Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
Mark Ryan is stabbed in the back by a guy he thought was his friend and is fired from a Fortune 500 company he trusted was his future. He’s not in the mood for any male bonding. Some good hard sex, however, is another matter.
Jamie Wilkes’ real last name is not quite as brand-worthy as Rockefeller, but it’s mighty close. When he wanders by Mark’s mammoth glass beach house and finds the hot corporate titan in residence, he jumps at the chance to get to know his secret crush better. If Mark wants to mistake him for a surfer or a beach bum, Jamie’s fine with that. What he’s not fine with, though, is Mark’s closed-off attitude.
The prince believed to be a pauper and the would-be CEO who’s fallen off the corporate ladder both realize this could finally be their chance at something real.
Male Bonding by Angela Claire is a romance in the “mistaken identity” trope. Here it’s the bum/surfer who’s really a multimillionaire, a not unfamiliar role seen in books and stories. Jamie Wilkes has been crushing on his handsome older neighbor down the beach but believes he’s hetero until another female neighbor sets him “straight”. So when he sees Mark Ryan on the worst night of Ryan’s life and the man assumes he’s a beach bum, he lets the assumption stand.
What follows is a confused semi pursuit by each man taking turns when the other temporarily runs into an emotional wall, or they have a fight, throwing hurtful words at each other.
An early M/F/M scene is altogether unnecessary imo and will have most M/M romance readers putting down the story due to it’s graphic M/F content. It’s also doesn’t make me like Jamie very much. Mark has just been fired under the worst conditions. Jamie is lying to him (albeit Mark’s behavior isn’t much above jerk here as well). But Mark is clearly close to full on depression, Jamie is pushing a threesome onto him, saying he wants to push Mark’s boundaries….and this is a man under enough stress as it is?
Of course, Jamie doesn’t back off, bounding into Mark’s life until it’s a case of instant love. You can almost guess the rest of the story. And oh yes, there’s a dog too.
It’s not that it’s a bad story, just a too familiar one that starts with a jarring scene that makes no sense to me if you were setting up a romance between these men. Perhaps others will feel differently. I’ll leave that up to you.
Cover art by Natasha Snow is terrific. Works for both the characters and the storyline.
Published July 31st 2017 by Loose Id LLC (first published July 10th 2013)