Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Audio Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrator: Tristan James
Length: 7 hours
Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks
Ever since Julian met the tall, handsome, and charming Christopher Carnegie at a traffic stop, he’s had a little bit of a crush. Topher is everything Julian wants in a man and then some. He’s handsome, kind, funny, and smart; he’s a devoted brother and son, and a caring man who wants to bring justice to the world and who will do anything for a friend. The only problem is Topher identifies as straight. So, it’s hands off as Julian accepts becoming Topher’s friend and watching with bemusement as Topher goes through girlfriend after girlfriend.
Julian’s never hid his gayness, not that anyone in town has a problem with it, but he’s toned down some of his comments around Topher. But, recently, with Topher’s sisters there alongside, Julian’s let some of his friendly banter get a bit more flirtatious, a bit more provocative, and Topher … well, Topher is there to flirt right back. Because Topher has a secret. He may or may not have a little bit of a crush of his own.
As characters go, Julian is pretty much everything you’d expect of a young, hungry, fashion designer. He’s got quips for days, a good sense of style, and a fearlessness that has him committing 100% all the time, be it as a friend, a brother, or a designer. Julian has been working for so long and so hard without ever catching a break that he’s stopped trying quite so hard. He’s a little tired, a little lost, but no less driven.
Topher doesn’t seem as focused on being a cop as he is focused on Julian. Somehow, between one girlfriend and the next, Topher realizes that he may not be as straight as he (or anyone else) thought. And it’s not something that takes chapters of introspection to come to terms with; Topher doesn’t feel shame or doubt, which is great; instead it’s just a sort of “huh, so how do I ask a guy out?” that feels a little fast, to be honest. Topher doesn’t seem to have many opinions beyond realizing he’s got a thing for Julian, then his thoughts on going after Julian, and then he’s happy with Julian. Personally, with how clearly Julian came through as a character, I would have like a just a touch more depth to Topher’s side of the story. Even so, the story is pleasantly enjoyable with brisk pacing, solid writing, and a focus on banter and flirting. There’s no drama and almost no conflict, which is sometimes what you want from a book.
Tristan James’ narration did a good job at conveying Julian’s emotions and humor, as well as Topher’s gentle good nature. However, the voice work — distinguishing one character from another — wasn’t James’ strongest suit. For me, personally, that isn’t always a deal breaker with an audiobook. If, as in this case, the narrator can convey the emotions and personalities of the main couple, I can turn a blind eye to everyone sounding like everyone else. Depending on your preference, you may prefer the ebook to the audio version, but I did enjoy listening to James’ easy, warm delivery.
If you give this book a try, I hope you enjoy it!