We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
This was a nice little story, but it didn't quite deliver. My main issue was that the relationship development wasn't believable. Adrian was a complete jerk to Oliver. And even after a chance encounter gives them a second chance, Adrian's change of heart wasn't really explained except that Oliver was the only person paying him any attention whatsoever.
Oliver was a sweetheart who seems happy-go-lucky on the outside, but has hidden depths and insecurities. But to be honest, I'm not sure what he saw in Adrian. He admits the first hook up was just an "I'm drunk, you're cute, let's do this!" And after that it really seems like he's just so lonely he'll take whoever he can get.
I think the STD scare was supposed to create drama, but I never even entertained the possibility they could be positive. It sorta felt thrown in at the beginning (which, let's be honest, they were both complete idiots), and then again at the end to give a clear and obvious happy ending. It wasn't really necessary, despite being the primary set-up.
Lastly, I've read a lot of books with a MC who has severe anxiety, they're a favorite trope of mine. But besides the frequent embarrassment, I never felt Adrian's anxiety. He never even came close to a panic attack, and while I believed that yes the character has anxiety, it felt like more of an excuse a lot of the times.
The characters are good (despite Adrian needing to be less of an ass), but a little more length and relationship development would have done this story wonders. Oliver slowly bringing Adrian out of his shell, and Adrian supporting Oliver with his Mum. Not a bad short, just not great either. I would give this author another chance if something stood out.