Cameron Johnson is an 8th grade history teacher. He enjoys it and has been doing it since he graduated college. He lives in a great house with his sister and his beloved black lab, Winston. Even though Cameron has not been lucky in the love department, he’s lonely and wants to be in a relationship, and it’s absolutely imperative his future significant other loves dogs.
Josh McDowell is an IT specialist at a law firm. He’s good at his job, but he’s not treated well by most of the employees. They use him for his talents, but they make fun of him for being nerdy and for loving his dog, Dolly (the collie). Every time he takes Dolly to the dog park, Josh sees a handsome man with an exuberant black lab. He’s never had the courage to approach him until the day Dolly decides to play with Winston, and Josh has no choice but to talk with Cameron.
Cameron and Josh hit it off right away and leave the park for coffee…their official first date. There are some ups and downs, but the men want to be together and make a family with Winston and Dolly, and they have to get past the growing pains, a jerk of an ex boyfriend, and the bullies at Josh’s job to make it all work.
Oh, how I wanted to like this novella. I love meet cute stories with pets. The blurb grabbed my attention and I settled in for what I hoped would be a fun read. Sadly, I was disappointed. I didn’t connect with the Cameron or Josh. I didn’t feel drawn to them or their relationship, and while I loved Dolly and Winston, they weren’t charming enough for me to get sucked into the story.
Cameron and Josh “meet” at the beginning of the book, even though we’re told Cameron had thought Josh was hot for a while, but he’d been too shy to do anything about it. When they finally do begin a conversation, they cover the usual and expected…their jobs, the dogs…then they decide to go for coffee. I thought that was sweet, but it went downhill from there. When they go on a date to a club, the shyness was out the window and it all seemed to move too fast given the way things started with the men. Of course, I realize this is a novella, so there isn’t a lot of time to make their fall a slow burn, but it seemed to be like a car going from zero to 100 mph in five seconds.
We’re introduced to the “bad guys” after that. A few of the employees at the law firm are serious jerks, but the worst of the worst is Cameron’s ex, Lance. Lance insisted Cameron choose between him and Winston. We all know who he chose, but Lance just won’t let go. He’s downright creepy and I do think the author did a great job in making me feel like I needed to wash my hands after the scenes he was in.
Things continue to move quickly, but not at such a breakneck speed. However, I still wasn’t connecting. There was some conflict, nothing major, but it felt a little manufactured to me, and the reactions were a little over the top. For instance, Lance, the slimy ex, makes sure Josh sees him kissing Cameron’s hand. Naturally, Josh is upset, but he’s automatically thinking the worst.
Josh tamped down his anger and frustration. He smacked the steering wheel. If Cam didn’t want to see only him…then…fuck. He should have sorted out exactly what he wanted from Cameron.
Josh automatically assumes Cameron wants fluidity rather than monogamy and didn’t stop to ask. In the end, Cameron wants to apologize, but…
“‘Think you can give us another chance?” Cameron’s shoulders sagged. “Josh?'”
He wanted to make Cameron twist a little longer. Was it mean? Probably, but he didn’t care. When Cameron bowed his head, Josh relented. “I can'”
Josh then tells Cameron he was cute when he begged. He lost me right then. As I mentioned, I already felt I wasn’t connected, but at that point, I completely disconnected. There was no coming back. Even though Cameron was fine, I wasn’t. I don’t really want to give away more than I already have, but I’m going to tell you there was another incident where Josh disappointed me. I started thinking Cameron was a little too good for him.
The ending wasn’t far behind, and it wrapped up neatly and as expected. Once again, I’ll give the author credit for the unique way it all came about. All in all, while I’m disappointed in The One I Want, I didn’t hate it. This is the first book in a series, and I’m going to say I’d be willing to read the second installment, just to find out if my feelings about this one are a fluke.