Rory was Ben’s oldest and best friend until senior year of high school, when they confessed they’d harbored feelings for each other all along. They enjoyed only a few months of happiness until Ben chose closeted popularity over true love… and he’s regretted it ever since.
Eight years later, Ben is out and proud and teaching art at the same high school he graduated from. When he learns the chemistry teacher is retiring, he’s excited to meet her replacement until he finds out the brand new teacher is none other than Rory Newton – the first love he’s never quite gotten over. Despite a painfully awkward start, it doesn’t take Ben long to realize he’ll do whatever it takes to win Rory back. But it’s starting to look like even his best might not be enough
Cuddle buddies and best friends as kids, Ben and Rory had something really good going. Right into their teens, they were always there for each other, and when each realized he was gay, it was natural for them to turn to each other. They had fun in every imaginable location—at home and at school. Two teen boys with major hormone issues and a readymade partner who can be a relief valve? Yes, they were on each other every day, until Ben let the peer pressure from his soccer team influence him. He chose popularity over Rory, and one night, knowing Rory would be waiting for him as usual, he stayed out all night to avoid him. He then ignored his friend, giving him the brushoff until Rory got the hint.
Now, eight years later, as Ben is getting his art classroom ready for a new school year, he’s shocked to learn that the hot new chemistry teacher is none other than Rory Newton, and Rory wants nothing to do with Ben. Ben can’t believe how stupid he had been and how difficult it is now to make the situation better. He’s out and proud now, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference. And, though he tries to apologize, Rory continues to give him the cold shoulder until he finally seems to relent a bit and start to treat Ben like a friend.
Eventually, they become friends with benefits and Ben holds out hope that Rory is starting to return his feelings, but he’s inevitably crushed when he finds out that Rory is still dating— and it’s not him! This is one of those angst-filled stories which always causes my palm to twitch because I want to slap an MC in the head to get him to wake up. In this case, both MCs needed to be slapped upside the head. It’s amazing how many very stupid things they each did and said to each other to continue to drive a wedge between them, rather than bring them closer together. And though I would hope that this situation wouldn’t really happen “in real life”, it certainly made for an interesting story.
And the audiobook narrator, George Somerset, was terrific. He dragged me into the depths of despair with Ben’s vocalizations when Rory broke his heart, and his whispered “I miss you” at the end of the voice mail Ben left for Rory is something I won’t soon forget. I liked the sexy, raspy voice he gave to Rory and the sweet voice he gave to Ben. He really made the story for me, so much so that I rated this story higher than I would have if I had read the e-book. In fact, I suspect I may have wanted to skip ahead if I was reading this story, but I enjoyed the narrator’s voice so much that I was more than happy to keep listening— even when the guys made stupid decisions and my palms twitched.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook to lovers of M/M romance, especially to those who enjoy angst and those who enjoy a tale of lovers reunited after years apart. And definitely make sure you pick up the audiobook to enjoy the way George Somerset brings the characters to life.