Review: Aly Hayden – Exposure

Author: Aly Hayden
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Mm Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Sam Hayward’s parents think he has a boyfriend. And he does… in his dreams. But when they insist Sam bring his partner to the annual Labor Day family reunion, his options are to either admit it was all a lie or find a stand-in in a hurry. The trouble is that his lies have all been based on one very real man.

Ben Matheny has been hurt before. When he’s bribed into playing a part by his friends, he fleshes out Sam’s dreams, but it’s like flying too close to the sun. He’s always had a crush on Sam, and now they’re going to the Hamptons to spend a weekend pretending they’re lovers, everything is getting harder.

When Ben uncovers another lie Sam has told – that Ben is every bit as rich as Sam is – things begin to unravel. If Sam isn’t happy with who Ben is, Ben can’t stick around to get burned again.

With their hearts on the line, the two must fight for their dreams as the pressure mounts. It would be so easy to admit that it was all a sham, but some dreams are worth the risk.

Review: Sam is a barista who has a very strained relationship with his family. When a lie told to get his parents off his back comes back to haunt him, he does the unthinkable and brings a pretend boyfriend, Ben, to the family reunion. The problem? The boyfriend he made up for his parents was actually based on Ben, who Sam has an enormous crush on. When it turns out that the parents are also rich, as in RICH, things get very uncomfortable for Ben.

I liked getting the family dynamics as Sam and Ben navigate their way through the weekend and I liked the back and forth, does he or doesn’t he, can it be real or not, vibe. However, at times I just wanted them to ASK HIM ALREADY! Sam doesn’t care that Ben doesn’t have money and that he’s a struggling photographer and Ben is just so happy about that. As the two get closer, they bond in a lovely way – over being themselves.

Of course, Sam’s lies have to come back to bite him and so one big one does. It is made particularly bad since Ben has a similar experience in his past that makes it so bad for him. I had some questions when I finished, such as I didn’t understand the animosity Sam had for his family, who definitely weren’t perfect but didn’t seem nearly the way he portrayed them. I have to say, I felt the blurb tells too much of the story but I did like it. This is a very angst-free story with sweet characters. This was my first book by this author and I will be trying another one.

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