When Cal was in college, he met Andrew and fell hard and fast. Andrew though, would be attentive one moment and then Cal wouldn’t hear from him for days or weeks at a time. Cal was inexperienced in all the ways of relationships and he soaked up every moment of attention that Andrew gave him. Until, Andrew broke his heart. At least, that’s how Cal remembers it.
It’s been over three years since Cal has seen Andrew, but he has never forgotten him. He has also not gotten over him and compares every other man to Andrew. Cal wants to have a relationship, but he can’t seem to let go of the memory of Andrew.
Just when Andrew meets a guy he feels he could spend time with, the holidays approach and his younger sister, Claire, brings home her boyfriend to meet the family. Cal always dreamed of seeing Andrew once again, but is shocked to see Andrew dating Claire. Now Cal is going to show Andrew what he left behind.
Rob Loveless is a new-to-me author and the publisher tags on this one had me interested. Storylines where siblings wind up dating or sleeping with the same person aren’t my go-to trope, but with tags like jealousy, unrequited love, cheating, and revenge, I was intrigued.
The set up and the story here is a bit off color and the blurb does call it “darkly humorous,” which of course is open to interpretation. We get caught up with Cal quickly and where he is in life. He’s 25 and has a job he likes, but can’t find a relationship. He had a bad experience with Andrew and is afraid to commit and even though the relationship with Andrew was short and it’s been over for years, it was intense for Cal and he can’t forget Andrew.
The book offers a few chapters of flashbacks that are well spaced throughout the book that gives Cal and Andrew’s story. Their relationship was shown as being a bit off from the beginning, from how they met to the way Andrew would pop in and out of Cal’s life. Cal was a virgin and, while cautious, got attached quickly, but when the relationship with Andrew ended, Cal never had any closure. He wanted closure, but even more, he wanted Andrew back, but not in his parents’ house as his sister’s boyfriend.
The writing here at times is evident of a newer author and the narrative felt like it tried too hard in places. The storyline also lacked that depth and emotional punch I needed to pull this all together. I would not say this is a romance at all and both Andrew and Cal are hard to like and with everything Andrew did, I needed more to his motivations and a lot was left unsaid and unresolved. Cal also has mental health issues that are mentioned early on and I didn’t care for the way that was handled and it was mostly brushed aside.
Still, I became invested in the main focus of this story and how it was all going to blow up and then play out. However, the ending was not good for me at all and the final pages didn’t make the journey ultimately worthwhile.
I always appreciate a book that goes in directions that aren’t seen as frequently and it’s important for readers to note the tags to see if this will work for them, even in a general sense. But overall, this needed a little more polish to make it all shine.