When Felix Jackson and Max Travers meet in a bookstore, it is lust at first sight. The men are in bed together within about ten minutes of meeting and the attraction between them is fierce. Both Max and Felix are no strings kind of guys, but the sex is hot enough that they keep coming back for more. However, both men know the rules; this is about sex and nothing more. Neither man is interested in a relationship.
As the weeks go by, Felix and Max continue to get together for regular hookups, but they are also spending more time together outside of the bedroom. Felix finds he really enjoys Max’s company, and the man seems to see him like few other people do. While Felix is careful to keep his emotions from showing, he realizes to his shock that he has developed feelings for Max. While Felix never pictured himself in a real relationship, Max may be worth breaking all those rules. But while Felix’s heart has become involved, Max is clear that he is not interested in anything more serious between them, and Felix knows the time has come to end things before he falls any further.
Getting over Max isn’t easy; in fact, the early days are just terrible. But more than two years later, Felix has managed to move on. He hasn’t found love again, nor does he expect to, but he is moving forward. It doesn’t help that escaping Max fully is impossible. The two have many mutual friends and find themselves often in each other’s orbit. Seeing Max still hurts, but Felix does his best to keep an emotional distance.
After losing Felix, Max realized he made a huge mistake and has been regretting it ever since. But Felix has made it clear he has moved on and Max doesn’t want to hurt him any further. However, when Max gets injured and Felix agrees to help him out, Max realizes it may be his chance to show Felix how much he means to him. It won’t be easy, but maybe Max can find a way to prove to Felix that they are meant to be together after all.
Every time I read a Lily Morton book, I find myself transported, and it is hard to pick a favorite after loving so many. But After Felix has definitely found a place among my all time Morton favorites. This is the third book in her Close Proximity series, but the story stands alone plot-wise just fine. However, I think you will definitely have some extra fun if you have read Best Man, where both men are introduced and we see the tension between them, as well as Risk Taker, as Ivo is a prominent side character here. Misha, from Charlie Sunshine, is Felix’s cousin and he makes a brief cameo as well.
What makes this book really unique among other “lovers reunited” type stories is the structure. Typically, we join the story for the second half of the journey, as the characters make their way back to each other again. While there may be flashbacks or other recaps to get readers caught up on the relationship history, we usually focus on the reuniting stage. In After Felix, we get both the before and after. In fact, the table of contents lays it out right there for us, dividing the book into “before” and “after.” So we spend real time with Felix and Max as they jump into bed together and have the early stages of their connection, right up through the time things fall apart. Then, the book skips ahead a couple of years to when they make their journey back to one another. It really works so beautifully, as I felt so fully and completely invested in these men and their relationship because I could see it developing. So by the time they are finding their way together again, I felt totally connected to their experience. Morton also does a nice job with the POVs. We are largely in Felix’s head, but we get a couple of key chapters from Max’s POV, so we know exactly how he is feeling as he realizes his mistake letting Felix go.
I say this often, but one of the most impressive things about Morton’s writing is her character development, and After Felix is no exception. Felix and Max are so layered and we get to know them so well. I could understand what was driving each of them as they made decisions and mistakes. These guys are fun and charming, and they have Morton’s signature banter and a lot of sass (particularly Felix). But at the same time, each of them has some emotional things to work through and this story allows us to see it all play out.
I completely fell in love with Felix and Max here and, as I said, I think this book takes its place among my very favorites of Morton’s work. I can recommend it highly, along with everything she writes.