dating disaster coverRating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Felix Andrews likes sex and he doesn’t feel the need to apologize for it. Felix has enjoyed spending his college years sleeping around and having fun with a variety of guys. But now, Felix is ready to look for something more serious, to find a man who will care about him and cherish him. Unfortunately, most of the men Felix meets are still just looking for hookups. That’s why he has agreed to be set up on a blind date. However, the date is going appallingly badly, as while the guy is totally Felix’s type, he is awkward and uncomfortable and doesn’t even seem that interested. Felix figures he might as well get some sex out of it if nothing else, but Marshall turns him down, shaking Felix’s already fragile ego.

Marshall is totally drawn to the confident, adorable spitfire that is his blind date. But Marshall knows he is bungling it all. And when Felix suggests a hook up, things get even worse. Marshall is demisexual and a virgin, and while he doesn’t have any particularly attachment to his virginity, he also is not a guy who wants to hook up with a relative stranger.

As if things weren’t awkward enough between them, Marshall ends up being Felix’s new roommate in a shared house. The guys can’t avoid each other and things are tense. Marshall likes Felix, and would be genuinely interested in getting to know him, but Felix seems angry at him and Marshall doesn’t really understand why. For his part, Felix is hurt by what he sees as Marshall’s rejection. If this guy doesn’t even want to sleep with Felix, let alone date him, what does that say about Felix? As the guys get to know one another, they become friends despite the tension. Both Felix and Marshall are totally into one another, and falling fast. But neither has worked up the nerve to be honest with how they feel. The guys have a chance for something really special together, but they must open up about their feelings if they want a to move from disaster to happiness as a couple.

The Dating Disaster is the second book in the multi-author Franklin U series. The books are designed to stand alone, though this book does overlap in timeline with Playing Games (book 1) and Mr. Romance (book 3), and we do meet various characters here that look to be featuring in their own books later in the series. I would say that for the most part this one worked alone, but I do feel like there is a very large cast of side characters, and keeping track of who they all were and how they connected got a little overwhelming. Because many of them become MCs later on in the series, it felt like more emphasis placed on side characters than usual, and so at times I felt like I was supposed to know more about them than I did. There is also at least one connection to another of the author’s books, as Marshall’s brother is the MC of Master of Mayhem from the Frat Wars series. That said, I still found this one worked on its own, but I think it would enhance the experience if read with some of the other books.

I really loved Felix and Marshall together, as they have a super sweet, opposites attract vibe. Felix is small and cute and flirty and spirited. He exudes confidence (though he doesn’t always feel it) and charms everyone. Marshall is much more reserved, but also a sweet, teddy bear of a guy. When they finally get out of their own way, they have an adorable vibe that is a mix of cuddliness and heat. But it does take a while for them to get there and a lot of the story is taken up with miscommunication, lack of communication, and making the worst possible assumptions in any situation. Both men want to find something real, but both are having nerves about it. In Felix’s case, he feels like he is pretty much just good for sex and, despite his confident exterior, he is afraid of rejection. So he assumes Marshall not wanting to sleep with him immediately is a lack of desire, and he figures Marshall wanting to get to know him is really a sign that he isn’t attracted to him and just wants to be friends. For his part, Marshall is in his first relationship and first sexual experience, and he is uncertain taking the lead. So he is waiting for Felix to steer the ship…. which of course, Felix interprets as Marshall not wanting him. Marshall also doesn’t tell Felix he is demisexual. He is afraid that would make Felix feel relationship pressure, knowing that Marshall only sleeps with men with whom he feels a connection. So like I said, these guys really can’t get out of their own way. The problem is that this is the main conflict and pretty much exclusive plot device, so virtually all of the book follows the guys wanting each other but thinking they can’t be together for various reasons. It just felt like we were hitting these same issues over and over, and every time the guys took a step forward, one of them misreads, misunderstands, or misinterprets.

What I think makes this book work despite this is the strength of Felix and Marshall as a couple. Like I said, I really loved them together and there is a great sweetness and playfulness between them. I particularly liked each man coming out of his shell. For Felix, it is realizing people can like him as more than just a plaything; for Marshall, it is having confidence in himself and his appeal and his ability to be a partner to Felix. And of course, if you are more of a fan of the misunderstanding plot device, this one is sure to appeal even more. So I found this one to be an entertaining new adult story and a nice introduction into this world for me. I have more of these Franklin U books on my review list, and the rest of the team will be reviewing some of the others, and I look forward to seeing what else is in store for this group.

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