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on February 5, 2012
To anyone looking, Mike Miller was an average high school kid. A jock, not too bright but not a dumb kid either. He dated, hung out with his buds drank and partied. Average for any kid in 1988. He was in his senior year, within a few months of graduation. Then he caught sight of Jason Reilly.

Red headed, pale skinned stoner Jason Reilly. The kid who cut classes, hung out with the strange kids and listened to weird music. Left in cars with strange men. That Jason Reilly.

And Mike became intrigued, but he wasn't sure what he wanted. Till he found out what Jason did in those cars for those guys. Then he had to have it for himself. Try to scratch the itch he never knew he had. But once Jason agrees, and Mike pays for his services, he is hooked.

Thus begins Mike's obsession with Jason. One that has him spending all of his cash, his college funds, and which may cost him his family. Because when it gets out what he has been doing, and who with, there is a huge price to pay.

Melanie Tushmore has crafted a remarkably sweet and romantic tale about two total opposites who discover they have more in common than just money. Mike and Jason find themselves, reluctantly and oh-so-bittersweetly, in love. I was drawn into Mike's life and world immediately, and utterly charmed by his naivety.

Because Mike is the loyal, one man kind of guy we all hope for. Shy but bold, sweet but silent, he so desperately wants to be liked by the object of his affections, and is so very clueless as to what he is wanting. My heart ached for him, and I found myself rooting for him and finding an unlikely hero.

And Jason, if there was every anyone so apparently undeserving of a man like Mike, it was him. Until, until we meet him on his turf and discover all his secrets and desires. He is as hidden as Mike, only so much more in-your face about it. And such a tragic boy. What happens when he thinks Mike deserted him broke my heart.

Ms. Tushmore wrote her heart out with these two, and I would love to see some follow up to their story. For all that these two boys, then men, are so strongly drawn, there is such a lovely fragility and quiet to their love story. I found myself holding my breath in places, afraid a noise might scare them away.

This book will stay with you, making you want to revisit it again and again.

Loved every word.

Tom
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on September 26, 2011
It's difficult writing books with "difficult" characters. Characters that are not the type of people you would ever imagine anyone wanting to hook up with. Therefore, I appreciate it when an author steps outside the boundary of "easy" and takes on the unloveable ones. The misfits. The ones that are like the snarling dog in the animal shelter. The one that everyone else avoids, not seeing what lies underneath or trying to take the time to understand why they are like they are.

To make the story work, the author has to convince the reader that the character is worth loving. This is extremely difficult if the character themself doesn't feel this. Jason's feeling of insecurity, lack of self-worth radiates and affects other characters around him, in this case the POV character Mike.

Mike, himself feeling insecure, unloved and unloveable has a visceral response to Jason no matter how badly Jason treats him. At first too young to realise what he's doing, he somehow senses the good in the man underneath, despite the fact Jason keeps pushing him away. Mike sees something inside Jason he responds to.

Getting someone to overcome this feeling of self-hatred and lack of self esteem takes time, even with the most supportive help. Being young himself and acting more on gut feeling than anything, Mike gives Jason the only cure he can. Himself. His steadfast devotion gradually gets through the barrier Jason has erected around himself. The process isn't easy for anyone and certainly not pretty once drugs are involved, but there is no other way it would have happened.

I found the book gripping as Mike relates the story. The author managed to convince me that the question of whether or not Jason deserves Mike or even if they are a good match for each other is irrelevant. If Mike wanted Jason, then in the end, that was all that mattered.

Perhaps at times the plot and situations are unrealistic, but I give kudos to the author for daring to deal with the difficult as if saying that steadfast love can overcome almost anything
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on January 15, 2012
I finished this book in one night and I was quite pleased with it.

Kudos to the author for creating extremely interesting characters. I kept clicking the page button on my Kindle wanting to know what happened next.

This author has a skill with words and dialogue. It showed throughout the book.

I loved the start of the book when Mike and Jason started to get to know each other and needless to say there was more than one moment where I smiled and laughed. Their story truly is a journey.

Without revealing spoilers, I don't know what else to say.

I think this book is a hidden gem for fans of MM and I hope more discover it.
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on June 2, 2012
**spoiler alert- This review contains lots of spoilers for this book** I feel somewhat in the minority here, I see 5 star after 5 star rating, and I just don't get it.

First off, I think the author would have been better served setting the book in England, and not Texas and New York. The terminology was just so British- the kerb, petrol, at hospital, and so much more, kept pulling me out of the story.

This was the story of Mike, a guy who was average in every way. He coasted by in school, coasted by with his friends, went out of his way to make his parents happy, and if his experiences with girls weren't out of this world, they were ok, so he coasted by there, too.

Then he lays eyes on new kid Jason. Jason caught his attention immediately. Jason with his long hair and his bad attitude. Mike doesn't quite know what it is about Jason, but he knows he has to get to know him. Then one day, he sees him getting into a car with a stranger, and learns that Jason and his friends often go off with strangers, trading sex for money.

Once Mike finds THAT out, it's all over. He figures he can try it out once, and get Jason out of his system finally. He chases after Jason and wears him down, promising 200 bucks (!) for a BJ in the back seat of his car.

Ahh! THAT'S what it's all about! At this point, Mike is totally obsessed. His every thought becomes about Jason, and how to get Jason to spend more time with him. And Jason totally takes advantage of Mike- making him pay to spend time with him, dragging him (and his hot car) out to chauffeur he and his stoner friends all over town, getting him to buy him things.

And Mike is so desperate for the time spent with Mike that he goes along with it all. It seems all his free time is spent either chasing Jason all over town, or trying to figure out how to get Jason to pay him some attention.

We see little glimmers that maybe Jason isn't so cold as he appears to Mike. He lets him tag along all over town, and eventually, the money exchange starts to blur into more letting Mike pay for everything and less of a cash for a$$ exchange. Once, he even buys Mike a ticket for a concert Of course it is likely with Mike's own money, and only because he needs Mike to drive him and his stoner friends to the show, which is three hours away.

And this is where the implausible stuff starts to come in. Mike spends all his savings, and finds the bank papers for his college fund, and forges his dad's name. His school work starts to suffer, he's spending money left and right, drains his college money from 3 grand down to around two hundred bucks over the course of 4 months, and no one notices? Apparently, this is one of those lucky kids whose bank doesn't send out monthly statements. In 1989 before everything goes digital. Ok, sure.

Then one day Mike's dad catches him, and it's all over. Dad can't stand to look at Mike anymore, and sends him away to stay with a business partner. No finishing his senior year, no graduation, nothing. I guess he finishes up his school work...well somehow, it's never explained. His dad's friend secures a boring job for him in the family firm, and so Mike spends the next year trudging along, waiting to be allowed to come home.

In yet another "yeah right" moment, his dad's friend Blake gets him a job in New York City. A brand new department, and Mike is going to be running it. Mike doesn't even know what the job IS, only that the salary is awesome and he gets a beautiful apartment he can afford, easy peasy.

Time passes, and it's been four years now since Mike left home. During all this time, we know Mike misses his family and wants to go home, but he doesn't really spend much time thinking about Jason, at least not as we are shown. Once he's been in NY for a year, he does seem to finally realize he's almost twenty now, he can do what he wants, so he calls Jason's house, only to find his aunt carried out on his promise to kick him out when he turned 18. So now Mike has no way to find Jason, so he just tells himself that Jason is happy, and pretty much moves on. He dates a woman for a year, leading her on, only to dump her when she starts mentioning marriage. He finally admits to himself that he is gay, and gets into the casual hookup thing. He makes friends, he is happy, if still a bit lonely.

And then his dad has a stroke, and he and his sister rush home. Being home is harder for Mike than he ever expected, too many ghosts. He sees Jason everywhere he looks, if only in his head. Finally, guilt overwhelms sister Alicia, and she admits to Mike that Jason tried to get in touch with him after he left, several times. He leaves his address where he'll be living, a letter asking where he is, when he's coming home. He even returns all the money Mike had given him. Alicia feels guilty, but Mike is horrified. He could have had Jason with him all this time?

He manages to find him, only now he is a homeless drug addict. And in another moment of WTF, Mike manages to get him admitted to a sanitarium, with just the lie that he's a cousin, and some cash.

Then we are treated to a sweet little HEA, but we are left with so many unanswered questions. Mostly about Jason. Why he's the way he is. Why Mike is so in love with him. Because really, while I liked Jason myself, I didn't see anything about him that was worthy of Mike's devotion(obsession). He was rude, he was a user. And we never really find out WHY. Truth be told, we don't know ANYTHING about Jason. All we know is he's a punk, he apparently sells himself for money (we never learn why that either. drug money?) I wasn't even sure if Jason was gay, gay for pay, or bi. He seems to have girls and guy following him around. How far did his sex trades go- just a BJ in the car, or the full deal? We are never told that either. We are never told what his issues are. How he spiraled down from a stoner to full out homeless junkie in 4 years. He was as much of enigma at the end of the story as he was at the beginning.

At the end, I felt this was a well written story with a lot of implausibilities, but it did keep me engrossed enough to read to the end, only to be left feeling unsatisfied, because none of the questions I had in my head about Jason were answered.
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on May 9, 2012
So many emotions. This was my favorite type of story (angsty hurt/comfort) with my favorite type of characters. Mike is a shy and sensitive jock who finds himself undeniably attracted to bad boy Jason. Mike, who has difficulty expressing his feelings and avoids confrontation whenever possible is easily taken advantage of by the object of his affection.

Jason, on the other hand, is mouthy with a prickly attitude, and knows just how to get what he wants from Mike without giving anything of himself in return. At least not openly. Although he obviously cares for Mike, his defenses prevent him from telling him so.

Despite their difficulty communicating their feelings, they enter into an intense relationship until outside forces tear them apart. Their time apart, as difficult as it is, ultimately forces them to come to terms with their feelings and enables them to form a deeper bond. This was a highly emotional journey with a very satisfying ending. Will definitely reread.
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on April 29, 2014
got the impression the author isn't American, there were a few britisims here and there and a few words were strangely hyphenated. still it was an enjoyable read, managing the fine edge between unbelievable and dues ex machina. I would reread.
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on September 6, 2012
.I really wanted to love this book. I read it in one sitting I was so determined. Just didn't work for me. I couldn't get emotionally attached to the characters. Anytime I was almost there, she inexplicably pulls them from my grasp. Also the payoff is minimal in comparison to the amount of emotional mud you have to wade through. I'm all for angst but 300 pages of misery and 2 paragraphs of almost warm don't do it for me. Still I suppose the fact that I wanted them to have a hes means something so I will give it 3 stars....
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on June 24, 2013
Wonderful story until the end....I felt it could have been much better...it just stops and one of the main characters voice completely changes from how he was during the whole story
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on January 11, 2015
A lovely surprise. Sweet and romantic. I had a hard time at the start cause I found Mike really too stupid. It wasn't my usual romance but I liked it a lot. Sweet Jason broke my heart!
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