Synopsis: Michael got dumped by Alex and is devastated. His flat mate Jim suggests a friendship with benefits to help him over this bad time. No problem until Jim realizes he’s in love with Michael and, in order to give Michael some space to recover first from his bad relationship, pulls away. Michael interprets this in a totally wrong way and eventually leaves town without a word to Jim.
Review: Friends with benefits. It works if both partners actually don’t have deeper feelings for each other. If one of them does, however, this sort of arrangement isn’t the best idea. And if both have feelings for each other, it doesn’t work out either.
After the initial arrangement was agreed upon by Jim and Michael the story took a little while to turn into one of my pet peeve storylines – the big misunderstanding and – even worse – the separated couple without communication. I had to come to terms with this first in order to be able to enjoy it. Once I got reconciled with the idea that Jim and Michael were the typical “I’d rather draw my conclusions based on misjudged observations and on my own lack of self-confidence” people instead of the “I just go and talk to him” kind, it became a good read.
Jim loves Michael, Michael doesn’t know. Jim thinks Michael doesn’t want love and withdraws. Michael thinks Jim withdraws because Michael’s too clingy (something his ex complained about) and withdraws himself. Thus we have the spiral down into misery.
And then Elliot turns up. Unfortunately TC Blue does not tell us how he was introduced to Michael. As an ex lover, a friend, the new love (though “friend” would be the most conceivable)? Michael makes assumptions once more without knowing anything and, of course, it doesn’t occur to him to ask. Next thing you know is without one more word he leaves town on the spur of the moment in a furtive way. I couldn’t believe it! How can someone act in such a way without any knowledge as to what is really going on? I was very annoyed with Michael at that point.
The time he spent away was sped up. We learn the important things, whom Michael meets and who helps him along the way, but skip all the parts that don’t help the story along. Thank God for that. I hate it when a time period that I want to be over with as quickly as possible gets dragged out forever by telling me every little detail. Since TC Blue dealt with it in such an expedient manner this part of the story wasn’t nearly as hard for me to read as I expected.
By the time Michael finally, with Jamie’s help, saw the error of his ways and decided to go back to at least apologize to Jim, I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn’t wait for them to get back together for good. And they did that in such a loving way, I was in love with them myself.
The supporting characters were equally likeable. The “slutty kid brother” Elliot might have been just that, but to me he seemed pretty down-to-earth and sensible. What he said about Michael before he came back from Boston totally made sense – as long as you were not in love with Michael. Then, of course, you wouldn’t want to hear this. Jamie was adorable, and so were David and Russell (even though those two were just the catalyst to get Michael’s healing on the way). And of course Trish and Chandra, the lesbian couple. All they could do was roll their eyes at the men, really.
This story contained two plot factors that I usually dislike a lot, but TC Blue pulled it off in such a way that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’ll definitely give her other books a try as well.
Available at Torquere Books