Tanner Donohue is a 23-year-old bisexual man who works as an assistant grocery store manager. About a month ago, Tanner began a physical relationship with Carter, his roommate and an employee at the grocery. They started out as friends, skating at a park nearby and hanging out after work, but Carter’s gotten cold feet about gay relationships and wants to just be friends again. Tanner’s crushed; he’s got serious abandonment issues due to absent parents. Raised by his conservative paternal grandparents, Tanner’s afraid to come out to them and fears losing their love. The only way for Tanner to stay friends with Carter is to get some space, so he’s looking for a new apartment to share.
Max Thompson is a college senior at Arizona State. He’s in his last semester, living in a two-bedroom apartment alone, but a downturn in his family’s finances means he’ll need to get a roommate to cover the costs of his rent. Max’s not pleased, and his first few candidates are horrifying. Max is an out gay man, having been accepted by his family and friends pretty much since puberty. He’s got a bit of a crush on a skater boy he’s noticed at a nearby park, and is elated when Tanner—his skater boy—turns up on his doorstep looking to rent the spare room.
It seems like kismet to Tanner that such an attractive, smart man as Max could be so friendly, gay, and also have a room to rent. But, he’s not ready to pursue anything beyond friendship with a roommate, not again. Well, not for a week, at least. Because that’s about how long it takes for Max and Tanner to consummate their burning attraction. Meanwhile, Tanner’s being approached by an older woman whose probing questions about his likes, dislikes, life, and personality borders on stalkerish. Max is a little ashamed about how he used to watch Tanner skate, but he does eventually confess that he’d had a strong attraction before they had ever met. It comes at an awkward time, especially as Max and Tanner are getting serious, Carter’s interfering, the woman’s antics escalate, and Tanner’s grandparents get super nosy. There’s a lot of pressure for Tanner, who needs to love and embrace his whole self if he wants to have happiness.
This is a sweet, New Adult romance, with a lot of plot points that, to me, felt conveniently coincidental. Tanner’s relationships are all imploding at the same time and Max is totally there for him. Tanner’s not sure if he can trust anyone, but he’s leaning hard onto Max, only to feel like he might be dependent on a man he has begun to love, but who could leave him in a matter of weeks to return home when school ends. Tanner’s so unsettled emotionally, he tries to get space from everyone, and only ends up, predictably, hurting himself.
For me, I felt the plot pacing was kind of slow, with lots of mooning about and waiting for the next plot point to turn. I kept wanting to skip ahead to when Tanner’s life would settle into a new, happier normal. In contrast, the romance between Max and Tanner seems to move at warp speed, with barely a week passing before they are falling in love. And it’s only a few weeks before they are taking a couples-y vacation to further cement this growing bond. Max is a great guy, and he’s committed to helping Tanner move on and move forward, but wow does he fall hard for Tanner quickly. And his plans to continue to support Tanner, to build a life with him, seem too good to be true, so I didn’t fault Tanner’s thought processes one bit. That sentiment was the most realistic of all, to be honest.
Expect a happy ending, especially for Tanner, who gains a lot of family and friend connections. He’s no longer so lonely, and Max has the proper direction going in his life as well. If you like New Adult, this could be a good read for you.