We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
I laughed and I cried, and I fell in love with Levi Goode in this highly enjoyable and utterly heartbreaking story from the very talented Ethan Day.
Levi is an event planner in Wilde City who has just scored the biggest event of his career, and the best part is that this fundraiser will be launching him into the spotlight so that he can garner even more business. It doesn’t hurt that his chief competitor has been ill and knocked off her lofty self-important pedestal, and it’s even better when one of the socialites involved in this cancer fundraiser tells him that she’s going to connect him with Julia Freeman-Kingsley whose annual anniversary party is the biggest event in Wilde City each year.
Julia turns out to be a wonderful and vivacious woman and Levi and she hit it off right from the start. Levi works with her to convince her parents, Senator and Mrs. Freeman, that Julia’s first choice of venue is the one that will be best for everyone. Levi’s success and support from Julia couldn’t come at a better time since he’s paying for round-the-clock nursing care for his mother Ruby, a former Vegas showgirl who isn’t one to be tied down for long and needs to be handled with kid gloves. When Ruby falls in her home, and Levi arrives on the scene, he’s greeted by paramedics, one of whom is positively stunning.
A few days later, Levi finds himself asking Jake, the paramedic, if he’d like to attend a local theater showing of Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like It Hot”. After the movie, Levi is totally smitten with Jake and it appears the feeling is mutual, but there’s no opportunity for a kiss goodnight, and Levi accepts that for now. When he accidentally bumps into Jake at Julia Freeman-Kingsley’s apartment a week later, he’s shocked to find out that Jake is Julia’s twin brother, but he’s more shocked to be introduced to Jake’s “husband”, Victor.
Though it turns out that Victor and Jake are not married, needless to say, Levi is horrified that he started to have feelings for Jake and is really angry with Jake for not telling him about Victor. In his very blunt way, Levi lets Jake have it and tells him that there will be no further contact between them. This holds true until one night when the men find themselves getting drunk at a local bar. Jake had been helping Levi gather photos of Julia and her husband that day for a secret anniversary gift and stopped at the bar for a drink. When they run into Levi’s former boyfriend Dan celebrating his engagement to his new boyfriend—the one Dan left Levi for—there’s no stopping Levi from getting bombed. Jake escorts a drunken Levi home, and though there’s no kissing or sex involved, a loose-lipped Jake tells Levi how wonderful and kissable he is and how much he cares about him. Even drunk, Levi can’t believe how inappropriate Jake is being, and he bans him from his life, asking for no contact at all. He manages to hold in his tears until Jake is gone and then cries his heart out knowing that he’s finally met the one man in the world who he knows is just for him, but he simply can’t have him. Levi’s moral code would never allow him to be the cause of Jake cheating on Victor.
I really enjoyed this story. Ethan Day did such a wonderful job building Levi’s character. He’s bright and witty, funny, sarcastic, loving and emotional and a terrific son to his mother. Jake’s character is tragic in that he has always been different from his wealthy family and he saw Victor as his savior when they first met. But he and Victor have been growing apart for years and he feels unable to fulfill Victor’s needs in the same way that he couldn’t fulfill his father’s dreams for him. The secondary characters are varied and outrageous. From the amazingly campy and fun-loving Ruby, to Levi’s new sexy assistant Angelo who makes no secret that he wants to get in Levi’s pants, to the abrasive and often rude, Valerie, Levi’s assistant, best friend, and chief nag.
The one thing I didn’t like in the story was the acceleration in Valerie’s obnoxious behavior in the Epilogue. If she hadn’t appeared in the Epilogue, or if her language had been toned down, I would have liked the story better. In fact, I liked the story much better up to the point where the Epilogue began. That fell flat for me. It didn’t have the same feel as the rest of the story, and I was left disappointed.
However, overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it to lovers of M/M romance, especially those who want angst and unrequited love, slow burn and a long difficult path to their HEA for the MCs. This story is also a fine example of Ethan Day’s humorous writing style and it left me smiling and chuckling about Ruby long after I finished the book. Don’t miss out on this one!