Why I chose to read this: Occasionally I like to read emotional books. Not often, but every now and then I feel like a good cry. When I read the blurb for this book, I knew it had the potential to be one of those reads. Plus, did I mention I have a love affair with nerds? There is nothing sexier than an awkward, socially challenged nerd. This book seemed like it would be the perfect mix of emotions and sexy nerd appeal so I knew I wanted to read it. After sitting on my to-read shelf for 7 months, I finally felt in the right mood to start it. I am so glad I did as it has definitely found a space on my favorites shelf.
Thoughts on the cover: I feel this is a great cover that links well to the story line. I do, however, wish Mike was a tad geekier looking (glasses on a hot guy does not a geek make).
He can find a use for his lover’s hands…except when he needs help the most.
Kellen is short on cash—at least until his first novel starts to sell—but he has plenty of friends. None of them, unfortunately, share his love of books. For that he turns to IM chats with Mike from his online book group.
Though he manages to coax the shy, socially inept pathologist into a real-time meeting, Kellen has no intention of letting his new friend become more than a casual lover. Shaky finances and ailing mother aside, self-sufficiency is Kellen’s prime directive.
Mike considers himself a nerd of the highest order—short, bespectacled, prone to blurting out the wrong thing at the worst possible time. Meeting Kellen face to face is the biggest risk of his life, and he wonders if they’ll get more body parts together than just their faces.
First meeting leads to first date—first everything for Mike—and soon Kellen’s faced with breaking his just-friends-with-benefits rule. Yet as his elderly mother wanders deeper into senility, Kellen wonders if it’s better to lean on Mike rather than fall.
Published June 4th 2013 by Samhain Publishing
Oh the feels! This book is full of emotions, from joy and excitement, to nervous anticipation, and of course heart-wrenching sadness. It is the story of finding first love and acceptance of loss. Told alternatingly from Mike and Kellen’s POV, their journey is beautifully told.
Kellen and Mike met online and the story begins when they agree to meet in person. Mike is a 37-year-old pathologist who is adorably geeky and has a tendency to ramble to cover his awkwardness. Making friends does not come easy for him, never has, so it was a big step for him to agree to meet Kellen. Tired of being lonely, and with some convincing from his sister Corinne, he realized he needed to put himself out there and take a chance. Kellen is a 40-year-old, former book store manager struggling to make ends meet working as a proofreader and a self-published author. Forced to face the complications that come with having a mentally and physically ailing mother, Adele, he reaches out to Mike as a distraction; a friend with benefits he can relieve some tension with.
As they spend more time together, they realize they fit well together. They share common interests and their sex life is amazing. Unfortunately, Kellen is too embarrassed to explain his mother’s condition and this leads to many struggles in their relationship. There is no insta-love, Mike and Kellen work very hard to make their relationship work. For a moment, it is easy to believe there is too much for these two to overcome and that their relationship is doomed before it ever really starts. Nothing comes easy, but everyone knows that anything worth having is worth fighting for. They have to work hard for their happy ever after but when they finally reach it, it is overwhelming in its beauty.
On a side note that may be spoiler-ish so read at your own risk, I wanted to mention how well done I felt the depiction of Adele’s medical slide was. Having a similar experience with a loved one, I relived the feelings off fear, embarrassment, and loss along with Kellen. I can see how some might feel his actions were selfish, that it was wrong for him to be embarrassed by and for his mother but having been there, I can understand. I felt the distinction of his being embarrassed for her, a proud woman who wouldn’t want anyone to see her in her deteriorated condition. Do I wish he would have leaned on Mike earlier, before the hurt was caused? Sure, it would have saved them both a lot of heartache but it wouldn’t have felt as real to me. Kellen was the sole source of support emotionally, physically, and financially for his mother, I believe he felt he owed it to her to sacrifice his relationship to give her the privacy and dignity she would have wanted. In the end, he realized he couldn’t do it on his own (with a little insistence from Mike) and it was nice to see him finally give in and accept it. All in all, I felt this aspect of the story was extremely well written and held a strong sense of truth and realism.