Mark Apostolos should be able to have any man he wants. Handsome and smart, he's also cripplingly shy, especially around attractive men. Tired of waking up alone, he's desperate to conquer his insecurities and have a real, meaningful relationship.
He gets his first opportunity when he tags along to his sister-in-law's dance class and lays eyes on the sexy instructor. Seth Miller has a way of moving that takes his breath away. It isn't long before sparks fly and they share a steamy kiss, but Seth wants much more than just a casual encounter.
If Mark wants a real relationship with Seth he'll have to come to terms with his sexuality - but will it be enough to break through the walls he's built up around his heart?
©2012 Dev Bentham (P)2012 Harlequin
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"A little slow for my liking but a sweet story"
I found this book a little bit challenging to review, struggling to separate the story from the narration because I actually listened to the audio book (narrated by Charlie Belmont) rather than reading the story.
The reason I found it challenging was because I found the story a little slow moving and it was hard to determine if this was mainly driven by the story itself or from the speed of the narration. I have a feeling that if I had been reading this myself and at my own fairly rapid pace, it may not have felt quite so drawn out. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say the slowness was mainly due to the narration speed (from past experience I usually find the pace of audio books a little bit slow for my liking).
The story follows Mark, incredibly shy with a diagnosed condition that has prevented him forming relationships, who moves in with his sister-in-law to support her through the last months of her pregnancy while his brother is deployed overseas. Mark meets Seth and they are attracted but his condition means Mark needs to overcome some hurdles if they are to be together.
I liked that Mark had finally found a man worth trying to break through his own barriers for. I liked that Seth took things slowly and was prepared to handle a unique relationship that didn't consist of a lot of face-to-face time. It was quite interesting to see Seth relate to his rescue greyhound and encourage the dog to trust and venture into the world and see the same occur with Mark.
I wanted to love Mark but for some reason, although understanding the difficulties he faced in life, I found him slightly annoying. There was a repetitiveness to his thoughts and actions that irritated me slightly (plus all the references to 'he blinked', 'Mark blinked at him'...)
The other characters were engaging - Seth, sister-in-law Lisa, friend Claire and brother Pete. Plus the dogs were cute!
So all in all, quite a nice and sweet story with some lovely lines...
"Besides you're not a greyhound Mark. You're a bulldog. Tough and wary, loyal as all get-out, not easy to get close to and you know, that intrigued me but once inside what do I find but this huge heart. I'd be the crazy one to walk away from you." He grinned. "And by the way, you should hope it's an extension of my dog thing. I make long term commitments to my greyhounds." Sorry if the punctuation is wrong but I am listening to it being said, not reading it!
"Slow, but sweet coming out story"
This was a pretty good book. It involved a good looking guy who was smart and stable but very shy. He was crippling shy. He's also gay, and has huge issues dealing with other gay men he finds attractive. He's been accomplishing his sexual need in an unfulfilled manner at gay bars behind alleys and such. His younger brother is heading off to Afghanistan and his pregnant wife is experiencing complications. Enter Mark, he moves in with his sis in law to 'take care of her'. While there, he finds himself deeply attracted to Seth, a former dancer who now teaches Zumba at the local gym. He pretends to be his brother (the one in Afghanistan) in an attempt to not reveal much of himself to Seth due to his crippling shyness. He eventually starts corresponding with Seth via email, which leads to phone conversations and eventually physical contract. Over time, Mark's shyness slowly fades and his love for Seth, and surprisingly Seth's love for him slowly develops.
I have to tell you that this was one of the slowest moving coming out stories. I truly enjoyed Seth's parts of the novel. He was such a good guy. He wasn't perfect even if people saw him as such. He went out of his way to make Mark comfortable with himself and with the growing attraction between him and Mark. I have to say, I have yet to meet so patient a guy.
I really enjoyed their process, but wished it sped up a bit. I also wanted to know what happened with the brother who was stationed in Afghanistan. AND the other couple... I really hate unexplained endings. But, I was happy that Mark finally came to terms with himself. We can only wish that for ourselves and others.
Charlie Belmont is one of my favorite male narrators, so I'm always pleased with his performance, and this book is no different.
"Rather sweet love story"
Suffering from social phobia I can see parts of myself in Mark – even though my social phobia is expressing itself differently from Mark's.
The way Mark is written with all his anxiety and the way we really get the chance to see into his head with all the automatic negative thoughts he has going on is really well written. We get to see through his eyes how he fights his fears and how he struggles with all his insecurities. How he's afraid of saying the wrong things and is afraid of what others will think of him but at the same time realising all the time that this is all fears going on in his own head that he needs to overcome.
It's touching to see how hard he tries all the time.
Seth is amazing in handling Mark most of the time. He doesn't push – he keeps gently encouraging Mark; giving him the opportunity to step out of his shell without pressure. Seth rescues greyhounds and knows that it's worth it to be patient about these things – you'll get the very best and most loyal companions out there out of it.
Side characters in the book – humans and dogs alike – are very likeable and certainly brings more depth to the story; as well as funny and tender moments.
I very much loved the first phone conversation between Mark and Seth. I was also very fond of Mark's brother and his reaction to Mark coming out of the closet – it reminded me of when I came out to my sister in my teens *smile*
The story is a love story through and through. Both love from your family and friends as well as boyfriends.
The narrator was really good. It was always clear what was going on and who said what in conversations. Sometimes shifts between different scenes were slightly abrupt but that's not even really worth complaining about. Charlie Belmont has a nice voice – he gives proper feeling to what he reads and simply gives a great performance.
"Another great listen!"
I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. The story flows well, has funny moments and the narrator is well spoken and easy to listen to.
I don't have a memorable moment, but the way that Seth hangs in there gives me the warm fuzzies for romance.
"Story ok... Narration could be better"
Story was ok... Not bad, not wonderful either... Narration was not bad but not wonderful either. It was hard to tell which character was speaking at times... which happens alot with male narrators... which is ok... for m/m romance I think. I kinda with there was more smexing going on ...but the main character, not the dancer was all shy and nervous all the time which made him .... what is the word.... kind of dorky... but his character isn't written in a dorky way... which is really misleading. Then when they finally do have some sort of smex...he runs out... WHAT! OMG!!! I was so mad... I think I skipped like 2 chapters b/c I got bored...so...
A good credit... not a buy... a great sale book!
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