Michael Pietersen is a high-powered corporate realtor in Sydney with no time for or interest in a relationship. He just wants some uncomplicated, no strings sex. When he spots a gorgeous man in a bar one night, it takes about five minutes before the two head home together. The sex is amazing and the guys can’t get enough of each other. So much so that they decide that while neither is looking for anything serious, they are both up for a recurring hook up. But beyond that, they want to keep things so impersonal that the men don’t even exchange names.
Bryson Schroeder spent the last two years in Singapore and he is now home and ready for a fresh start with a new business. While his hotel-magnate father had hoped the time away would inspire Bryce to join the family business, it made him more convinced than ever that he wants to create something of his own instead. Bryce has a business plan and he is ready to set it in motion, but that means he needs to give his full focus to work. Of course, the sexy blond at the bar is way too enticing for Bryce to ignore, but he is completely on board with no-strings, semi-anonymous hook ups.
Michael and Bryce get together weekly and each encounter seems hotter than the last. It seems only natural to see each other in between as well, given how great things are between them. Soon the men find themselves getting together for more frequent hook ups. But they also realize their encounters are not only about sex anymore. Both men really like one another and they enjoy the time together. They both work high pressure jobs and understand the other’s drive and determination. When the men cross paths professionally, their connection grows even more. Michael and Bryce both realize that what was once all about sex has now become much more. Now they must decide if they are ready to make the leap from uncomplicated hook up into a real relationship and even a lasting love.
This story is sweet and sexy and perfect N.R. Walker. While the set up here is fairly common, with two men who start out looking for no-strings sex and end up finding themselves in a relationship, I think Walker’s style really elevates this story and gives it a lot of depth. One of the things I really liked is the way we see the evolution of their encounters. The first night it is all heat and passion and intensity. Michael and Bryce don’t even exchange names and it is all about the physical gratification they bring one another. As the story continues, we slowly see them getting to know one another, spending time together, and enjoying the little things that make a relationship. They comfort each other, share meals, relax in each other’s arms. The sex is still hot and intense, but we see those spaces in between where the relationship is forming and they are coming to want and rely on each other for more than just sex. By the time the story ended, I could really feel the depth of the connection between Michael and Bryce and how solid they were around each other.
I also appreciated that while both men were sure they wanted to keep it casual, as they start to take the steps toward more, neither one starts freaking out. Yes, at times they question if they are pushing their pre-set boundaries too far, or they reflect when they realize how far the relationship has progressed. But at the same time, both men really roll with it and enjoy the chance to expand beyond the limited connection they thought they wanted. These guys are super sexy together, but there is also a nice playfulness and a great warmth between them. I also liked that they are open with each other and talk things through, both about their relationship, but also about problems they encounter in their lives.
The conflict here comes in the form of Bryce’s father who is struggling to adapt to the fact that Bryce doesn’t want to work with him or follow his model for work/life balance (or lack thereof). Given Bryce’s dad ends up as the main antagonist, I would have liked more of a sense of why Bryce is so worried about meeting his father’s expectations or afraid he won’t allow him to branch out on his own. Bryce puts together a presentation to show his dad for his new business venture and it is presented as if his dad can veto it and Bryce won’t be able to go forward. Given he is a grown man and his father isn’t funding the operation, if Bryce is truly in a position where he feels he must obey his dad and do what he is told, I wanted to better understand why.
Overall I found this one a lot of fun. Michael and Bryce are a great couple and I really enjoyed watching them move from anonymous sex partners to having a real romantic connection. The men are nicely developed and the story has a lot of sweetness and warmth to go along with the sexiness. Definitely recommended.