Chance Arden has to move in a week because his landlords of the past three years have decided to sell his property and move to Florida. He’s in a bit of a state over it, and not actually believing that his meddling sister is reaching out to stranger on Craigslist with an over-the-top ad for a housemate. Tyler Denison, the man with extra room in his home, is apparently extremely gay and wants the world to know it. He also loves music and works from home. His rent is reasonable, and the room is available immediately, so Chance’s sister actually replies to Tyler’s ad for him.
Chance is bisexual, out only to his sister and her family (his only family as his parents have died), but he’s never had a boyfriend. Tyler is—unfortunately?—exactly the type of man that turns Chance’s crank. And, the interview is quite a tense affair what with Chance trying not to ogle the man who may be his landlord and housemate. But they do hit it off and Chance accepts Tyler’s offer of the room to rent. As it turns out, the house is a ten-minute walk to the middle school where Chance is a 7th grade math teacher. It’s seems that things are going well, but each man is having lustful thoughts for the other, and that’s a problem.
Tyler only wants a roommate because he’s lonely. His conservative, religious parents shunned him as a teen, and the home he lives in belonged to his Aunt Dee who took him in when he was cast out. She was the mother of his heart, but she died not long ago. The big house is too empty for an extrovert like Tyler, so he decided to offer a room for rent. And, Chance is a good roommate, a big change from his first few crazy, homophobic housemates. He also loves when Chance’s family comes to visit; he has two young nephews on whom he dotes, and of course, his meddling sister and her engaging husband. Tyler’s history of abandonment by his family makes these close and loving connections especially poignant. He doesn’t want to scare Chance away by lusting after his straight roomie. Well, he’s sure Chance isn’t gay in any case. It’s never dawned on Chance to reveal his true sexuality, and he doesn’t want to admit his growing attraction to Tyler. He needs this place to live, and if they mess up their growing friendship with all the sexytimes he desperately wants to have with Tyler, it could completely unsettle his living situation.
It’s a couple months down the road when things come to a breaking point. It’s a watershed moment that causes each man to re-evaluate their relationship and consider moving from friends to lovers, and how that might impact their living situation.
I selected this book for my Self Published Book Week review in our Reading Challenge Month because I’m a sucker for roommates-to-lovers tropes and I totally LOVE punny t-shirts, so I had high hopes for enjoying this read. This is a dual-narrated story, so we get insight into both Tyler’s and Chance’s thoughts and motivations. I generally like these stories, especially when the biggest obstacle to connection is a person’s fears of rejection. In this case, however, the repetition of scenes and experiences slowed the pace for me. It’s always nice to get internal insights, but I wanted to stay with the plot, not rewind. Beyond that, the characters are fun and engaging. Their mutual love of music is a good jumping off point for building a friendship, and it serves as a counterpoint as they build a relationship, too. Their discomfort over shielding their attractions is pleasantly awkward to experience as a reader.
This is a bit of a slow burn, but once these guys decide to light the match, their love story ignites like a brush fire. Their chemistry is intense, and Chance’s determination to care for Tyler is endearing. The second half of the book brings new conflict in an unexpected form, but no separation for this couple. It also brings a reckoning for Tyler and his estranged family that’s more closure than resolution. Usually when I pick a book for Self Published Book Week I choose one by an established author who is now going indie. So, for an indie author releasing her first novel, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it for people who like contemporary romance, roommates-to-lovers, and twenty-something guys who aren’t afraid to be a bit silly and a bit vulnerable and (eventually) really honest.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of ten HUGE prize bundles donated by some fabulous self published authors (you can see the full prize list here)! Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by NineStar Press: a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 NineStar Press books! You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on Self Published Book Week here.