Author: Kate McMurray
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: All in all, this book didn’t do it for me.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.
After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.
Until a night out together changes everything.
Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter.
Review: The Boy Next Door is a book about second chances—for Lowell, a second chance at connecting with his childhood best friend, who he’d lost touch with after leaving his small Connecticut hometown. For Jason, it’s a chance to be with someone he could truly love.
Lowell returned to a city which was basically a great big closet full of skeletons for him. Primarily, he’d escaped an abusive father who beat him, and his mother. But he also escaped a town not so open-minded about gay people. And perhaps, he’d escaped the disappointment of losing his best friend, Jase, who pulled away from him once Lowell came out in high school.
Jase had married his college girlfriend and had a daughter. He married for the wrong reasons, even knowing then he was gay but unable to face the truth, and hoping he might be able to move past the “gay” thing. When he realized he couldn’t, he found himself in a rut, divorced, only finding sexual release on the spare weekend he had free, when his daughter was with his ex or in-laws.
The best part of the story was when they came together for the first time. The chemistry was intense and the idea of a supposedly straight guy finally crossing over to the gay side is always kind of hot. In fact, all of the sex scenes in the story, and there were quite a few, were detailed and steamy.
The problem for me in this story was that both characters displayed some unlikable qualities, which made me kind of not like either of them very much. Jase loved his daughter, totally endearing and making him an amazing father, but then he caves in at every turn to be with Lowell. When a crisis arises involving his daughter, and he caves in once again, I found myself distancing from him. Similarly, Lowell was a more experienced gay man, having been out much longer than Jase. Although he wasn’t a father, he had to know that pushing a relationship issue in the middle of a crisis would be a bad idea.
Had Lowell been the one to pull away, knowing Jase needed to feel the absence of something good in order to feel its loss, the circumstances would have been more realistic. Had Jase listened to his inner voice telling him not to get together with Lowell more often, withholding from what his gut knew he wanted, the tension would have built up to an explosive level. As it stands, neither character sacrificed too much, each giving into their desires and then feeling guilty about it afterwards.
All in all, this book didn’t do it for me. I just found too many selfish qualities in both characters to feel really invested in their success as a couple.
You can buy The Boy Next Door here: