Title: Clique (Heartsville)
Author: Jayden Brooks
Pages/Word Count: 78 Pages
At a Glance: Funny, sweet, and sarcastic, Clique is a story about taking risks, hanging on, and fighting for something real.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Adam Locke’s youthful looks aren’t the blessing everyone seems to think. At twenty-eight, he’s a successful photographer with his own studio and respected by his peers—but that doesn’t seem to matter to the men who catch his eye. Instead, he’s brushed aside like an underage twink with a daddy fetish.
When a hot, bearded stranger stops him from accidentally walking into traffic, Adam looks up and finds the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, his first meeting with Brandon ends with him being dismissed as a kid. Again. Adam can’t help his annoyance. He also can’t help staring (and drooling) whenever he spots Brandon walking through the neighborhood with a different dog.
He watches from afar, wondering about Brandon’s story—until the day he’s dared to take another chance. It’s just the push Adam needs, and finally, he catches Brandon’s interest. Now if only he could figure out the key to getting taciturn Brandon to open up and let Adam in. But Adam knows sometimes all it takes is a little patience for the last piece to click into place.
Review: When Piper Vaugh said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that sometimes you just need a bit of fluff reading mixed in with all the drama and angst we also love, she couldn’t have been speaking more of the truth for me. This sweet compilation of stories is set in the enchanting little gayborhood known as Heartsville, a place that simply oozes charm and feels ripe for two people meeting and falling madly in love.
The first thing that drew me in to Jayden Brooks’ Clique is the humor, and I fell for Adam Locke’s voice right from the outset of the book. This story is not only told in the first person, but Brooks also allows Adam to break the fourth wall, and I have to say I liked the conversational vibe of the story, which wouldn’t have worked at all if Adam hadn’t been so likeable. Adam speaks to us while he’s thinking out loud and telling his story, and I found myself smiling on more than one occasion as he drew me in with his self-deprecating ways.
Adam is a grown man who often passes for many years younger than his actual age, a frequent mistake which seems to be a factor in him honing a bit of a sarcastic streak. Which immediately endeared him to me because, really, who doesn’t love a little sarcasm? One of the things that I think gave Clique a little realism, although it’s still a total meet-cute, is that when Adam and Brandon do first meet—or, I should say, when Brandon knocks Adam off his feet. Literally—it’s not a magical “aaaah” angels singing, harps playing moment. And it also involves a pup, so bonus cute! Brandon is the prickly-prickly to Adam’s funny-prickly, and the contrast worked for me because it gave the author the chance to offer a slower build to the relationship; or, at least as slow as the word count would allow.
Add to that a hilariously awkward “meet the parents” moment, not to mention that mischievous pup, as well as an almost deal-breaker misunderstanding that an obstinate Brandon let get a little out of control, and I wasn’t sure Adam and Brandon were ever going to get to the point where they’d get to know each other, shall we say, more intimately? But, fitting into the sweet scenarios these books are meant to offer, Jayden Brooks ultimately gets down to the plucking of the sentimental heartstrings that leads this book to its happy ending.
Adam gives us a peek into his story through the lens of his narrative, a story about taking risks, hanging on, and fighting for something real, something more, and something everlasting. At its heart, that’s what Clique is all about.
You can buy Clique here: