Book: The Boy Next Door (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2016
Length: 256 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.
After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.
Until a night out together changes everything.
Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter.
I always enjoy a really good coming home story mixed with a second chance at love. When a kid is involved? Well, I'm going to be all over that for sure so I was really excited when I saw the blurb for Kate McMurray's new book, The Boy Next Door. This isn't REALLY a new book, since it's a re-release first published back in 2011, and as such, it was a bit of a let down seeing as how the plot and attitudes in much of the book felt a bit dated. Kate's writing as always shines through, but I have to confess this isn't my favorite book of hers.
Lowell is back in his conservative hometown of Greenbriar to take care of his ailing mother. His abusive father has passed away and his mother needs help, so Lowell leaves the big city he loves to go back to the place he fled more than 15 years ago. He's only stayed in touch with one friend since leaving, and when she helps him find a new house, it just so happens it's located next to his old best friend and secret crush, Jason. Jason's divorced, a father to adorable Layla, with a job he hates and ex-wife that causes him more stress than he can handle on most days. I did enjoy watching Lowell and Jase rekindle their friendship. It was so apparent how lonely and starved for companionship Jase has been and he can't help his attraction, one that's been long buried since high school, to Lowell. He's drawn by his good looks, his vivacious personality, and the fact that Lowell genuinely likes his daughter is a huge turn on. Problem is, Jase doesn't want to be gay, and when his evil ex-wife in all her homophobic ranting threatens to take Layla away from him if he continues his friendship with Lowell, well you can guess what happens from here.
The cliched evil ex-wife, the conservative town, the blatant homophobia, the slightly, and at times not so slightly, cringe worthy actions and explanations from Jase about his feelings for Lowell all left me a bit meh about this book. I never was able to warm up to Jase and I really didn't want Lowell with him at all. I liked Lowell, liked his attitude and his personality, but Jase was just so wishy washy that it ruined their relationship for me. There's a bit of action at the end, then a nice HFN. I won't even call it an HEA because I'm not sure these two have what it takes to make it. However, this is a nice, quick read that might appeal to other readers out there.
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