*** 1.5 Unfinished Stars ***
This short story had some major potential.
It's about a sexy, self-sacrificing kindergarten teacher who, in the face of mounting bills and pending eviction, decides to moonlight as a masseur who believes that all fairy tales massages should have happy endings. Cue unfortunate timing worthy of a Rom Com when Peter meets the smokin' hot father of one of his students just as he takes on his first few clients. Chip (awful, awful name for a character) is single, charming, a devoted father, and a detective (and boy, can this man wear the hell
outta a pair of navy polyester pants!).
Sounds good, right?
Well, if the story had stuck to just these elements, I bet it would have been pretty good. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
The story starts in the present, where you are introduced to Peter and one of his massage clients. The way Peter is going on about what a nice guy he is and how he'd like to climb the silver fox like a jungle gym, I thought the man was going to turn into the second MC. (Here's where I admit to reading only the first paragraph of the book blurb and, being the slut that I am for the word "teacher" in a character description, jumped on the story without reading further). But no dice - all those warm, fuzzy, sexy feelings were just a red herring. A page or two later we flashback 3 months and silver fox man is never mentioned again. (Shame, he was hot.)
Next, we are introduced to Tony. Personally, I found him instantly skeezy, but Peter?! He's waxing poetic about the man, and drilling him into the mattress. I'm left confused; is this skeezeball really going to become the love of Peter's life? I'm at nearly 45% and there's not another eligible bachelor in sight, so it has to be him, right? Right?! (Please say no! Please say no!)
With fingers crossed, I search GR to bring up the book blurb. It mentions a guy named Chip. "Phewf!" I think to myself and continue reading. A few pages later we actually get to meet Chip and I am smiling because he seems adorable. I want more Chip! More specifically, I want more interaction between Chip and Peter. I want the witty repartee and longing glances and sweet blushes and sweaty, athletic sex that leaves both men gasping for breath and the good kinda sore. That's not too much to ask, right?! I thought not.
But apparently it is. In the second half of the story all I get is a handful of pages here and there that feature both Chip and Peter and during those pages there's almost ZERO sizzle between the two men. They don't even KISS on page!
Disappointed Catherine is disappointed.
And then the story ends with an indecent proposal and an awkward yet ho-hum 'confrontation'. I mean, it just... ends at a point where the conflict and tension isn't high enough (in my opinion, at least) to classify as a true "cliffhanger". Instead, it makes the story feel unfinished - like a person who trails off mid... ;)
I should be clear that the book isn't poorly written, per say, it's just not to my personal
tastes. I was looking for an arc with a clear beginning and middle and a satisfying ending, more interaction and affection between the main characters, something
(a love scene, an argument, anything!) that evoked an emotional reaction from me, and some freakin' ROMANCE in my M/M romance novel, and I don't feel that this book delivered those things. Because of these reasons (and more), I likely won't read the rest of the series.
That said, I'm sure that this book will still find an audience. The author's writing style, the story's structure, and the unfinished feeling of Bad Boy
all reminded me a LOT of J.J. Scott's [b:Being Chase|20782784|Being Chase (Chase #1)|J.J. Scotts|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1392133852s/20782784.jpg|40121623] - which I gave 2.5 stars (mostly because the kitchen sex was smokin' hot). However, Scott's book has an overall rating of 3.5 stars, so clearly LOTS of people enjoyed that one more than I did. I have a feeling the same might be true of this one, too.