More like 2.5 stars. This was an adequate little m/m short, but it kind of left me wanting. And not in that "Ooh, I wish it could go on forever" way. In that "I wish this had been more satisfying" way - like when you really want a good burger but you end up at McDonald's?
This was a cute m/m romance between Kevin, who has recently been laid off and is working at a carwash, struggling to pay for food and recently evicted from his apartment, and Michael, a super rich divorce lawyer who rejected Kevin's advances 9 years ago when Michael was 21 and Kevin was 15. So the two romance obstacles that they deal with are their awkard past, and Michael's current desire to take care of Kevin by just sort of throwing money at all of his problems.
The things I didn't like about this story:
1. The "I used to have a huge crush on you" angle is one of my favorites in romantic fiction. There's so much potential there. It was a fantastic
angle in Jet Mykle's Pergatory, and made that story so great. But it just wasn't explored here. Not to the extent that I would have preferred. I wanted to really feel how amazing it would be to be with this person for the first time, after having feelings for them so long ago and being rejected. But it was totally rushed.
2. Michael, even though his heart was in the right place, was totally
out of line with all the things he did to try to take care of Kevin. I totally understand why Kevin was upset about it. I don't feel like this was really resolved to my satisfaction. You can't build a relationship when your foundation is that unbalanced, and I just didn't think this got explored to the extent that it needed to. I have a hard time accepting the HEA with an issue that big lurking in the background.
3. This kind of ties in with issue one, but character develoment was nil. Usually, I might be tempted to give the benefit of the doubt because the story was only 100 pages and it's difficult to do a lot of character development in a book that short. But having just read Evangeline Anderson's Str8te Boys and seeing what totally compelling characters she was able to create and what a satisfying story she was able to tell in only 60 pages, it just sets the bar higher for everyone else.
4. The sex scenes weren't all that hot. Maybe this is because I didn't ever feel connected to the characters. But they also seemed like just a collection of common terms in m/m romance, almost like a fill-in-the-blank scene. It didn't feel original and there was very little tension.
What I liked:
I did have a lot of complaints about this story, but overall it was very sweet. Especially the end, at a fourth of July celebration with Michael's family. I finished the story with a smile on my face, so that counts for something.