REVIEWED by Jen B.
SERIES: Under My Skin #1
AUTHOR: Christina Lee
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 235 Pages
RELEASE DATE: June 25, 2017
BLURB: When Brian “Brin” Schubert’s condo floods, he takes his co-worker up on the offer to stay on his crappy futon for a while. The last thing he expects is for his friend’s roommate to be the one guy he despises the most. The same guy who stomped on his heart senior year of high school. And by the looks of the girl on his arm, the same man who’s still deep inside the closet.
Nicholas Dell never predicted that eleven years later, one of his greatest regrets would show up on his doorstep down on his luck. Nick has made some terrible mistakes—story of his life—and he’s been paying for them ever since. And if the guilt and shame aren’t enough, his first crush had to turn into one of the sexiest men he’s ever laid eyes on.
Nick and Brin have weeks to steer clear of each other. Weeks to avoid strangling each other. But when stubbornness leads to skyrocketing sexual tension, hate-sex doesn’t seem like such an awful way to work through their frustration. Except hate is a powerful emotion, especially when it’s turned inward. And in Nick’s case he’s been drowning in a sea of self-loathing for so long, he can’t see his way out.
As Brin reconnects with Nick, his perception of what really happened in their past begins to change. He’s finally ready to forgive him and take a second chance on the one guy who stirs him like no other. But Nick’s demons are complicated, heart-wrenching…demanding. So devastating, he might never allow himself true happiness—even with the one man who’s always owned his heart.
This was a rather sweet story underneath the good bit of angst on the part of Nick. He is the main focus of the regret theme here, stemming from his initial interactions with Brin in high school when Brin tutored him. I won’t give too much away, but suffice to say, things didn’t end well with the two of them.
Fast forward 11 years, and Nick happens to be the roommate of Brin’s friend and coworker. Brin and Nick meet again when Brin stays at their apartment while his is being renovated from a flood. Needless to say, old feelings, both good and bad, still exist between the two. They needed to clear the air, and once they did, or once Nick explained a bit about what was going on with him back then, the sparks were able to ignite with them once again.
Poor Nick had so much going on. From the loss of his sister and then father, guilt over each and the ensuing grief of his mother, guilted into running his father’s business, of which he has little to no interest, guilt over what happened with Brin, etc. He spends much of this story beating himself up about everything and how he didn’t deserve anything good. It was easy to see where it was all coming from, but it did get a bit frustrating or tiresome at times.
Brin had some regrets of his own. He was harboring feelings of being a disappointment to his father, for not being the son his brother apparently was, being gay, being a dog groomer, etc. They eventually get past some of these things or make progress in the right direction.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. As Brin and Nick moved past the explanation stage, they shared many sexy and caring moments as they explored their relationship further than they ever had in high school. There were some things that seemed a bit over the top, such as the coincidence of their reunion, the grudge Brin held, etc. But, it was a nicely paced story that kept my attention and rooting for them to work things out. It ends on a positive note, though I wish there had been more of a solid ending with perhaps an epilogue showing how things are going. Perhaps their story will continue in the next installment.
P.S. Golden Retrievers rule, and Tally was no exception. 🙂