Chet and Mark were close friends growing up, but when their father’s had a falling out, the pair mostly lost touch beyond playing basketball at rival high schools. The bad blood extended to Chet and Mark in college when one of their friends overdosed and Mark blamed Chet for selling him the drugs. So the pair have been mostly avoiding one another on campus, until one night they end up at the same party and a drunken Mark starts a fight. Even thought Chet had nothing to do with the overdose, he has too much pride to defend himself to Mark.
The two men plan to just stay away from each other until they end up at the same internship at a prestigious law firm. Doing well at the summer job could mean big things for their futures. But working together isn’t going to be easy, especially since they are paired up for a research project. However, as much as the guys can’t stand each other, there is also a fierce chemistry between them. Even Mark, who has never been with a guy before (other than one night when Mark and Chet were teens), realizes a fierce attraction. The pair end up having sex as often as they fight and, before long, they realize that there is actually a real relationship forming. Chet and Mark begin to consider if their hate-fueled lust could actually turn into more. But with the family conflict hanging over them, the men have to figure out if there is any way they can build something lasting between them, or if their past will tear it all down.
Try Me is the second book in Neve Wilder’s Extracurricular Activities series. Though we meet both men in the first book, Want Me, and Nate and Eric have cameos here, this story will stand alone just fine. It’s worth noting that we do see the conflict regarding Mark’s assumption of Chet’s role in the overdose in the first book, but it is explained well enough here to follow along. Wilder does a great job here with the sexy, new adult feel. There is a nice sense of exploration as Chet and Mark figure out the emotional and physical connection between them, and the story captures their age well as two men who are just on the cusp of their future, post-college lives. Mark and Chet have a nice tension between them where they are bantering and pushing one another’s buttons, and it makes for fun interaction as they often seem not quite sure if they want to beat one another up or tear each other’s clothes off (and both things happen over the course of the book). So they have a fun dynamic I enjoyed. This book is not quite as heavily a sex romp as the first book (which is super sexy and deliciously steamy), but the men do have a wild sex life and not too many inhibitions.
Aside from the enemies to lovers vibe, the main conflict here revolves around their past and their parents. Their dads used to be business partners before they separated, and Chet’s father was subsequently arrested and jailed for a Ponzi scheme where many people lost their money. It led to Chet’s family losing everything and Chet having to work hard to overcome the burden of a notorious father. He always feels balanced on knife’s edge, working so hard to succeed, but knowing he can lose everything in a minute, especially when he faces discrimination for who his father is. Mark’s dad is now quite successful and not at all interested in Mark befriending Chet again, let alone dating him. So there are major family conflicts here that threaten to derail things between them. The eventual resolution felt somewhat abrupt to me and really out of nowhere. I wanted some more foundation to lead up to it throughout the story, rather than this magic bullet that suddenly made all their problems go away. The ease with which it all resolves just took away from the build up of tension for me.
Overall, I enjoyed returning to this world and reading Mark and Chet’s story. They didn’t have quite the intensity of Nate and Eric for me, but they were a fun couple and I really enjoyed their journey. I am hopeful that Wilder has more stories for us set in this world, as there are a lot of great characters to explore.