I'm sorry, Ms. Yates, I don't want to be mean. I appreciate your dedication to writing and the time and energy you put into providing this free read. I don't give low ratings very often, but I really didn't like this. It hit some buttons for me, though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I am still interested in reading one of your other stories.
Anyone have any recommendations? Let me know after you read this review so you know what I didn't like.
My review: If this were written by someone very new to writing, I would think it good. It has that same sort of naivete and simplistic, forthright and guileless story-telling that most of us start out with. The language was clear and concise, and better than the majority of people can write. It was clear what the author was trying to say at every moment. The word usage, grammar, and the writing style were all very good. And she didn't overuse the thesaurus, the trap a lot of writers fall into. So I think she's capable of much better than this one. Maybe her other books are good. Maybe this one was just rushed. I know this year the amount of time given to authors was very short.
It even started off pretty well. The first couple of paragraphs felt awkward, but then it got into a groove and I could imagine a 3 star rating. But then it just went all wonky. There was so much that was important that was left out I was like, "Er, what?" At no time did either the MC or the love interest bring up being gay to the other or suspected or questioned it in their heads before they started to touch each other. I mean not even the "he was giving me this look that I knew meant he was interested" or "I could tell he was into guys..." There was no sexual tension, no foreplay, just, "Hi, I'm touching you now and I didn't even ask or hint to you that I wanted to," kind of thing.
This was not a romance at all because there was no time to have one. 30 seconds after they meet one is already being held tightly by the other. a few minutes after that, one was in the shower turned on. a few minutes after that they were doing the equivalent of a backroom flyby.
This wasn't even erotica because the sex was really minor and short. Even after they slept together, the older man assumed they would now have sex a lot and there was no discussion, the story just ended. When they had only known each other five minutes, this 18-yr-old virgin says he wants to sleep with this man he doesn't even know is gay or even thought might be an issue.
I hate age differences and one between a tiny little 18-yr-old high school virgin who looks 16, and is innocent as anything, and a nearly 30-yr-old experienced Porsche owner is disturbing. I was thoroughly creeped out. Alert: teenage boys do not act like do they act like men. Nor do they act like teenage girls. The protagonist acted like, thought like, even sort of looked like a girl. No way was this written by a man. But it didn't even fit the tired old het romance tropes, either. It wasn't that detailed.
The plot was ages old and not executed well: Teenage boys treat gay kid like scum, even though they don't even suspect he's gay. They invite him to go away for the weekend with them. He goes only to make sure they don't wake up his mom because she needs her sleep. He just thinks it will suck and doesn't think about the dangers. Hasn't he watched any TV or high school movies in the past decade?
Everything was so obvious I felt like I was reading billboards. The jocks do something to him of course. But they don't stick around to see what happens. They just do the thing and then take off. They don't wait around to laugh. They don't prank him more by taking his keys or slashing his tires. Once he is in the middle of what they do (which takes only a few seconds), they're gone and they're never brought up again. That thread just stops and basically the story just stops shortly thereafter, too.
There was no explanation even hinted at for why the love interest matched Zeph's dream man exactly, like a twin. The story ended right after they slept together for the first time, like, as soon as they came. The sex was simply one of the men jacking both of them off which happened about ten minutes after they met. See? No time for anything to develop. It was like "here's the story, look at that pretty man, here's a lukewarm erotica-type scene.
The best thing about it was the cover. (That's pretty hot.)
2.25 stars because of everything involving the love interest. Ew, perv.
Happy ending? I suppose you could call it that, although it was hard to tell what was going to happen. It wasn't unhappy. It just wasn't. It stopped abruptly. It was an HFN I guess.