When James spies his best friend’s executive assistant, Perry, drunk and miserable in a bar, he can’t help but come to his aid. James admits he can’t resist flirting with Perry whenever he visit Elliot’s office, but right now Perry clearly needs some caretaking. When James finds out that Perry is currently living in the basement at work, having lost his home and all his money to a horrible ex, James doesn’t hesitate to offer Perry a place to stay while he gets back on his feet.
Perry’s life has fallen apart and he is grateful for James’ help. But he knows he needs to get himself sorted, particularly given his long-time crush on James. It won’t do to get too reliant on the man, especially since James always has a revolving door of men in his bed and there is clearly no future for them. Perry has always dreamed of opening his own bakery, so now that his life is at a crossroads, it is the perfect time to look at making a change. He hopes to move to Brighton and open a shop. When James offers him a place to stay while he gets sorted, Perry is a little unsure, given his attraction to the man. But the two get along well and James makes him feel safe and cared for. So Perry agrees to stay with James while he makes plans for his future.
James has never been a man interested in commitment; his one attempt at domesticity made it clear how unsuitable he is at it. But he can admit how much he loves having Perry stay with him; for the first time, James’ big house feels like a home. He can admit his disappointment that Perry wants to move out of town, but he also wants to support his endeavor. But in the meantime, James wants Perry right there with him for as long as he can.
Perry and James soon have built a cozy life together and their friendship begins to deepen into more. The men are ready to take a chance on a real relationship and building a life together. But both men have doubts that may stand in their way.
Take My Breath Away is the second book in Ali Ryecart’s Silver Foxes series. We met James in the first book as Elliot’s best friend, and I was quite intrigued by him as a character, so I was excited to get to his book. This story is a slow burn as both men feel an attraction, but they build a strong friendship before acting on their feelings. James is clear, to himself and to Perry, that he is not interested in commitment. He has a failed attempt at building a relationship and he regrets his lack of fidelity, and he has convinced himself he isn’t’ capable of more. Of course, once he and Perry start spending time together, James finds he has no interest in anyone else, or in his old life. But James doesn’t trust himself, doesn’t truly believe he has changed, or even can change. For his part, Perry is drawn to James, but also knows James isn’t capable of giving him the serious partnership he wants. Perry also feels a burden to James, who has swept in to rescue him. After molding himself around so many past partners, Perry doesn’t want to once again give up his dreams by staying in London. The men ultimately realize that they have grown to love one another and that they fit perfectly. James has, in fact, changed, and Perry can seek out his dreams while still having James’ love and support. But it takes the guys some time to figure out that their pasts don’t have to stand in their way.
Of course, it is not all smooth sailing as James’ fears about the man he can be get in the way, causing things to shake up what the men have been building. I think the conflict felt natural, and somewhat needed given the otherwise easy growth of the relationship. I did wish for a bit more development here though. This is quite a long book and so much is build up, the slow growth of the friendship and connection between Perry and James. And it is clearly shown throughout the book how much James has changed, how little interest he has in anyone else. He takes the lead on their relationship moving forward and comes across as so confident. But as soon as they really take that step, suddenly James falls apart with doubt and I wish we got a little more of a sense of why he is suddenly unsure, why now he is tempted by another when he hasn’t look twice at another man in months. Likewise, the men resolve the major conflict with a 5-minute conversation. So I feel like the pacing was a bit off here, with so much build up and then too quick a resolution.
I did really love these guys together though. There is a sweetness to their dynamic that is a bit unexpected given James bold and brash personality. Yet with Perry, he is so tender and loving, even before the men are more than friends. There is almost a dreamy quality to the tone of the story, as these men share cozy moments, intense heat, and just such a lovely dynamic. Even though the story is long, I never found myself bored, as they were just an engaging couple.
We do see a bit of Elliot and Freddie here, so fans of Commitment Issues will enjoy the cameos, though this story stands alone. We also meet some other side characters here, so I am really curious to see what comes next for this series. I am enjoying it quite a lot and can definitely recommend these books.