By J.M. Snyder
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Once the star of his high school basketball team, Nathan Gayle has played the field for years. Now in his twenties, he’s getting tired of one night stands and heated hook-ups with strangers; he wants something more. Was that asking too much?
Wes Roberts has had a fierce crush on Nathan since high school. A chance encounter at prom created a memory Wes still cherishes, one perfect moment in time. His current relationship with Roger pales in comparison, but he’s been with the man for eight months now and they’ve settled into a routine that’s not exactly comfortable.
When Wes and Nathan meet up again years later at a friend’s party, the spark between them is rekindled. But there’s Roger, who wrestles with anger and drinking problems. Roger, whom Wes is still dating. Though the choice between the two men seems obvious, breaking up with Roger may be easier said than done.
This may be an older book, but I’m thankful I happened across it. To be truthful, too, after reflecting on some of the reviews, I can’t fathom how someone couldn’t – or wouldn’t – rate this book five stars: it’s one of the best written books I’ve read this year. The storyline was entrenching, and it was refreshing to read about one’s struggle to end a negative relationship – something plausible – instead of contrived angst or petty problems. Author J.M. Snyder did a masterful job of characterizing Wes’s vulnerability, internal struggles, and fear, interwoven with his hopefulness that building a relationship and future with the one he’s always longed to love is possible, and willingness to follow his heart by finding internal strength to sever ties with the man he’s been involved with for nearly a year. By facing and cutting out this man’s negative and abusive control of his life, Wes takes control of his destiny, retracting it from the domineering Roger.
The story starts off from Nathan’s perspective, but quickly swings into Wes’s court. Wes is genuine, empathetic almost to a fault, and a bit eccentric/quirky in some of his mannerisms, but I could almost palpably feel his internal anguish/struggle. I also wanted to high-five Nathan for realizing that he wanted to be with Wes after all these years – this was the guy he was meant to be with – and he was willing to pull out all the stops to make it happen. He was supportive, patient, and giving. I typically lean towards wanting the steamy sex scenes, but somehow J.M. Snyder captured and claimed my “don’t-want-to-put-it-down” and “damn, I don’t-want-this-story-to-end” attention. For me, this was such a heartwarming, endearing and satisfying read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
(P.S. The only part some readers may “huh” about – though not me – will be the blast to the past with references to landlines and pagers. It wasn’t that long ago, but my how quickly times change!)
Original review posted on Amazon and Goodreads on October 8, 2016.