Shohei is an accountant, and it’s his busy season. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of time right now, he’s still up for going to game night at his friend’s house. Shohei does have a little trouble meeting new people, so he is surprised to find himself face to face with a man he’s never met, Reggie, who is familiar with a card game called Alchemy: the Convocation (Think Magic: the Gathering).
Reggie’s a bartender and models on the side. Even though he hasn’t played the game in a while, he feels drawn to the handsome man with the AtC cards. Reggie is bi and thinks Shohei is hot, so he asks if maybe he’d like to get together again. Shohei agrees, and they exchange numbers.
When the men meet up, a misunderstanding leads to a kiss. Shohei has always considered himself to be straight, but when their evening ends, he can’t stop thinking about Reggie or his lips. Admitting he may like to experiment a little to see if maybe he isn’t so straight after all, Shohei confess this to Reggie, and Reggie can’t pass up the opportunity to be Shohei’s guinea pig.
What starts out as a little curiosity grows deeper, and soon, it’s not just for fun anymore. Will Shohei realize he’s definitely not as straight as he thought? And can he accept Reggie as the man for him?
I’ve been with the Oahu Lovers series from the beginning, and I really enjoy the books. I like the Hawaiian setting, the richly written characters, and how even though the books don’t seem like they connect, they do have a common thread…games. That speaks to the geek in me, and my geek loves to read books that she can sink her teeth into. Anyway, I am thrilled to see book three has arrived.
This installment is the story of Shohei and Reggie, two men who enjoy the same card game, but there’s a pull between them that may start with cards, but definitely doesn’t end with them. I like their chemistry. It’s not instantly hot. Instead, it’s kind of a slow burn. However, once it does gain intensity…whew! The men embark on a sexual journey that can melt a Kindle right in your hands.
Both Shohei and Reggie are nice guys. They work hard and want a good life. Reading about them makes me see they’ve both got something missing in their lives. They have nice friends, and their families are accepting of them and their choices. The only real issue is some of Reggie’s relatives make fun of him about his modeling. Because of this, Reggie keeps it secret from Shohei. I can’t exactly see why he feels he has to, though. I didn’t feel like it should have been a big deal, and I didn’t get a disapproving vibe from Shohei, but it does add another level to Reggie’s character.
Speaking of character, I find both Shohei and Reggie to be nicely fleshed out. They’re definitely multi-dimensional. They feel like real people to me. I can almost hear their thoughts and feel their emotions, like Reggie’s embarrassment when he kisses Shohei thinking he, too, is bi (or even gay), or Shohei’s confusion when he’s unable to stop thinking about Reggie when he’s always thought himself straight.
Of course, the “experiment” story has been done many times, but Ready for You makes it feel fresh. To me, it’s because of Shohei and his timid, but enthusiastic interest in being with a man. He knows what he wants to try, and once he knows Reggie is willing…KABOOM! Sparks start to fly, and they keep right on going until the end of the book. These guys (and the story) grab hold and don’t let go. Shohei and Reggie made me stay up all night because I didn’t want to have to wait until the next day to see what happened.
Along with Shohei and Reggie, there are some minor characters who play a role in Ready for You. They’re friends, co-workers, and family. Several of them cross over from the previous two stories in the series, Brave for You, and Change for You. It’s nice to be able to revisit them and see what they’re up to. I am impressed at how the author put them all together like pieces of a puzzle.
The ending was predictable, but that’s perfectly ok. It feels completely natural, and I’m completely satisfied with it. I feel as if Shohei and Reggie are my friends…and their friends are my friends. I suppose you could read Ready for You as a standalone. There is a nice bit of exposition, but honestly? I really think it’s best if the first two books are read before diving right in. As I mentioned, there are characters who cross over, and that would help with knowing who’s who. Also, they’re great books on their own. I am hoping there will be more stories in the Oahu Lovers series because I don’t feel ready to give them up quite yet. I totally recommend picking these up.