Author: SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Standalone novel
Received from Publisher
Blurb: With his fauxhawk, sleeve tattoos, and visible piercings, Ridley Corbin has the whole bad ass vibe going on in spades. The image serves him well as the self-proclaimed protector of the underdog, and he wants nothing more than to be Alex Firestone’s hero.
Alex, a mild-mannered library assistant, has moved to Slater, a quiet college town, hoping to hide from his past. He keeps to himself, but that doesn’t save him from catching the unwanted attention of the campus bully. But not all is as it seems. Alex’s past comes calling, and it’s time he becomes top dog.
Review: So I totally thought this was going to be a book based on guys in college. It’s not! Yes, they’re in college but beyond the library Alex works at, don’t expect anything like you’re used to. That’s both good and bad for me personally since I enjoyed the twists and turns of this book. Bad because I like stories about college boys falling in love! I understand the blurb being what it is because I’m having a hard time not spoiling the direction this takes in the first paragraph.
Alex is the subject of Ridley’s desires. Ridley isn’t a relationship type of guy. His fascination with Alex isn’t normal for him either. Ridley actually gets tongue tied when he’s around Alex. Their first meetings in the library are kind of sweet and timid. You think you’ve got where the story is going and are getting to know the characters but then you don’t. The guys hit the bedroom and the switch gets flipped. And OMG it’s hot. I was mildly uncomfortable with how rough their sex is but then it was also amazingly sexy. I kind of liked being pushed just to the edge like that. Ridley did too! It was all kind of unexpected for him. Alex in the bedroom is rough and bossy and in total control.
Then Alex leaves without a word the next morning (bastard). Yes, this is normally what Ridley wants but things are just different with Alex. He wants more than Alex is offering that’s for sure. Ridley has a protector streak born of being bullied as a kid. So when he hears Alex being pestered by the school assholes he jumps in to help. Things go very differently than he planned. He thought he’d be the hero. Instead he ends up in the hospital with a concussion and a lot of questions.
I think almost everyone will get where this story is going once they get to a certain point in the book. That didn’t take away from the enjoyment for me personally. I liked how the guys went from fun and flirty to down and dirty. Then things get real and feelings neither man wanted develop. I also totally bought the transition as fast as it happens. They just had the physical and mental connection that clicks. Things happened to thrust them together to build on what they may have abandoned. There aren’t many secondary characters so you get a lot of page time with the MCs. I love banter and these guys give it!
I would definitely say this is a sex heavy book. Lots of innuendos and rough hook ups. Things don’t really feel at all tender until towards the end of the book. We know before the guys will admit that they’re falling in love. Things for this couple are complicated but that just makes the journey more interesting for us as readers. I’d say if this book had a theme going on it’s don’t judge a book by its cover. 😉 Or blurb as it may be!