Elliot is coming off a bad breakup that ended a ten-year relationship with his ex, Gavin. Now, both he and Gavin are serving as best men for a destination wedding, something that is sure to lead to awkward interaction Elliot would rather avoid. He VERY reluctantly allows a friend to convince him to take a date to the wedding so he doesn’t have to go it alone, particularly since Gavin is seeing someone new. Elliot gets set up with a man half his age, a gorgeous Ph.D. student named Freddie. While Freddie is incredibly appealing, faking a relationship seems like a bad idea and Elliot is about to call it off, but he realizes how much Freddie needs the promised money for being Elliot’s date.
Posing as a fake boyfriend is not something Freddie would normally even consider. In fact, he isn’t so sure how he allowed his best friend to convince him to go along with this scheme in the first place. But Freddie desperately needs the money and he has to admit that Elliot is exactly his type. Not to mention that a few days in the Mediterranean sun sounds amazing. The guys are both reluctant, but ultimately decide to give the situation a shot for both of their benefits.
Once they get to the wedding, the Freddie and Elliot hit it off completely. They find they are compatible and enjoy each other company. Having Freddie there helps ease some of Elliot’s sting at seeing Gavin again, and Freddie is enjoying a chance to break free of the drudgery of his job and his studies. The men have agreed to keep things platonic, but heat is still flaring between them, and they can’t help acting on their attraction.
Both men are drawn fiercely to each other, and they can’t help but want to keep up a friendship (and more) once they return home. But Freddie has been hurt by an older man who used him and left him, while Elliot was burned by his relationship with Gavin. Both men are convinced they can keep things just friends with benefits, but when hearts start to get involved, they both must get past their fears if they want to turn their relationship into something lasting.
Commitment Issues is the first book in Ali Ryecart’s new Silver Foxes series. This is the first story I have read by Ryecart and I was really impressed by the author’s writing and style. The book takes on a popular trope with the fake relationship storyline, but Ryecart really brings a lot of depth into the story that moves it beyond a common plot device. While fake relationship stories are often on the lighter side, this book definitely has more weight to it and there is just a lovely intensity between Freddie and Elliot right from the start. They are both wary about getting into this situation, both sort of manipulated/coerced into going along with it. But once they let themselves go, they realize how much they enjoy each other’s company. The men have wonderful chemistry together, as well as a comfortable warmth that makes them just fit, even when they are casual friends.
I loved that Ryecart takes the story past the wedding to further develop things upon their return home. Both men are still drawn to each other, but both are convinced they don’t want a relationship, so they decide to keep things casual. Of course, they are each developing feelings, but they are too afraid to move forward with something real. It is clear as a reader (and to all their friends) that these guys are seriously dating each other, but they are convincing themselves that it is all just casual. Ryecart does a good job helping us understand why they are both so resistant, and how this relationship sort of sneaks up on the two of them. I just liked these guys together so much. They are such a good fit and I never doubted that they were meant for one another.
The men are set up by Freddie’s best friend, Cosmo, and Cosmo’s cousin (and Elliot’s good friend), James. These guys serve as the push to get the men together, as well as the voice of logic and reason when Freddie and Elliot get too into their own heads. They also provide a bit of comic relief from the more intense emotions as Freddie and Elliot work through their issues. I found James a little much at times. He manipulates things quite a lot and comes across pretty heavy handed to me. It is clear that Elliot is far more charmed by James than annoyed, even when as I reader I found his behavior a little off putting. So I could go with it, but I did find him a lot to handle sometimes. That said, I am guessing James will have a story at some point, and I am intrigued enough by him as a character to want to know more.
Overall, I found this a really wonderful story and I was totally drawn in immediately. Freddie and Elliot have a fabulous connection, romantically, physically, and emotionally. I loved watching the way they are there for one another and how they fall into this easy relationship almost despite themselves. Both men are hurting and they find such a great happiness together. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to more in this series, as well as checking out more books from Ryecart.