Author: Ethan Day
Reviewed by: Barb
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13: 9781925031645
Summary: Operation Danny…that’s all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he‘s in love with the boy next door: The one in next room to be exact, his roommate Danny Wallace.
Danny owns a used text book store just off campus and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn’t seem to view Julian as anything other than that…a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can’t seem to think of a good reason to say no.
Julian has already instituted a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he’s positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He’s ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill.
Review: Julian is still searching for “Mr. Right”, even though he’s nearly 30 years old. He believes the perfect man with whom he can make a long term commitment is out there, and he refuses to give up trying to find him. I love this character! He’s hyper, funny, and a hopeless romantic, but has no brain to mouth filter. The words that come out of his mouth even surprise him. Although he knows he’s not perfect, he believes that his roommate, Danny, is close to it and is the man of his dreams. That is, until he finally sees that no matter what he does, Danny rejects him romantically. After a year of working on Operation Danny, he finally gives up and embarks on Reverse Operation Danny, whereby he goes in the opposite direction and criticizes Danny every chance he gets.
A book store owner, Danny is a handsome, stable and down to earth guy. He always gives what he gets when Julian attacks and has never expressed an interest in Julian, except for the brief time they spent at Julian’s grandmother’s funeral— a time when Julian thought there might be some hint of interest on Danny’s part, only to be shot down again. Deeply hurt, Julian resumes his search for a life mate and scorns Danny every chance he gets.
Despite all the ups and downs of Julian’s romantic search, he sees that he and Danny complement each other— Danny is quiet and subdued, while Julian is hyper and uber-talkative. In a moment of self-reflection, Julian realizes that Danny is so supportive of him that he has quietly helped him recognize his own inner strength. One day, relaxing on the couch after watching a movie together, Danny makes a move on Julian and the two go to bed. The sex is the best Julian’s ever had and he’s elated that Danny has finally made a commitment. But Danny, being Danny, avoids Julian the next day and does something that evening that breaks Julian’s heart.
I enjoyed the storyline very much and I love the way the author was able to make their attraction to each other obvious to us and to their family and friends while keeping the guys clueless about their feelings for each other. Julian’s pursuit of romance has led him to date Andy, a man he met while working his job as a bartender. Because of Danny’s hurtful reaction to their night together, Julian decides to continue to date Andy and, in fact, tries to force himself to find the happiness that he believes is waiting for him. That, of course, is not meant to be. But the way it happens, the events in Julian’s personal growth and self-awareness that we are shown, are very well done.
This is not a highly humorous Ethan Day novel, but the author’s sense of humor is definitely present in his writing style along with numerous other feelings as he takes us on a rollercoaster ride of emotional highs and lows. I highly recommend this to all fans of this author but also to those who like a wonderful contemporary romance where the guys have to work hard to reach it, but ultimately get their HEA.