Other Reviewers: Goodreads
First things first: I have seen some “Meh” reviews out there for this book on Goodreads. One explanation of the rating is that one of our characters, Eric, calls Collin some version of “Sweet” as pet names often. I suppose some people don’t like pet names, either in novels or in real life. But it did not bother me enough to reduce a star. So this review will not focus on that and that will not affect any type of rating.
Second note: This is book three of Tenino’s series, Theta Alpha Gamma, so if you have not read those (#1 Frat Boy and Toppy) (#2 Love Hypothetically) I would recommend reading them first. Actually, I suggest that you read book #1 to get the best out of this book. I never read the second one, with only 100 pages I did not want to invest the money in that short of a book. I think that you will understand the world better if you read book 1 first.
Collin Montes is in his Senior year at college and is the Alumni Representative for his fraternity, Theta Alpha Gamma. Most of his world revolves around either his studies, his fraternity, or family. His sexuality is very much in the closet. Collin wants to come out, but his family, especially his powerful uncle Monty, might not approve. His fraternity has recently changed their charter to explicitly not discriminate against sexual orientation and things start heating up – literally. Now can Collin every come out of the closet and will things turn tragic at the House?
Eric Dixon is a fire fighter para-medic who is on the scene early when his former fraternity house has an explosion. In the mass confusion, one boy stands out: Collin. There is something that is just sweet and compelling about this boy. But could they build a lasting relationship, an out older man and a closeted sweet young thang?
What I like about Collin is that he is so relatable. When we saw him in book one, he was sweet on Brad, but was merely a secondary character. But for me, I always wanted to know more about him, he seemed someone who had a large back story to be told.
We learn early on that Collin, while having a rich Uncle Monty who runs the family business, he is not like other “rich boys”. He has his entire future mapped out, from his experience within the frat as well as his studies. His mother has kept him grounded, but with the death of his father at an early age, Uncle Monty has become a father figure. The problem with this is that Monty is a harsh taskmaster, acting as a svengali and shaping Collin’s future for what Monty has in plan.
So, Collin struggles with his self-identity, not just his sexuality and wonders if he can ever measure up.
Collin felt like he’d lived a half a lifetime in the last twenty-four hours. In his sophomore philosophy class (why did they schedule those damn things at seven in the morning? Who really needs philosophy before breakfast?), he’d read something that had stuck with him since: “Each day is a little life.” Who said that? Schopenhauer, he thought.
Collin attempts to please everyone in his life, his frat, his instructors, his family, his uncle, but never really doing what he wants to do. And with all of this comes loads of responsibility he feels he cannot shirk. What Collin needs is someone who will support him.
Eric is the strong, silent type, an older man at 36, comfortable in his life. He has two careers, one is the paramedic with the firefighter, and the other is a side project as photographer. He is someone who other people depend on and while he might look badass, he has a very caring heart. But he’s lonely and ready to meet someone to settle down with and even though Collin is young, he sees in him the qualities to make their relationship last. We see Eric’s attitude when talking about his former boyfriend, Jay:
Eric laughed along with Lincoln. Mandy always had his back when it came to his love life. Thank God, because it had taken him a while to get over that asshole. He should have realized that it was a setup when Jay had said he didn’t know if he could be faithful. Then when he did fuck around, he’d been able to say, “Well, I warned you.” As if that made it all right.”
What I liked about Eric is that he is such a loving, caring person, who in his place, we would want to do the same thing. We all want someone who will be there when we come home, eat a good meal, sit by the fire and make love.
When reading books with gay romance, one of the biggest, obvious themes will be about being open with their sexuality. Collin is closeted in so many things, that one theme could be that it’s about being honest with yourself and not compromising. In fact, both Collin and Eric have compromised in their love life in the past, and this story is about their journey to find what they really want together.
The humor is the strongest point within this book. The author has such a great way of making me laugh out loud, which our boys in Theta Alpha Gamma do.
Danny stared at him, goggle-eyed, mouth hanging open. “Dude!” He stood up, reaching out to grip Collin’s shoulder. “You mean no one told you you’re gay? Shit man, I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” He turned to Kyle. “What am I supposed to do in this situation? They did not cover this in that sensitivity training class we took fall term. That’s a major oversight, man.”
I also liked the mystery aspect. While I had an idea of the “who done it” early on, how the plot became unexpectedly twisted and it remained entertaining.
What could be better?
There was quite a bit of sex in this book, which while it did not bother me, toward the end I did skim the scenes. I will mention the “Sweet” thing again, because it bothered other folks, but for me it was fine. Some people also complained of the “insta-love” in this book, but that was not something that bothered me. I met my husband and after a weekend I knew I would spend my life with him. We are still as deeply (if not more) in passionate love together 15 years later.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have placed it in my favorites section to be a re-read. It had excellent pacing and kept me interested as I finished it in one sitting. If I had any draw back, it would be a lack of “relationship” building. While there are some “external conflicts” that affect the relationship, neither men have any angsty drama between them.
So, what we end up getting is a humorous, sexy romp through a mystery and end up with truelove. How could that get any better?