Reviewed by Chris
SERIES: Plus #1
AUTHOR: E. Davies
LENGTH: 300 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 31. 2017
“He’s waiting for me to ask, and I’m afraid.”
“I’m just one more gay guy here.”
Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.
“One-night stands are my only option.”
Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.
“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”
Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?
Nic first real task in his new job is to help set up a new website for an HIV charity. And yeah, he gets a bit lost on the way, but things start to look up when he meets Kyle, one of the organizers for the charity and Nic’s main contact there. Kyle is flashy and fun…and not afraid to slip into a skirt and some makeup if the mood takes him. Something that Nic still finds a bit terrifying after a childhood of being raised as a girl. The two even strike it off right from the start, trading flirtaious looks and comments…but Nic is unsure that Kyle would want someone so quiet and shy, and Kyle is not exactly looking for anything more than a night and a few good memories. Neither can deny though that when they are in the room together things get hot.
When I went looking for books to review for this month in the huge backlog of my tbr on goodreads, I came across this book and realized that I totally missed its release back at the beginning of the year. If you know anything about me, it is that I love stories with transgender characters, and this one looked like a lot of fun to read. And I’ve read several books by this author before and like them, so I was more than willing to give this one a chance.
By not even two chapters into this book I was totally in love, too. I completely bonded with Nic and his Target Experiences (someday I will tell you all the tale of my first attempts buying “guy” clothes at Target–it involved me wandering around the men’s section with a phone pressed up to my ear like I was some type of spy or something–and we will laugh together) and Kyle’s interactions with his kid about clothes and being themselves were awesome. And I don’t even really care for kids at all. When I find one in a story that doesn’t bug me, I am more than happy.
The situations in this book hardly break the mould (mold? molde? I swear I can never remember which one is which), but I enjoyed every page of this book because the characters were so well written. I don’t normally have a problem liking trans characters because of our shared histories, but there was so much of Nic’s story that mirrored my own that I found myself cackling to myself going…yep, I totally do that. And despite the fact you couldn’t pay me to wear a dress or put on makeup (lies, all lies, I will totally do it for the right amount of money) again, Kyle’s ease at being himself no matter what he wears was very refreshing.
My only real gripe here is that I’m not sure I buy the whole twist at the end. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say it required a bit too much of a leap for me to buy that the thing that happens in the middle of the book would have been done by the person at the end. I know, super vague. Sorry. Or maybe that I could totally buy them doing it, just not based entirely off the few small scenes they are in over the course of the story. I needed a bit more, not just this person is an asshole so of course they’d totally do something so heinous. A lot of people are assholes, I just wanted some type of trigger which pushed them from asshole to criminal assholery.
That being said (in a way that was probably no help to anyone), I really liked this story and totally recommend it. It has some great characters, and despite a few bumps in the road it is a kinda light read.