Wayne Joslin is a built security guard and rugby player who happens to have a massive crush on his teammate, Darsey Haas. They have been very good friends for some time, but Darsey doesn’t immediately see that Wayne adores him, mostly because Darsey has a domineering boyfriend, Cliff McGregory. Wayne doesn’t understand why Darsey, who is clearly perfect for Wayne, even stays with Cliff, especially because it’s well known that Cliff has slept with at least two other rugby players in their league.
What Wayne also doesn’t understand is that Darsey is not attracted to Cliff anymore, even though he is a model. No, Darsey won’t break up with Cliff mostly because he is emotionally abusive and manipulative. He threatens to hurt himself if Darsey ever leaves him, and Wayne doesn’t really want to interfere, even though he is panting for a chance with Darsey. Darsey finally acknowledges his attraction to Wayne and wants to have a liaison with him, since he can’t break up with Cliff.
This book seemed like an extreme take on a comedy of manners, with Wayne an absolute doormat for Darsey and Cliff, who both abuse his friendship. I liked Wayne, who is a deeper thinker than he’d give himself credit for, but I disliked his Jello spine. He loves Darsey. Why does he care at all about Cliff, who has been nothing short of abusive and mostly monstrous toward both himself and Darsey? This was a resounding issue in the story and I began to consider it as a bit of farce, a completely outlandish scenario with characters that were brazenly out-of-bounds in their actions and demeanor, yet who would eventually cave to Wayne’s quiet demands.
I’m not a fan of stories with cheating, on the whole, though this story seemed so extraordinary to the humble suburban Ohio setting I had to roll with it. Darsey and Wayne do couple up pretty early on, with the caveat that their love will only become public knowledge if Wayne can somehow get Cliff to fixate on another swarthy rugby man, one who can, and will, sexually pound the stuffing out of him on the regular. So, the grand plan is hatched and all the right folks invited to the eventual seduction of Cliff away from Darsey. It’s fun and whimsical, with crazy sexcapades and an eventual happy ending for Wayne and Darsey, and also Cliff and his new beefcake. I flew through the pages with the knowledge that Wayne would do whatever was necessary to have Darsey for his very own, and there would be no reckoning of damages later. Trigger warning: scenes of physical and emotional abuse are present.
If you like stories with determined alpha males all battling to find their true mate—with plenty of backstabbing and shenanigans, this might be a book for you.