Rating: 4.25 stars
Ethan Roberts is waiting in the outside office for his interview for TA when he spots Aaron Marcus, Sociology PhD candidate sitting nearby, obviously there for the same reason. On first look, Aaron’s quiet, reserved behavior makes Ethan give him no more than a casual glance. But as his waiting time extends, Ethan’s attention is drawn back to Aaron and he starts noticing things that he had missed the first time around. In fact after he makes introductions, Ethan starts to think that perhaps the answer to the endless parade of bed partners might just be a monogamous relationship with the adorable Aaron. Now only if he can get Aaron to take his courtship seriously.
Aaron is shy and nerdy, hiding behind his glasses. His prickly, insecure nature comes from past hurts and humiliations so the last person he would trust to have his best interests at heart would be the resident gay Don Juan himself, Ethan Roberts. He doesn’t understand why Ethan keeps giving him things, from a gorgeous and outrageously expensive bouquet of flowers to a box of chocolates the lactose intolerant Aaron can’t eat. But the more Ethan pursues him, the closer the two men become. Little by little, Ethan helps Aaron understand that he is reliable enough for Aaron to lean on and Aaron gets Ethan to believe that a real grown up relationship is the key to happiness.
The Theory of Attraction is the first story I have read by Cleon Lee and I loved it. I found the characters endearing and complex enough to keep my interest. I thought also that the way Lee allowed their relationship to build in small realistic steps instead of huge leaps of “instant love” emotionally rewarding and satisfying. I admit that nerd love is always a big hit for me and Aaron definitely fits in that category. But Aaron is far more complicated than the typical stereotype. I love that he mentors troubled gay youths in a realistic manner, and that past hurts have caused him to be very wary of future relationships. Cleon Lee makes it easy to understand that Aaron’s cold demeanor is really just a preemptive strike aimed at shielding himself from more pain and disillusionment. Ethan is also more than his “golden boy” exterior. Good looks equaled frequent casual sexual partners for Ethan. And the author has Ethan deciding that his lifestyle had gotten stale and unrewarding prior to meeting Aaron and that was a nice change to the stories that have people changing for someone else. Again a nicely authentic touch and a terrific job in crafting main characters you will trust with your affections.
The author delivers a delightful romance between two endearing characters in Theory of Attraction and in the end isn’t that what makes us smile? I loved reading this. A sweet, endearing love story that went down as easily as Hot Toddy on a cold autumn day. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up.
Cover: This is another Reese Dante cover that is just perfection. It fits the characters and the setting.