Author: PA Friday
Length: 70 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
It’s hate at first sight when Grant McDowell meets coworker Tristan Wetherby-Hyde. Working-class Grant fought his way up in the world and into a position at Spirit Advertising, and he can’t help but think that Tristan, son of the agency’s homophobic CEO, had everything handed to him on a silver platter.
But their differences aren’t enough to keep their mutual lust in check, despite Tristan’s fear of exposure and his father’s reaction. Both Grant and Tristan know exactly what they have to lose—what they don’t know is that their hearts are also at stake.
I love a British set romance and this one which looks at two men on very different side of the tracks hit a lot of ‘like’ buttons.
Our main hero is Grant who has worked his way up out of a rough upbringing on the council estates of Glasgow through a mix of intelligence and hard work. He’s employed at Spirit, an advertising agency, run by a very conservative CEO. The CEO’s son, Tristan, also works at the firm and from the start they both rub each other up the wrong way. Grant’s inverse snobbery means that he despises Tristen’s upper class background, whereas Tristan hates that he’s attracted to the rough, strong, intelligent Scot who brings out his feelings of self-hatred over his homosexuality. They begin a sexual relationship born of mutual desire and dislike but are both surprised when things take an emotional turn.
I like a book which explores the dynamics of unwelcome mutual attraction. Both men in this case are drawn to one another, seeing a need that the other can fill, but not liking it one bit. This leads to some very intense almost painful sex scenes at the beginning. The relationship is explored through the sex, so there’s quite a lot of it. I never felt that it was unnecessary though as each scene builds on the last showing the shifts in emotion. Tristan both loves and loathes the way Grant dominates him, and it takes the emotionally stronger Grant to see that Tristan needs him to take that first step. The move from sexual antagonism to romance was handled well and I liked that Tristan becomes more confident in himself thanks to Grant.
My main niggle was that the end seemed a little rushed and we get told about events which I would have liked to have seen on page. For example the first time the men take a step away from their sexual relationship by going for a drink is only told about and I wanted to see how they reacted to each other out of their usual roles. Then we are told they start to make a routine of meeting outside work but again I would have liked to see some of that.
That niggle wasn’t enough to spoil what was a very engaging story. It’s worth reading for the way the sexual dynamics dominate the story and the way that changes. Grant and Tristan are well rounded characters and this made me invested in their relationship. If you’re interested in a story about two characters across the class divide or even like the idea of hate turning to love then this could be a story for you.