Book: Dating Ryan Alback
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: February 20, 2017
Cover artist: LC Chase
Length: 255 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.
Jason Santos has almost everything he's ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can't seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.
When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they'll both have to learn to let go of the past.
Greetings! I'm J.E. Birk, and right now I'm traversing the internets to discuss my new romantic comedy, DATING RYAN ALBACK. Follow along to learn more about an insecure movie star, a klutzy teacher, and the neurotic dog who loves them. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide giftcard and copy of any book from my backlist!
How do I describe this book in one word? Adorable! How many times have we, as a teenager, watched a TV show with the hottie and wished he was ours? If you say never you lie! Ryan Alback was a teenage heartthrob who has grown a lot in Hollywood and is now doing another show that is his first as an adult actually playing an adult.
Jason Santos is a seventh grade English teacher in Colorado. You don’t get more normal than that. He’s a simple guy who loves helping kids and is trying to get a nonprofit going. I loved Jason throughout this entire book. He’s lovely, genuine, and he’s even a tiger in bed. He’s all the things Ryan needs in a partner.
I want to talk a second about Ryan’s dog Alby. I love Alby and my heart broke for him but I also couldn’t stop laughing at his antics! Alby wins best secondary character in this book!
Now, when you date a celebrity you date their past, present, and future. Like in any relationship we have to make up for all the crappy ones before it, and these two have some work to do in that department… especially Ryan!
This is a truly sweet and adorable love story. It’s got some romantic suspense to it and even some OMG suspense to it too. Jilted lovers, and ex’s pining. Pushy mothers, and sweet fathers. It has so much and I really enjoyed it.
Dessert came, and Jason spotted Ryan eyeing his maple brownie with ice cream. “Regretting your maple cheesecake?” he asked, unable to resist smirking slightly.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Ryan shrugged. “It’s delicious. You really, truly don’t know what you’re missing. I was just thinking that brownie and cheesecake, they’re two such different textures. Tastes. You and I don’t eat maple-flavored desserts much; it’s a shame we can’t both try these two very different desserts.”
Jason took a sip of wine. “Ryan, would you like to split desserts?”
“I mean, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this cheesecake.”
Jason rolled his eyes and cut the brownie in half. In truth, he’d been hoping to snag a bite of the cheesecake.
“This is amazing,” Ryan said as he dove into his second bite of brownie. “The way the chocolate flavor merges with the sugar of the syrup? It’s so perfectly balanced. I can’t believe it’s not too rich.”
“You are such a foodie,” Jason told him. “I can’t believe it. I always thought TV stars lived on lettuce and turkey burgers.”
“Oh, I definitely should. But food’s always been one of my favorite things. My parents are big food people; my mom loves to cook. So I eat the extra calories and work out more than everyone else. It’s worth it.”
Jason thought about what Ryan had looked like in his boxers earlier and couldn’t help but wonder how much “extra time” he put in at the gym.
They drove back to the inn, where Ryan surprised Jason when they reached their doors by asking, “Want to come in?”
Yeah. He definitely did.
Ryan pulled some bottles of water out of the minibar and handed one to Jason as he sat down on the couch.
“That was a great restaurant,” Ryan said, flopping onto the couch next to him.
“It was,” Jason agreed. Some of the awkwardness from early in the evening sank back over him. Where was this weekend-long date going? “Ryan?” he said.
“Thanks. For, you know, understanding about the massage thing. And not laughing your ass off at me on our tour today. Not to mention that I’ve had a good time this weekend. To be honest, I’ve had a much better time than I’d expected.”
Ryan laughed out loud. “I’m not sure that’s exactly a compliment.”
“You know what I mean. Doing this definitely wasn’t my idea. But I’m glad I got picked. I’ve had a nice time with you.”
Ryan grinned. “I kind of had a feeling you didn’t enter yourself in this contest. Doesn’t exactly seem like it would be your thing.” He shrugged. “But whoever did it or talked you into this, I’m glad they did. For the record.”
Was it Jason’s imagination, or was Ryan sidling closer to him on the couch?
“I’ve been dreading this weekend,” Ryan continued. “Wanted nothing to do with it. But against every odd possible, I’ve had a nice time with you too. One of the nicest times I’ve had with anyone in a while.”
Then Jason was sure it wasn’t his imagination—Ryan was definitely closer than he had been, and Jason was moving toward him as well.
Their lips touched, quickly at first. Ryan set his hand gently on Jason’s lower back, and it was almost as though a tremor passed through Jason’s body. He wondered, as his own hand explored its way up and down Ryan’s back, if Ryan felt tremors of his own.
They stayed like that for several long moments, bodies barely touching, hands exploring slightly, mouths working over and around one another’s. When they finally moved away from one another, it was like coming up for air.
“Umm,” said Ryan.
“I hope that’s code for ‘Let’s do that some more,’” Jason joked hesitantly. Had he actually just made out with Ryan Alback? And enjoyed it?
Natalia was never going to let him hear the end of this.
About J.E. Birk
J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks. You can follow her ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.
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To celebrate the release of Dating Ryan Alback, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide Publishing credit and their choice of ebook from J.E.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!