Cover Design: Reverie Design
Length: 68,690 words
O’Malley Ramsey, math aficionado, grew up next door to Garrison Rook, All-American athlete. While O’Malley dreamed of numbers and kissing Garrison, Garrison’s tastes ran to home runs and hot chicks. During a family celebration the night before both young men were heading off for college, O’Malley joyously discovers that Garrison isn’t quite as straight as the star athlete had been pretending to be. Vows to return to each other quickly followed a few clumsy kisses in the old treehouse in the Rook’s backyard.
O’Malley came home to Garrison. Garrison never returned to O’Malley.
Four years later, the two ex-friends meet up at a summer camp where O’Malley is serving as a counselor. Garrison is desperate to make things right with his childhood friend, but can O’Malley, still nursing the pain and mistrust of Garrison’s betrayal, ever forgive or love Garrison again?
Who knows you better than your best friend? And who has the ability to hurt you more (or forgive you) like that person? What happens when that friendship is taken to the next level?
Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes for one very big reason: it takes an already existing relationship and deepens it. There are reasons that people become friends, some commonality that isn’t shared by someone else. If we’re lucky, that one thing turns into many until the bonds of friendship are formed. Now, strengthen them by adding romantic love, and you have the potential for a long lasting relationship.
O’Malley Ramsey has been out for years. He’s had the love and support of not one, but two families; his father and his next door neighbors. His neighbors have a son the same age, Garrison Rook. The two end up as the best of friends despite how different they are. O’Malley is gay and the brains, helping his friend with the more cerebral challenges of school. Garrison is straight and the brawn, often defending O’Malley against the school bully. The two seem to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The night before Garrison leaves, he and O’Malley have a few drinks and share a kiss. Bonds are strengthened and promises are made…
…Only not to be kept.
O’Malley’s hurt turns to anger and resentment that he carries with him for years, which is understandable and relatable. The person he trusted most let him down in the worst possible way.
They reconnect at, of all places, a math camp that Garrison’s sister attends.
I really enjoyed the slow rebuilding of their friendship. Nothing seemed forced or contrived. O’Malley had a lot of trust issues he had to work through thanks to Garrison. And Garrison had come to terms with not only how he had treated O’Malley, but his own sexuality. The ways in which the two work together to overcome their individual obstacles speaks to the depth of the friendship they once had.
Nothing is rushed, in either the writing or the characters reconciliation. While told strictly from O’Malley’s point of view, there’s never any doubt how Garrison feels. Personally, I give credit to an author who has the ability to convey the emotions of a character when the story isn’t told in the eyes of the MC.
This is a really good story about friendship lost, trust regained, and what happens when the love you have for your friend deepens into something more.
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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.
When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.