Author: Michelle King
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 37k Words
Category: Contemporary Romance, BDSM
At a Glance: I really wanted to like this book, but sadly it’s a miss for me that I can’t recommend.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: For Travis, it was business as usual at the office of Wentwood Investments, other than the annoying task of finding a new account manager for his expanding department. Everything changed the moment Jeremy Roberson walked into the room for a job interview. The cuddly butterball was everything Travis liked in a partner…other than the closet locked around him.
The closet’s walls may have been cold, but the heat between Jeremy and Travis scorched. Nothing could stop the firestorm, not even the threat of a lawsuit or the disapproval of the dreaded HR department. They needed each other, emotionally and professionally. Unfortunately, fear held Jeremy. It was a fear Travis knew well.
If he was going to find paradise alongside Jeremy, it appeared he’d have to help his secret partner claim his homosexuality. It wouldn’t be much fun, no, but it wouldn’t be the first closet he’d stormed. And Jeremy was worth it.
Publisher’s Note: Butterball was previously released by another publisher but it has been revised and re-edited in this version.
Review: Oh my… Where to start? So, I actually owned the original version of the book but never got around to reading it. But then I thought, Oh, it’s available for review in a revised, re-edited form and I still find the blurb intriguing, so let’s go for it.
Sadly, that was a mistake.
Travis is a wealthy, self-made man. He’s had a very tough life growing up with his homophobic father and abuse-victim mother. His father tried to literally beat the gay out of him, but when that didn’t work, dear old dad took off. JoBeth, his BFF from those days, works for him now, and she decides to butt into his personal life and tries to set him up with someone she believes is a closeted guy in a bid to “help” both of them.
The second page into the book—and the “description” that Travis gives of himself as a gay man and his preferred partner type—began to set off some alarms for me. I was quite turned off by this, and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like it. I had hoped it was a one-off, but in fact, things got worse from there.
Jeremy is the subject in question of JoBeth’s meddling. He’s an overweight guy who, while very smart, is desperate for a job and pretty willing to do what it takes to get one, as he’s getting to the end of his rope. He suffers from low self-esteem, also having been raised in a homophobic household where he was abused by a stepfather. Of course, Travis wants him immediately. JoBeth somewhat pushes Jeremy into seeking out Travis after work hours, and he does, which leads to some extracurricular activities that any self-respecting businessman and/or applicant would NEVER in a million years pursue. I guess my HR hat is coming out again, but honestly, this is the kind of thing that is just skeevy in my opinion. So, red flag number two.
Well, things go on, Jeremy is still in the running, and JoBeth kinda spills the beans to Travis’s admin, whose husband just happens to be the head of HR, about this little side deal Travis has going on with Jeremy. Needless to say, the HR guy blows his stack and tells Travis to basically keep it in his pants. I’ve seen people fired for way less than this, but I guess if you own the company and you can afford to write checks with lots of zeroes to make it go away, maybe that’s SOP???
Anyway, there is a lot of drama—homophobic comments on dates, Jeremy eating his way through every crisis of confidence, Travis calling him cute names and cajoling him into doing things, etc. But the verbiage is excruciating. The descriptions of people and body parts threw me out of the story repeatedly, which is not a good sign. Honestly, I was just so surprised by this that I really had to keep reading to see if there would be any improvement. I’m sorry to say that there wasn’t.
The other thing that really bothered me about this story was the way the characters are described, both physically and by personality traits. It felt superficial, stereotyped, clichéd and frankly, I found it all a bit off putting. Of course, the fat guy is weak and timid and afraid, while the buff guy is all take charge, angry and possessive. I had really hoped that this wouldn’t be that type of book. I wanted something different and I’d hoped one of the MCs having an imperfect physique wouldn’t result in the same old tired assumptions.
This story had a lot of potential in the setup, but I just didn’t feel that was delivered. Overall, Butterball left me in a place where I didn’t understand why this relationship was even happening. As usual, your mileage may vary.
You can buy Butterball here: