oblivious coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Noah Weston and August Ramirez have been best friends since the age of 10. They became next-door neighbors when Noah’s flighty mom abandoned him to his grandparent’s care. They went to school, college, and law school together. They live in the same condo complex. They opened a law firm together and are successful in business. They work out together, and hang out watching movies at each other’s condos. They have pet names for one another. They send each other porn gifs as a joke–particularly when involved in client meetings or attending family parties–to cause as much embarrassment as possible. And, while Noah has been in love with August since he was at least 15, he’s not willing to jeopardize any of his connections with August, or August’s family, to confess that love.

Noah’s family is tiny, with only his disinterested mom and his grandpa, who’s now exhibiting dementia. August’s family is huge and loving, and they’ve adopted Noah as their own. In fact, both families think these two hopelessly enmeshed men will come to their senses and get married. There’s even an office pool wagering on them FINALLY connecting–not that either man is aware of it. But, a random dare leads to a passionate kiss neither man can deny. It awakens a possibility in August, who has long believed Noah doesn’t find him attractive in that way.

August has commitment issues, and he’s deathly afraid of losing Noah, but they could be friends-with-benefits, right? Then, he could satisfy all of Noah’s needs, and his own, without having any pressure for either of them to find “The One.” Only, August’s family and friends are quick to warn him that Noah’s the real deal, and August will break the man’s heart if he doesn’t take care. A big health scare forces August to confront his deepest fears and sparks August’s determination to win all of Noah’s heart and body, forever and ever, the only way he knows how to do anything: full speed ahead. Unfortunately, Noah’s in no position to accept August’s ham-handed proposal, even if it’s his heart’s desire.

This is a fun, friends-to-lovers romance with a longtime unrequited love being pushed to its limits. Noah and August adore one another. They have been each other’s only love all their lives, and to see them connect is a treat. There are lots of sexy times as they work their way through the glossary of wild porn gifs they’ve collected over the years. But that’s only one part of the story. August’s fear of rejection gets tested over and over again, as Noah strives to achieve the love he’s longed for from August. Abandoned in his youth, Noah needs to be cherished by someone, and he dearly wants it to be August to love him unconditionally. He could have just accepted a co-dependent relationship, but fought for better, and forced August to raise his game. I love how these men work for happiness, with grand and small gestures. With resilience and patience. With love and kindness. They are a treat as a couple, and interesting on their own.

I’d looked forward to this love story, which was teased in Ambiguous, the first book in the IOU series. Though the stories are linked, this book is a standalone and fully enjoyable on its own. Expect to laugh and have your heart stop, and then get kick started again. Expect to swoon for August and Noah, and to want to give Noah a kick in the pants for denying both himself and August their continued happiness–temporarily. And, if you find the most unbelievable scene “too far a bridge,” check the author’s notes to see that it was, in fact, possible.