Izzy is living on his own for the first time in a long while, and he’s definitely feeling lonely. But the one thing that has always made him feel connected is putting on a costume and performing for the camera. In his younger days, Izzy found it a way to be uninhibited and free. But now that he’s older, he only signs on and messages with one person. He’s careful to keep all identifying info hidden, and only uses the chat function. But despite the fact that he’s anonymous with this person, and that person with him, it’s still his closest and most intimate relationship.
Kai has watched his best friend and twin brother fall in love, and he’s always contended that he doesn’t need or want a relationship. But he has a big secret. For the past decade, he’s messaged with his costumed cutie online and he sometimes wonders if that is the reason he doesn’t want anything real.
By chance, Izzy reconnects with his childhood best friend. Growing up, River and Kai’s family was his safe haven. When River invites him over for dinner, he gets a chance to reconnect with Kai as well. And because River’s wedding is coming up, and neither Kai nor Izzy have a date, they agree to go together. Sparks fly, and that quiet attraction that has been simmering between them explodes into a hot night together. They decide to see where things go when they get back.
But there are little things that strike Kai, and then his suspicions are confirmed. His costumed cutie is, in fact, his new boyfriend. Once the two of them get everything in the open, they begin exploring more. But Kai holds a lot of shame for what he likes, and tries to rationalize it away. But what they have together is wonderful, if they can just get past this hurdle.
The Geek Next Door is the third book in Cayden’s His Best Friend’s Brother series, and while it can be read as a standalone, I think it works best when read in order. There aren’t any through lines in the series, but the characters are all interconnected, and it adds something extra to have read them all.
Kai plays an important role in the second book, Forbidden Friend, and it’s nice to see him find love and happiness here. He’s staid and practical, introverted, and a bit shy. But he’s steady, and that’s one of the things I liked best about him. It’s one of the things that draws Izzy to him as well. He’s definitely flawed though, mostly in the way he gets all up in his head. He has certain ideas about what is and is not acceptable, and it’s hard for him to change his mind.
Izzy is a total sweetheart, introverted and shy as well. He’s a science geek, and works for the conservation of native plants. He’s also very reserved, and he found a way to be more confident in his sexuality by performing for a camera in costume. He loves the feeling of it. When he finds out that the one person he’s be messaging for years is, in fact, his childhood friend, he only freaks out for a little bit. His connection with Kai is so strong, he can’t wait to keep exploring their relationship.
I liked these guys together, and their chemistry is great. It really drives the story, and there’s no doubt of their connection. There was an easy way they came together that was really nice. I liked the way their personalities fit, and it made everything between them that much more believable. These are two guys who just meld together well.
But I will say that my big issue with the book was the final quarter. I saw the conflict coming a mile away, so it wasn’t surprising (though it did give me a fair bit of anxiety). I understood why the characters reacted the way they did, especially Kai. But I didn’t feel like it was resolved well. These guys spend some time…not exactly apart, but definitely not seeing or talking to each other much. Kai needs to work through what’s in his head, which I never felt that he truly does. He gets some advice, and the next thing we know, he’s just decided he’s going to be fine about it all. For me, the issue he was having was just too big for it to be pushed aside so easily. So while I appreciate the easiness of this story, because sometimes you just need a story of two people falling in love without too much drama, the weight of Kai’s issue was too big for him to be resolved so easily. This just didn’t work well for me, and considering the tone of the rest of the book, I felt as though the ending was off.
All in all, I liked this story, and it was nice to come full circle on all the characters we’ve met. Kai and Izzy work well together, and their romance is both sweet and hot, as well as being believable. But the ending didn’t work as well for me, and the book didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked. If you’re a fan of this series, and this author, or if you’re looking for something mostly sweet, with a bit of kink, but not too heavy, then pick this one up.