Evan is a 19-year-old, self-taught, computer whiz working on apps that connect people through study dates. He lives in a small Nebraska town that’s more known for its quirky fairs than anything else. While hanging out at a party thrown by his best friend, Calista, Evan meets Calista’s gorgeous cousin, Dawson. Unfortunately, this happens just as Evan’s forced to reveal his big virgin secret while playing ‘Never Have I Ever’—and is appropriately humiliated in front of the buff football god.
Dawson’s in his early 20s and had been a blue chip football prospect, playing quarterback at Alabama, before he fell off a roof and broke his leg too badly to continue playing. He’s not gay and he’s not looking for a partner—not after what went down with his last girlfriend. But, he keeps running into Evan who is really a sweet, and okay—cute—person. For a guy.
Evan is the sponsor for the Tech Club at the high school where Dawson is assistant football coach, a career break he was grateful to get. Dawson’s been pretty depressed since his injury, but working with the kids as a coach and mentor has been a salve. And, well, hanging out with Evan is kinda fun, too. Dawson volunteers to be Evan’s wingman on a mission to gain experience with men, but then has a bit of a change of heart, afraid a random guy would harm Evan’s feelings, or (gulp!) his curiously sexy body.
This is an odd-couple, OFY, New Adult romance with a cast of characters that’s really fun. There are the gay men and boys whose strategic flirting gets Dawson willing to step out of his comfort zone—as long as there are no strings. And, there are nosy elderly neighbors who are always sniffing out a good rumor to pass along. Evan also works at his grandad’s hardware store, a town landmark, but for little wages and mostly to give his retired grandpa a break since the business is failing. I loved how Dawson pitched in for Evan to allow him freedom to concentrate on his own passion of app development. The growth Dawson shows as a coach is also notable, because he’s able to make peace with his dashed NFL-career dreams. The romance starts pretty quick, but doesn’t heat up immediately. Evan is afraid that he’s taking advantage of Dawson’s kind offers—not recognizing that Dawson is just as into the sexytimes as Evan is. They make a really good match, but it takes almost losing Evan for Dawson to wake up and recognize that he’s got himself a boyfriend, whether he wanted strings, or not.
I read a freebie prequel to this book and knew I’d have to get into the series, because it’s all fun and sweet and lovely. The story moves at a good pace, and there’s plenty of humor to balance the dark moments surrounding Dawson’s injury and recovery. I really enjoyed this one, and look forward to the next book in the series.