This is an example of a novel that could’ve been even better if they used a better copy editor, and this has nothing to do with the poor formatting of Amazon’s conversion process from the publisher provided copy. This is my honest response and I received no compensation.
Overall the story and characters were engaging I thought Brad and Sebastian were great and I really hope Colin, Ashley and Kyle make an appearance in another novel in the series, but it doesn’t look like it. There were moments where I laughed out loud and there were even a few moments where my breath caught in my chest, but in the long run I was let down by the editing and a vital choice the author made early on in the novel. I definitely wanted to know more about the characters, but I felt I really got to know who Brad was and who he was becoming in the short 170 pages of this novel.
I thought the concept of the novel is great, hot jock and nerdy (but still hot/ripped) TA hook up and the story continues. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a major crush on a TA in undergrad, although he was technically just a teacher. Let’s put it this way, when he wasn’t teaching in French he had an amazing British accent, plus glasses, so yeah.
So the personal reason I didn’t like the novel is because after Sebastian and Brad start seeing each other, Sebastian constantly refers to Brad as ‘hun’ or ‘hunny’ and it just drove me nuts. Every time I read those words it grated on my nerves and made me shudder and not like Sebastian even though he wasn’t a bad character. I also felt it was demeaning to Brad and that at one point I thought Tenino might use it as a way of showing that Sebastian was serious about Brad towards the end of the novel by having him not say it anymore, but she didn’t.
The reason the copy editing, or lack thereof, was so distracting is because they were one-offs. If it had been something as egregious as the same word being misspelled throughout the entire novel I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. The two examples that stand out to me are Brad calls Sebastian, ‘Seb’ exactly two times. Once he wonders internally whether Sebastian would like it and then he says it again at a later time with little connection that I can remember and this was strange as he is Sebastian everywhere else in the novel. The second time was during an intimate scene someone’s pants are being taken off and someone else’s aren’t and it is very confusing. I read the sentence three times and finally just skipped it and pretended like the rest of the scene made sense.
Recommendation: If you like M/M romance/erotica, I think you’ll definitely like this. If you have no desire to read it, give this one a pass. I’m not sure if this was Tenino’s first foray into novels, but I am going to read the second novel in this ‘series’ to see if there are any improvements.
Opening Line: “One of Brad’s frat brothers bent over naked in the locker room showers early one Thursday morning, and he thought, ‘I’d tap that.'”
Closing Line: “Brad smiled against his chin. ‘Yeah. I want that. Let’s go.'” (Whited out.)