Dylan Williams is not gay. Sometimes he gets off with other guys, but so what? He plans to get married someday—really married, like with a wife and kids. And he’s determined that his future family’s life will be the normal one he and his brothers never had.
Mike Aurietta is gay, but his job keeps him in the closet. He doesn’t usually risk frequenting infamous cruising places like Webber Park. But when he’s cutting through one night, he finds himself defending a victim from gay bashers.
It’s all Dylan can do to process the shock that anyone would want to hurt his quiet twin brother. At first he needs Mike’s eyewitness report to satisfy the gut-wrenching desire for revenge. Then he finds himself needing Mike’s solid, comforting presence…and the heat that unexpectedly flares between them.
In the aftermath, Mike quickly learns not to expect too much from his conflicted lover. Though he never thought his good deed would come back to bite him in the ass. Or that hanging on to the possibility of love could force too many secrets out of the closet—and cost them both everything.
Warning: Contains more denial than you can float a barge on, bigger issues than a special end-of-the-year compilation of your favorite magazine, and better sex than most people deserve. After all, it takes place in Texas.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I absolutely love and adore Mitchell’s writing, and the first book I ever read by her, Collision Course, remains one of my all time favorite m/m reads. I was so excited to not only jump back into the Florida series, but also get the chance to see my favorites Joey and Aaron in action once again. Unfortunately, for me, Dylan didn’t live up to my own internal hype.
Dylan refuses to admit that he may or may not be gay, but when his twin brother gets beat up in a hate crime meant for him, Dylan might finally have to admit that his sex life isn’t exactly normal. And given the way he keeps reacting to Mike, the guy who stepped in to help Daryl, Dylan will have to come to grips with his lifestyle fast.
Mike has accepted his homosexuality, but given his job, he must stay firmly in the closet. Dylan is the last guy he ever expected to be attracted to, but there is something about Dylan that keeps Mike coming back for more. But despite the fact that Mike is in the closet, Dylan’s inability to accept himself starts to wear on their relationship and Mike wonders if he will ever be comfortable with Dylan and just how far in the closet he really is.
I’ll admit that although Dylan drove me up the wall, I still love and adore Mitchell. She writes some of the best m/m sex scenes, characters and overall stories I’ve ever read. Let me start with the one aspect of the book that drove me crazy from start to finish: Dylan and his piss-poor attitude.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a black man living in the south, and one who also is struggling with the idea of being gay. So I really do have no idea what was going through Dylan’s head, but he was a self-obsessed D-bag from the very beginning. He lied to his twin day in and day out, he lived a double life, hiding his true self from others and ever would lie to himself about it. He treated those around him; friends, enemies, and loved ones with an air of disdain and an over inflated self importance. He wasn’t an easy character to like. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I really didn’t like him at all – beginning or end.
Everything else about the book I pretty much loved. Mike was a great hero. Although he lived his life somewhat in the closet because of his job, he was also out and open with his friends, he was supportive of those in his life, and he put up with a lot of BS from Dylan in order to be with him. Mike was one of the silent-type heroes who kinda sneaks up and takes you by surprise with how sweet and wonderful he is. I thought he deserved so much more than what Dylan was willing to give him.
The romance, for me, was not as good as Mitchell normally does. I think it was probably because Dylan struggled SO HARD with accepting himself and his homosexuality that he never really gave Mike (or himself) the chance to be a boyfriend. And while we did get to see their HEA at the very end, it was a VERY short scene and didn’t really give me the satisfaction I was looking for in their relationship. There was sooooo much angst and drama in the beginning for these two, that the brief look into their lives ever after just wasn’t enough to appease my appetite.
I was extremely happy to see some of my favorites back for this story though. Getting page time with Joey and Aaron is a huge treat, and I love that Joey still manages to find ways to “shrink” everyone without them really catching on. Anytime I get to see Joey and Aaron on the page together is a present for me, so them being there for Dylan throughout the story really helped break up some of the angst.
All in all this is probably my least favorite of the Florida books by Mitchell, and yet still a winner. The way she tackles the ongoing issues of dealing with homosexuality and finding love between two men continues to astound me. She does an incredible job writing steamy love scenes, and then bouncing into a particular emotionally draining moment. While Dylan was a big jerk, Mike had me falling in love.
I give But My Boyfriend Is a C