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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?
Brandon is an “almost-virgin” who is looking for a permanent guy. He decides to try his luck with online dating and posts an ad on what he hopes is a “sincere” site. His ad is answered by, what appears to be, a great guy named Nate. Little does he know that “Nate” is really Hannah, Nate’s sister, disguising herself as her brother.
There are a few twists and turns, but eventually Brandon wants to meet “Nate” and so Hannah convinces the real Nate to meet Brandon and “let him down gently” since she feels so bad for interfering in sweet Brandon’s life.
What happens next, however, is not on Hannah’s script at all! Nate and Brandon really hit it off and it seems like the two might just be made for each other after all. Until… Brandon discovers more than one secret Nate’s been hiding and he must decide if he can really trust Nate with his heart.
I have found that, though I really like Rick Reed’s style of writing, I don’t ever quite bond with his characters very well. This is his third book that I’ve read and though I am always impressed with his writing and creativity, I don’t feel attached enough to the MCs to feel “involved” with the story.
In this case I just had such a hard time with both Nate and Hannah that it colored my enjoyment of the story. Hannah was beyond “quirky” and landed straight in “psychotic” land. There is no way any sane person would either act like she did or put up with her meddling. Her friend Marilyn, also seemed borderline crazy to me as well. Nate came across as bi-polar or severely wishy-washy. He was the man-whore with no deep feelings for most of the book with occasional “outbreaks” of romantic idealist.
I thought Brandon was awesome and I felt bad for him the entire time. He had a crappy self-esteem but seemed so sweet I was really hoping he’d get someone truly amazing to make him see how wonderful he is. Nate never seemed like that guy.
I thought the end was rushed and awkward and very unsatisfying. I didn’t feel at all comfortable that they’d make it as a couple, though the impression is one of a HEA.
John Solo does most (all?) of Rick Reed’s books and is always a steady performer. He tries hard to differentiate the characters with differing voices and I enjoy his narration.
World Building/Characterizations 3
Overall 2.5 of 5 hearts