Least Resistance is the third book in the Jocks and Geeks series, and features a dedicated bodybuilder falling hard for the florist dynamo unwilling to cave to a greedy landlord–the bodybuilder’s father.
Marti is a flamboyant, compact, gay man in his late 20s. Marti first saw Ivan Detrikov at a bodybuilding show he attended with his friend, Reg (where Reg met his true love, Jack, who is Ivan’s friend and fellow competitor). They have connected once or twice, but Ivan seemed to give Marti the brush off. Marti is a florist, working for a small shop in Milwaukee. Susan, the shop owner, is ready to close her doors for retirement, which is going to happen sooner now that the landlord is bumping up the rent… again. Marti could save the shop and become a partner in the business, if he can convince the landlord to rent the space at the same (or lower) rate.
Marti is surprised to find Ivan in the landlord’s office, having a yelling match with…his father? Oh, great, negotiations won’t be easy now that his beautiful, muscular, only son has Dimitri Detrikov all frustrated and angry. But, Ivan is charmed by Marti’s business acumen, and lingers to assure himself that his dad doesn’t take advantage. Ivan’s lamented the ‘King Midas’ turn his father has taken since his mother died and his grasping second wife has urged him on. Their relationship has definitely soured over these years, and Ivan’s close to pulling away altogether. Ivan’s dedication to his bodybuilding has frustrated his father, who wants him to take over the realty-rental business. Ivan will only do this if his dad stops acting like the slumlord he’s become. And, helping Marti out feels good on many levels. Ivan had always been attracted to Marti, but was afraid to commit and lose his focus on bodybuilding.
This is a sweet and low-angst romance, because Ivan’s now ready to pursue more than just his bodybuilding. Marti is a little gun shy, having been spurned by Ivan before, but both men are ready for a steady relationship. I like how they took it slow, having some dates before getting too physical. Their mutual admiration is readily apparent, with Ivan buying Marti a bouquet and Marti being sensitive to Ivan’s diet restrictions. It seems like everything is going along okay, until Dimitri and his wife throw some wenches at the young couple. These are all surmountable, and it seems like we meet a character who’ll be the focus of another book (Gerald, the shy doctor who might have been a distraction if Ivan wasn’t so infatuated with Marti).
The ending is decidedly happy, with both Marti and Ivan having better relationships with each other and Ivan’s dad. It’s all-around a quick, sweet read, with just a hint of spice.