“Never judge someone by their relatives.” ― Charles Martin
Blurb: Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.
When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?
Rick R. Reed was one of the first M/M authors I ever read. The first book I read by him was Mute Witness and that book has stuck with me for a long time. I love Rick’s writing style and all of his characters, even the ones that, at first, seem to have no redeemable qualities. When I finished this book I had to sit back and let it marinate in my mind for a day. I just had to find the right words to get all the feels from my heart to the document.
In this story we get to meet an interesting cast of characters. First we meet Brandon, a cuddly bear of a man that is looking for love. There is also Nate. Oh Nate! When we meet Nate he is realizing he is tired of the one-night-stand routine his life has fallen into. Then there are Marilyn and Hannah. Hannah is Nate’s sister and roommate. Marilyn is Hannah’s co-worker and close friend.
Brandon wants to find a forever man, not someone just to scratch an itch, but someone to share his life with. He has very limited sexual experience and he wants any experience to MEAN something. So while avoiding Craig’s list and Grindr he sets up a profile on OpenHeartOpenMind. This site appears to have more men looking for love and less looking for a one night stand.
Nate has been living the wild and free life for a while now and he has just himself realized that he wants more. He wants that forever guy, but he has no idea how to even start looking for him. Lucky for him he gets a little help from an unlikely source.
Hannah and Marilyn are an unusual pair. Hannah loves her brother Nate, but at the same time she is so envious of him she doesn’t know which way to turn. Marilyn! Where do I start? Marilyn is a hard drinking, outspoken lover of gay romance novels and gay men. These two women have a unique relationship and I think a little unrequited love going on Marilyn’s side.
One night while having a few drinks, Hannah and Marilyn decide to check out the gay dating sites on the computer. When they come across OpenHeartOpenMind they realize they need a user acct to browse the site so they make one up using Nate’s information. When Hannah sees Brandon’s ad, she is immediately smitten with him. Even though deep down she knows there can be no future with Brandon she is so lonely she starts to fall for him. Brandon thinks he is talking to another man and eventually he asks to meet in person and this request starts the ball rolling into a hot mess of lies, deceit and some very hurt feelings.
Once Nate finds out what Hannah has done he and Hannah decide that it would be nicer to meet Brandon and let him down easy instead of just deleting Nate’s profile and disappearing. When Nate meets Brandon that idea is shot to hell because these two have an immediate attraction that neither can just let go. This first meeting begins a whirlwind romance that could last a lifetime. Unfortunately one of the only things that could wreck it is dishonesty and Brandon has no idea that so far he is one of the only honest people in the whole mix. Hannah’s jealousy leads her in a direction that could not only cost Nate the man of his dreams, but could cost her the love of her brother.
Eventually Nate realizes that he has to come completely clean with Brandon if there is any hope for a future between them. Not only does he have to confess to Hannah’s duplicity but he has another big secret that he has kept from everyone in his life. Hannah has to come clean as well and face up to her own jealousy and admit to her duplicitous actions.
I won’t go into any more detail because I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone. This book is another hit for Mr. Reed, and I just can’t say enough about how much I loved it. Nate and Brandon quickly grabbed my heart strings and the last quarter of the book just made me love them more. I like how he also mentioned some of my other favorite authors in the book, and I am still looking for those BF Mann novels!
If you haven’t read a book by Mr. Reed this is a great place to start and if you, like me, are a huge fan, you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Jackie