Christopher might wish for the solitude of his own apartment, but being the wingman and designated driver for his good friend, Rev, is something he doesn’t really mind doing. It’s that loyalty that puts him at the leather bar downtown where he sits nursing the one drink he allows himself. When a pretty young thing offers to buy him another, Christopher can’t help but be interested. Maybe it’s the fact that the innocence radiating off the guy makes him seem so out of place at the bar, or maybe it’s that same shy demeanor that captures Christopher so completely, but before he can blink, he is back at the younger man’s apartment ready to move the night onto something more sexually satisfying than babysitting a friend.
Gage Kimball has left his restrictive religious home for the chance to meet men and explore the life he knows he is meant to be living. With his guitar and limited possessions in tow, the sweetly innocent singer hits the city ready to make changes in his previously very sheltered life. When he meets Christopher at the bar, something clicks, and before Gage knows it, he’s invited the man back to his place. But the moment that Christopher finds out just how innocent Gage is, he backs off and offers to be friends only. Frustrated and more than just bit hurt by the older man’s decision, but realizing he knows no one in town, Gage reluctantly agrees.
Over the next few months, Gage plays in different clubs and gains himself a boyfriend, Bodie. Interestingly, Bodie is a friend of Christopher’s—one he introduced Gage to when he brought him along with a few other friends to hear Gage perform. Even though he enjoys being with Bodie, Gage can’t help but still wish he and Christopher had gotten together. Little does he know, the other man feels just the same.
Jamie Craig has rereleased All That You Do, and with no stated changes to the book, I assume it is the same as it was when originally published. There were several things to like about this story—Gage being the main one. The strength and courage it took for him to move to a town where he knew no one and pursue a music career was one thing, but the fact that his entire support system, aka his family, denounced and shunned him made him the most intriguing character in the novel for me. He was also the one that I felt grew most emotionally. He matured before our eyes and what was an admittedly interesting young man morphed into an even more appealing and realistic person over the course of the story. The potential for him to use the hurt and frustration he felt about Christopher essentially sidelining him because he wasn’t worldly or sexually experienced enough could have easily made Gage a whiny and needy character that had lots less appeal. I really liked that he turned out to be the polar opposite.
I wish I could say that this story really captured me and held my interest. However, the decision that Christopher hastily makes and decides to live with for far too long regarding his attraction to Gage was just a bit too strange for me. Even when, later in the novel, Christopher explains his reasons, I thought they were a bit lame and didn’t really understand. When I combine that with the way in which Bodie and Gage never seemed to actually mature sexually or emotionally and that it went on throughout most of the book, there is a strange sort of love triangle that really ends up hurting poor Bodie the most. In many ways, I felt the drama surrounding Christopher’s decision to put Gage in the friend zone was made simply to add conflict to the plot and never really amounted to anything but frustration for both men in the end.
Jamie Craig certainly knows how to write a great story and All That you Do had the real potential to be outstanding. I just couldn’t come to terms with how the characters made decisions for those they claimed to care about without really discussing it with them. This was a novel that stumbled along emotionally when it should have turned the corner long before it did and brought together the two men who obviously really liked and wanted each other from the beginning.