As a NYC realtor, Jason is successful and wealthy. He has everything he needs, except more tax write-offs. When his friend and business manager suggests that Jason get married to score additional write-offs, the idea starts to grow on Jason. Except, Jason has no idea who he could possibly marry. He has never even come close to having that serious of a relationship and he doesn’t want to add any complications to the plan. At first, the idea of marrying his friend, Quinn, seems wild as neither of them are interested in men. But Quinn could certainly use the financial help and viewing it as a business arrangement may work out the best for both men.
Quinn is trying to make it as an artist, but he’s struggling financially. He still hasn’t fully gotten over his fiancé dumping him and he’s too proud to ask for any kind of financial help from his friends. He’s been close friends with Jason for years, but certainly never thought about marrying the man. A deal is struck and the men get married in secret, figuring not much will change about their lives. But everything starts to change as the men notice more things about each other and come to rely on their safe, quiet moments at home sparked with attraction. What started as a business arrangement may give the men everything that was always right in front of them.
I had not heard of author Mia Monroe until I saw this book on social media and thought it looked like a good addition to New-to-Me-Author Week as part of our Reading Challenge Month. And, the fact that it is a friends-to-lovers book further made it enticing, as well as it being told in alternating first person point of view. The book opens with Jason trying to wrangle his immense finances as he’s maxed out on deductions and the only areas he can’t take advantage of are the ones involving marriage. Jason hadn’t thought he would get married. His relationships are short lived and he’s fine with that. But the financial savings is what really attracts him to the deal.
Quinn is at the end of his financial rope. He hasn’t made it as an artist yet and he’s sold most of his possessions to make rent, but it’s still not enough. His friends would help him out, but he’s too proud to ask. The offer from Jason comes at the perfect time and, while he likes Jason, he never thought about marrying the man. Jason can appreciate a good-looking man, but never had any desire to date one, while Quinn’s story is a little different.
The beginning of the book was a little slow for me, but that had to do with the marriage of convenience aspect. We are told that the men have been close friends for years, but we are not shown much of that so it took a little while for me to become settled with the story. For a friends to lovers book, I wanted to see a little more connection than we were shown between them. Once the men started acknowledging their attraction for each other, around the 25% mark, things picked up for me.
The attraction between the men was simmering there right below the surface and once they start acknowledging it, the men are hot together. Even just the chemistry around them sizzles. Their physical relationship then progresses at an expected pace as Jason tries to make sense of his feelings for a man. Their intimate encounters lead to Jason admitting that he wants to give up control in the bedroom and while it is discussed a little, that dynamic gets dropped and it would have been great to see that explored more since it was introduced as an important aspect to both men. It was also a little more difficult to forget I was reading with this one as the dialogue wavered between more “dude bro” speech to then becoming softer and poetic and the two aspects didn’t always transition well for me.
While there is an epilogue to the book, the ending came off as abrupt to me. There were areas of the book that didn’t all work for me, but Deviate offered a decent friends to lovers story based in NYC. The series will follow along with popular tropes and the next MC was introduced briefly at the end of this book. The great chemistry between the men rounded this story out for me and there was enough here to make me want to continue on with the next book.
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 a bundle of fabulous books donated by Carina Press! Commenters will also be entered to win one of our three amazing Grand Prize book bundles. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on New-to-Me Author Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.