he is just like everyone else. Jonathan is such a great character. He is friendly and fun and outgoing, but also has a biting wit and some snark and sarcasm that make him just a little bit naughty. It is a fun combination and I appreciated that he is clear about what he wants and won’t take any crap from Ben along the way.
So I found this another entertaining installment in the series. I had originally thought this was the end of things, as most of the key players have their stories, but I am really excited to see that Chambers has another book releasing shortly featuring some side characters who I find very intriguing. I am really looking forward to continuing with this great series.