halo coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Victor has always known people see him as a little weird and different; the orthodics he wears on his legs and his unsteady gait seem to do it, even if people didn’t find his interests and personality a little strange at times. But Victor’s wealth ensures that people are at least mostly polite to his face. However, that doesn’t stop his fiance from cheating on him — with his best friend and business partner, no less. Even worse than Victor realizing that he never really loved Alice and they were a bad match is the fact that she clearly thinks Victor should be willing to just ignore her cheating and be grateful to marry her. Victor can’t face the office and just wants to get away, so he decides to take the honeymoon he had planned for him and Alice. She didn’t care enough to help plan anything, so it is all things Victor wants to do anyway.

Oliver is a grad student who is just about to finish his master’s degree. After being kicked out by his parents for being gay before he even hit his teens, Oliver spent time in group homes and foster care until he was old enough to live on his own. He knows what it is like to have nothing, and there is no way Oliver is leaving school in debt for the rest of his life. His job as a sex worker has paid for school and then some, though there is part of Oliver that will never feel comfortable and safe financially. When Oliver is in the car waiting for his next client, he is shocked when another man enters, clearly thinking Oliver is his car service. Oliver’s first instinct is to set the man straight, but he is so clearly distraught and at wit’s end that Oliver can’t stop himself from helping him out, first by driving him to his destination and then offering to keep him company.

It doesn’t take long for Victor to realize Oliver isn’t just his friendly driver. But he also realizes how much he truly has been enjoying Oliver’s companionship, and Oliver feels the same in return — so much so that the guys agree to spend more time together. First the night, then the week. Both men can’t help but be surprised at just how well they fit together and how much they are enjoying their time. Oliver is sweet and charming and makes Victor feel seen and cared about in ways no one else ever does. For Oliver, Victor treats him like a person and not a sex object. Victor is caring and kind and the two of them are so in sync. But their time together is limited and both men are at crossroads in their life. Victor has to return to his real life and figure out what is next for him after his breakup and his business partner’s betrayal. And Oliver is graduating and moving on to a new life teaching history. Not to mention that the men are from totally different social and financial worlds. Victor and Oliver have found so much happiness together in just a week, but now they need to find a way for it to last a lifetime.

Oh, I just loved this one! It is so swoony and Oliver and Victor are so wonderful together. I was just drawn right into this book and could barely put it down. The majority of the book is spent alone with Oliver and Victor and the story really rests on their shoulders. As always, Lindsey does such a great job with character development and creating two incredibly engaging men who just fit in unexpected ways. On paper, they couldn’t be more different. Oliver is outgoing and flamboyant; he loves lingerie and other traditionally feminine clothes. He grew up in the foster system and barely scraped by. Despite doing well as a sex worker, he is careful with his money and will never feel comfortable financially after his complicated past. Victor comes from money and a world where people lie and cheat and everyone sort of accepts it and never expects better. But at the same time, Victor is an outsider, never quite fitting in and just on the edge of mockery. Yet, despite that, these guys just click. Victor finds Oliver’s stories about history fascinating. Oliver loves Victor’s quirky interests and bit of naiveté. They connect almost immediately and, as a reader, I could just feel the pull they have toward one another. It is like they are just drawn together, pulled into the same orbit and unable to break free. Lindsey builds their dynamic so well and the chemistry between them just sparks.

Of course, the situation is far more complicated than that, starting with the fact that Victor and Oliver live in different places and have very different lives. The whole time they are building this wonderful connection, there is this running understanding that the clock is winding down. I found myself so caught up in their relationship, it was emotional watching them struggle as they realize that things can’t work for them after this week. (Don’t worry, there is a very happy ending here, but they do have to deal with some things before they get there.) Lindsey does such a good job building that intensity of feeling, I was so caught up in it right along with them. I just loved these guys and really felt swept away by their connection. There is just this lovely sense they have of being seen by each other in a way that neither really is by other people. My only small quibble is I wish we saw a little more clearly what breaks the logjam for them. I don’t want to get into how the conflict plays out, but it just seems like someone changes their mind without a lot of clarity as to why, and I would have liked to see this addressed in a little more detail.

I just found this story so engaging and I got swept up in the romance. This is just a sweet, romantic, dreamy, and sexy romance that really highlights the relationship between these two men. I loved it and can highly recommend it.

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