Limited new ways exist to start a novel, regardless of genre, and contemporary fiction is even more constrained in options. “Waking up hungover and handcuffed to my best friend’s little brother while stranded in the middle of the woods” is pretty unique, especially when for the beginning of a contemporary romance instead of, say, a horror story. Jett and Kian’s situation was a bit disconcerting but Kian’s endless optimism nicely balances Jett’s (understandable) grumpiness until the vibe fell solidly on the hilarious side.
Despite the incongruity of the opening hook, the main characters of this story felt very real to me, likely because Davison ensures they were so honest with themselves (even if not always with each other). There is still room and reason for the opposite to exist, but I often find myself preferring books where there is little internalized homophobia-inspired angst in “bi-awakening” scenarios. Jett and Kian make the best of a weird situation in a delightfully sexy manner that flowed well and never felt contrived.
Of course, outside of that initial bubble, Jett’s confidence about wanting Kian fades until he nears jerk territory. However, Davison strings enough clues into the narrative to indicate that his reasoning for protecting his heart is valid. Kian promptly getting in over his head was a bit more expected, but I was pleasantly surprised when the dark moment I originally predicted for this story came much too early! After, I was ready to settle in for the rest of the ride wherever it took me.
Though this may be a love story with a comprehensive romance arc, Jett’s character development and the way he relearns trust are the true heart of this book. A handful of other themes, such as Kian’s decision-making about his future, paled by comparison. Ultimately, Davison balances all aspects of this story into a lovely, low-angst tale I recommended to new and familiar readers of this author.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.