Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
This story is told from Aiden’s point of view and I have to say I liked him immensely. The whole “wow, it’s really been that long since I’ve been to the gym?” was all too familiar for me. It is only a night of tequila with coworkers, specifically Liz (who I also liked so much), that got him roped into do the Mad Mucker obstacle course. Since I also have completed something similar, I felt his pain as he tried to get out of it.
The team is comprised of coworkers of Aiden and Liz, in addition to Liz’s cousin, Matt. Matt is super fit, hot and as a personal trainer he knows what he’s doing. Since he’s so into running and fitness and Aiden is, well, not, Liz teams them up together for training purposes. Aiden is pretty laid back and lighthearted while Matt is much more serious and remote.
They start out being just training partners, moving on to friendly and then friends with benefits. String free, no hearts involved ever. Matt isn’t out to anyone (he’s bisexual) while Aiden is out (gay) but has no intention of commitment to anyone, let alone a relationship.
Both of these guys have baggage from their past but it seems to affect Matt’s life and actions the most. There were times, especially after they started sleeping together and FEELINGS were starting to happen, that I was so aggravated with Matt. As Aiden starts hiding his feelings – I mean, come on, Matt changes plans because he’s going on a date with a woman from work and then is “…formal and icily polite” when Aiden says he’s going to see Pete, another friends with benefits. “Aiden felt a flare of irritation. Did Matt honestly think he was such a sad case that he didn’t have anyone else to spend time with?” I was glad that Aiden has Pete, though. Even without the benefits, Pete is a friend and about the only one Aiden can talk to about Matt. Pete calls him out on it, too as Aiden denies what Matt means to him. “You falling for someone. Nobody’s immune.”
It is complicated and it gets awkward at times, with both men fighting their feelings. The struggles they were both going through were interesting, especially as past history was part of the problem. They had both been hurt and didn’t trust easily. It was so heartbreaking at times to see Aiden trying to make himself believe he was okay with casual with Matt, particularly since Matt just doesn’t want more than sex with a man.
I liked this very much and the whole Mad Mucker just added to the interest for me. It was somehow fitting that things come to a head at the race, since that’s what started it all. I would recommend this highly.
Cover art, a running man, in my mind was Aiden and fit the story very well.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Ye6AFm
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LGRciK
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/NothingVentured
ebook, 142 pages
Published November 12th 2014
Original Title Nothing Ventured
ISBN 163216423X (ISBN13: 9781632164230)
Edition Language English