Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Harry is a good “bad boyfriend.” Having taken over the job of being a “bad boyfriend” for hire from Ambrose — who looked like a model and was an actor — Harry has had to find a way to give his dates their own flair, and part of that is with a wardrobe that will make anyone’s eyes bleed. Hawaiian shirts, sure, but only if they’re truly tacky; garish shirts with questionable sayings, crop tops, ripped jeans, ugly shoes, anything to make himself give an awful first impression. But nothing has been as big as his first bad date when he ended up being banned from a restaurant and spilling water over his client’s father.
So, when that client’s brother — who isn’t in on the secret “bad boyfriend” plan — decides to pour a shake over Harry’s head, he’s not that upset. The guy has good reason to be mad, after all. Unfortunately, the shake is strawberry, and Harry is deathly allergic.
Jack’s righteous anger turns to horror when the nightmare his sister briefly dated nearly dies. In between yelling at him for overreacting, Mia tells him what really went on, which make Jack feel even worse. And yet, somehow, this horrible day ends up being the best thing that happened, because this is where Jack meets Harry.
Book two in the Bad Boyfriends, Inc series is just as cute and chemistry filled as the first one, Awfully Ambrose. Harry is a good natured goof of a guy who wants to be a preschool teacher. He picks up the dates for money, and he tries to walk the line between being disreputable and terrible; it’s fun, sometimes, getting to really act up and at out, and he’s delighted when it turns out Mia — his very first client — is going to get married to her actual boyfriend. Harry sees what he does as a good thing: he’s helping people, taking all the shame and scandal on his own shoulders so his client can have a happy family. And no one’s getting hurt.
When Jack moves in as roommate number three, Harry is happy enough. The accident was purely that, an accident. Besides, Jack cooks and cleans, and the two of them can just sit and talk and he’s missed that since Ambrose went to live with his boyfriend. But that easy rapport slowly turns into something Harry doesn’t understand, not really. For so long, he was certain he was asexual because he had no interest in men or women. He could see the appeal of them, how pretty or handsome they were, but he never felt the urge to kiss or hold hands, or anything more. But looking at Jack, sprawled on the couch when they watch TV, or listening to him laugh at something silly suddenly has Harry feeling things he didn’t know he could feel.
Jack is quickly charmed by the puppy dog, earnest sweetness of Harry. Harry is kind, generous, forgiving, and sweet. And it’s so easy to get a crush on him. But, as far as Jack knows, Harry is straight. So he does his best not to look too closely, and not to think too much about it until the night Harry kisses him. For Jack, he’s fine taking it at Harry’s pace. He’s aware that Harry is a virgin (thanks to their other roommate, Tristan, giving him both a very subtle shovel talk and a heads up). And really, if they spend the next year with nothing but sitting on the couch, kissing and cuddling, he’s fine with that. Because it’s with Harry.
This is a standard romcom setup, and the story beats are comfortingly obvious. But it’s the way they’re handled, the way Harry and Jack navigate through the relationship issues and the emotional pitfalls that really make this book worth the reading. For Harry, he’s a man in his twenties with his first crush, not knowing how to go about confessing or confronting. Their first fight has him wrecked because he’s never fought with someone like this. He’s never felt like this before, about anyone. And for Jack, who can see how badly he screwed up, it’s like a punch to the gut. Making Harry cry hurts him even more than nearly killing him via strawberry shake. But seeing them come together, the apologies, the love, the trust … this is a sweet, comforting and easy read that really hits the spot, especially if you are in the mood for romance. Book three should be out soon!
This sounds lovely, Elizabeth! Thanks for your review.