Monday, November 21, 2016

Release Day Review ~ The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You: Book Three) by Renae Kaye

Release Day Review ~ The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You: Book Three) by Renae Kaye

Title: The Straight Boyfriend
Series: Loving You: Book Three
Author: Renae Kaye
Release Date: November 21, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Pages: 220
Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.
Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.
Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes.
Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

*I'm almost a little scared to post this review because I had no clue that there was so much controversy over this author, her books or the GFY trope. I personally enjoy GFY stories, not because I think that it's possible or common but because I like the idea that two people can fall in love and that love trumps absolutely everything. I've always considered GFY characters to essentially be either Bi and this just happens to be the first case that they put it together and/or were able to admit it to themselves. Or they are Pan or Omnisexual and happen to have fallen in love with the person regardless of their gender. Either way, I always look at romance novels as fiction, fantasy, and entertainment. Not a reflection of real life that I expect to happen all the time.*

Aaron Hall seems to have a lot going for him in life. A good family, a good job and great friends. He's good looking and doesn't have too much difficulty getting women. What he does have trouble with, however, is being monogamous. If a woman makes it past the 3-month mark with him, their relationship generally ends with him cheating on her. The last relationship he had, he and his girlfriend bought a house together but like the previous relationships he'd had, that one too ended. This time it happened after one of his girlfriends showed up to his house only to come face to face with his live-in girlfriend.

Now Aaron is stuck with a mortgage he can't afford and no woman. So when his friend Vinnie asks to move in with him in order to start being a more responsible adult, Aaron only has to think about it for a minute or two. Vinnie is fun to hang out with and the fact that he's gay doesn't bother Aaron. After all, most of the guys Aaron hangs out with are gay. He has no problem with gay.

As Aaron and Vinnie quickly adjust to sharing a home, the two become even better friends. They seem to mesh well and the more they bond the more their friendship begins taking on a different feel. Attraction begins to develop between them and slowly they begin on a journey of self-discovery, love and friendship. And most importantly what it means to be in a relationship with another man when you've never considered yourself gay.

Personally, when I look at Aaron's sexuality I didn't understand why he had so much trouble coming to terms with the fact that he was possibly bisexual. It was as if he got stuck at the label gay and just couldn't get past it. He didn't take the time to research bisexuality or Pansexual, Omnisexual or any other sexual orientation. I myself am not an expert in sexuality but I know enough to know that there are many different ways a person can identify themselves and people aren't exactly the same. He spent way too much time fighting the label of gay instead of just accepting he had feelings for Vinnie, a great friend and partner who happened to be a man.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this story. It was more realistic, in my opinion, to have Aaron struggling with being intimate with Vinnie than for him to just go from straight to bi. And honestly, I liked that he was aware that monogamy was not something he was good at. He's an a** when it comes to women but he knows it and isn't proud of it as much as he just accepts that this is him.

Vinnie is funny and cute but I had difficulty at first connecting with him. He kind of snuck up on me as the story progressed and I wound up falling in love with him. He was a great match for Aaron and while he set himself up for heartbreak he was a strong character. I would love to see more of him and Aaron.

I am going to give this 5 Stars! It's funny, sweet and sexy. I would recommend to anyone who loves the GFY trope or happen to be a fan of Renae Kaye.

5 Stars

5 Stars

 Dear Ms Kaye. I am sorry to have to say, 'Move over Jay, there's a couple of new guys in town'.
This is book 3 in the Loving You series, and whilst I loved both previous books, this one touched my heart in ways I hadn't imagined. I think RK wrote it for me, because she gave me exactly what I needed from this tale. I'd kind of had a bit of a spot-on guess that Aaron and Vinnie would get their tale, which RK was kind to confirm and therefore, no apologies, I'm going to consider this book a slightly late birthday pressie for yours truly.

It's quite unlike any book I've ever read, because for the most, it focuses on the guys' sincere friendship, their lack of guile, their deepening relationship that both are conscious of, but also their growing, changing feelings that neither denies. So, you'd think there might not really be that many obstacles, right? I mean Aaron is surrounded by gay/bi friends and isn't threatened and doesn't have any issues with any aspects of their sexuality or relationships, and is up front and honest, and Vinnie is up for pretty much anything Aaron is willing to offer, right? Nope, common sense, respect and real liking prevail and honesty is both their initial downfall, and then the making of them.

The sex is sweet, romantic, connecting and I believed 100% in the tale that RK told. I loved that Aaron could talk openly and honestly with his best friend, Liam, who's in a relationship with Jay (still a case of Hail Jay!), and the conversation the two had about loving someone and what it means, was humbling. It made me think and feel and re-evaluate my own relationship. *sniff*.

For me, what made the tale was the epilogue, which is seen in bits: a few months after the guys get together and realise they're it for each other, a few years down the line when their relationship (and a tree they've planted) grows and deepens, and again, several years later when their happiness is cemented in the best possible way (and the tree's roots widens, as its canopy spreads and it grows and matures). Yes, I am talking about an actual, living tree. Read and it'll become clear.

I'm not sure if there will be more tales in this series, as it's not that clear, but a couple of characters got small amounts of page-time, with a hint or two of one not being quite what he seems, and the other having been hurt in the past, so I live in hope (and I'm pretty good at pestering/begging!).

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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