Sloane loves a good mystery. He grew up as the son of two psychiatrists, so he finds most people tediously easy to figure out. He finds his way to Pennsylvania State University, longing for a rural experience, and ends up being lured into joining a frat by Micah Springfield, the hippest guy on campus.
Nothing in Sloane’s classes is as intriguing as Hank Springfield, Micah’s brother and fellow frat house member. Hank looks like a tough guy—big muscles, tatts, and a beard—but his eyes are soft and sweet. He acts dumb, but he’s a philosophy major. He’s presumably straight, but then why does Sloane feel such crazy chemistry whenever Hank is around? And why does Hank hate Sloane so much?
When Sloane ends up stuck on campus over Christmas, Micah invites him to spend the holidays at their family farm in Amish country. It’s a chance to experience a true Americana Christmas–and further investigate the mystery that is Hank Springfield. Can Sloane unlock the secrets of this family and unwrap the heart hidden inside the beefcake?
Sloane and Hank are quite opposites – not only in appearance, but in personality too. Sloane is interested in Hank, seeing him as a puzzle to solve, and also attracted to him. Hank is totally unaware of his sexuality, he is so deep in denial that he doesn’t even admit it to himself. The openly gay Sloane irritates him, makes him uncomfortable, his mere existence provokes animosity from him toward Sloane.
So Hank’s brother, Micah, determined to smooth this situation over, makes them to organize the Christmas party together, hoping if they get to know each other, maybe they will get along better.
It’s partly a hate-to-love, and also an opposites-attract story.
Sloane and me, we were like oil and water, or maybe a bottled home-made brew and some prissy champagne.
Sloane is extroverted, very social and everyone likes him. He is intelligent, sharp-tongued and perceptive; trendy, cute, and delicate.
Hank is introverted, more silent, deep thinking, a huge guy with big muscles, tatts and a beard. He is also very smart, majors in philosophy, and according to Sloane, he is full of contradictions. But I didn’t find Hank as intriguing as Sloane did.
I liked Micah though, and his little intrigue. I always like situations where characters are forced to be together, to interact and to get to know each other.
The writing is great and engaging, filled with humor, witty and smooth dialogues, and fun banters. The dual point of view in first person is nicely done too.
Romance and Erotica
I have a problem with the structure of the plot.
The main part of the story is the build-up, the anticipation. Actually we are just waiting for Hank to pull his head out of his ass. It is very elongated and I don’t like to wait.
In order to set the wheels in motion, the jealousy card is played – I don’t like that either.
The first kiss is at 82%!! It is amazingly written, yes, but… at 82%??!!
The first (and only) sex scene is at the end. Actually, it is the last scene. It is not credible. After years of denial, ignoring and oppressing his feelings and desires, Hank wants it all – for the first time. Not really believable, but hey, maybe he wanted to make up for the long wait.
Hank admitting himself he might be gay, admitting his attraction to Sloane, acting on this revelation and attraction (first kiss and first sex), becoming emotionally committed, and being out and proud all happened pretty much in a couple of days. After that much build-up and denial it is just too fast.
All in all, 2.5 stars for the enjoyable moments and for the great writing.
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