Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
When forty-year-old Chicago podiatrist Matthew Pepper is approached in a bar by college student Ryan Meade, he figures hooking up with the handsome twenty-one-year-old might be just what he needs to help him get over his recent breakup.
But the hookup doesn’t go as planned and Matthew writes the evening off as a failed one-night-stand. Ryan, however, views things differently. To him, a failed hookup is nothing more than an opportunity to try again.
Ryan pursues Matthew, not just because he wants to be with the man, but because he wants something … and he’s determined to get it. Will Matthew find out Ryan isn’t as transparent as he claims to be? Does Lyin’ Ryan live up to his nickname?
This review will be fairly short because I want to be respectful and yet this book worked on absolutely no level for me. Told in first person, the book starts out with Matthew breaking up with his lover of two years, Donovan. Donovan loves Matthew but he’s spent most of his life in the closet and he just isn’t comfortable in his own skin. “It looks….gay.” This led to Matthew feeling he was the only one doing the work in the relationship and Donovan gets dumped. I was sympathetic to him up to this point, which is unfortunately in the beginning.
Going out looking for a hook up, Matthew is pursued by Ryan, a younger man (21 to Matthew’s near 40), who seems nice and quiet, very into Matthew. Of course Matthew brings him home, asks to see ID, then accuses him of being a prostitute. “Wow, he said…I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being underage and a trick in the same night.” Matthew proceeds to go at it with Ryan, only to stop and treat Ryan poorly. “ I wanted to ask if he’d been crying but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, mainly because I didn’t want to embarrass him but also because I didn’t want to hear the answer.” Let’s mention, it’s Ryan’s birthday when Matthew does this.
And here the story loses me altogether. Ryan gets drunk that night and sends a ton of sexts, calls and messages to Matthew. Again, at first I was sympathetic to Ryan because he had just been rejected on his birthday. Except the weird behavior continues to the point of harassment in a way.
Then we have Donovan, who loves Matthew and wants to get back together. Matthew won’t give him a second chance, he is so sure that Donovan won’t change.
There comes the reason why Ryan is “lyin” and the whole thing just went off the rails for me. We do get to meet Ryan’s mother, Jennifer, who is pretty decent. We get Matthew’s take on women – when he is jealous of Donovan’s friend, Nicole, it is noted, “I probably would have been able to accept her friendship with Donovan as just that: a friendship. But the fact that she was good-looking made me wary.” Donovan has secrets, for sure, but I didn’t feel like everything was his fault.
I think we are supposed to feel sorry for Matthew and he was so unlikeable for me that I just wanted the book to be over. I struggled to finish it and ended up not liking anyone, other than maybe Jennifer.
Cover art, a male side torso with fingers crossed, is simple but fits.
Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published April 13th 2019 by JMS Books LLC