full service coverRating: 3.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Silas Sinclair went to a strip club for a friend’s party and ended up getting a lap dance he can’t forget. The dancer was so unbelievably hot, Silas lost control, and what’s worse, he still can’t stop thinking about the guy. Everything about him turned Silas on, from his sexy moves to his perfect peach of an ass. And when Silas sees that same peachy ass on a student at the university where he teaches, he knows he’s in real trouble. Though not as much trouble as when he finds out the guy is his new teaching assistant…

Everly Winslow is making ends meet stripping in a club, though money is still tight. He remembers the sexy man who was clearly enjoying his dance the other night, and is delighted to reconnect with Silas. Despite their age gap, Everly would be more than happy to take their hot night and have it lead to more, but Silas is more wary. He knows he should stay away from Everly, knows it could mean trouble for both of them if they got together and anyone found out. But that doesn’t stop Silas from wanting Everly desperately. Everything about the young man is a temptation and Silas cannot stop thinking about him. Just one time together couldn’t hurt, right? At least not until it it turns into more…

Full Service is part of the Franklin U 2 multi-author series (this is a second season, following the first Franklin U collection). The series takes place all at the same university and some of the characters show up in each other’s books, but this story fully works as a standalone. There is a very distinct tone here that I think is going to work great for some folks and perhaps less so for others. I enjoyed the early parts of the book and found the vibe playful and amusing. Silas is sort of hapless, totally and completely obsessed with this hot stripper, who he later finds out is his teaching assistant, which means Everly is both a university student and Silas’ subordinate and therefore definitely off limits. But Silas absolutely cannot stop thinking about Everly, and for every time he tells himself he absolutely must stay away, he can’t quite manage to listen to his own advice. So Silas amused me early on and being in his POV was an entertaining mix of him desperately trying to hold on to some semblance of self control, all while having absolutely no self control at all. For his part, Everly is hot for Silas and he is using his considerable charm and peachy ass to try to lure Silas into sin along with him. So there is a nice bit of a cat and mouse between them and, as I said, I found the early part of the book to be fun.

The problem for me is that the story never progresses past this dynamic and the book began to quickly feel incredibly one note. Virtually the entire story is Silas telling himself that he can’t have Everly and must hold strong, while at the same time giving in immediately to whatever the current temptation may be. Silas is literally obsessed with Everly to the point where his entire being is wrapped up in how much he wants him. Silas is constantly thinking about Everly, fantasizing about him, jerking off to thoughts of him, staring longingly at him from across the room, getting hard while teaching because he walks in, etc. And while Silas’ inner monologue is “oh no, I shouldn’t do this,” he then proceeds to immediately ignore it because he is totally obsessed with Everly and has zero self control. Honestly, given the age gap, after a while he started to feel a little bit pathetic, this older man who literally can’t even be around this young guy without springing a boner and practically coming in his pants (and sometimes literally coming in his pants). I am not sure I can accurately convey this dynamic and how extreme this all is. The entire story is basically Silas being desperately horny for Everly, while Everly tries to get Silas to give in to temptation.

The men have virtually no interaction where they are not thinking about sex, talking about sex, or having sex. There is hardly a conversation they have about anything else, at least on page. We are told that they had an actual conversation a time or two, but we never see it. Aside from pure physical attraction, there is no indication there is anything else drawing the men to one another; neither man ever indicates traits they appreciate in each other beyond the physical. And while that could work in a story that is meant as erotica, here Silas and Everly are supposedly in love at the end of the book and I can’t figure out what they possibly are basing that on given their lack of interaction beyond the sexual.

I also feel like it hindered any sense of getting to know these characters as a reader, as any internal thoughts they have are almost exclusively about sex with each other. The only real exception for me is a friendship we see between Silas and a 92-year-old man named Lee. Silas met him one day while shopping and the two have sort of adopted one another. Lee is a fiery old man and sort of a rascal, and he knows Silas will do anything for him. There are some really sweet moments here as Silas takes Lee out for late night french fries because Lee has the munchies, or agrees to be his partner in an absurd dance show at Lee’s senior community. I found their interactions actually my favorite part of the book and I appreciated getting this other side of Silas beyond just horny. There is a reveal about Lee that I am guessing most readers will figure out, and strangely it is actually disclosed partway through, ahead of the big moment it all comes in the story. But I did really like their dynamic and their friendship is super sweet.

The conflict here (aside from Silas being too horny to function) is ostensibly that his job is at risk for sleeping with a student who is also his TA. I found the resolution to this so unrealistic, especially the things Silas says in this key conversation, as to be almost offensive in its absurdity. If this isn’t going be treated as a real conflict with serious risks, I am not sure why the book even goes through the motions with this set up.

So I found this one sort of a mixed bag. I have not read any books by Rose before, so I am not sure if this tone is common to her books. Fans of this author, or folks who just like the vibe here, may have a different experience than I did. But while I found the humor and the dynamic between Everly and Silas fun at the start, it just wasn’t enough to carry the book and it started to feel like very one-note for me. However, readers who really enjoy a high-heat story and are amused by Silas and Everly’s antics might find this one works better for them.

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