By Riley Hart
May 25, 2016
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…
Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.
Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that’s determined to trip them up at every turn.
This was the first book I read written by Riley Hart and it readily secured her on my list of must-read authors. It was also the first M/M book I read and turned me on to this genre. I actually re-read the book after a couple months before writing this review, and I have to admit, as much as I liked it the first time through, I appreciated it even more the second time. Plain and simple, I loved this book from start to finish. It was so well-written. It felt so realistic: both the characters and the story itself.
Hart is a master at crafting well-developed characters who the reader can readily identify with as real people and quickly come to care about their story. Crossroads flows seamlessly and is easy to read and follow, and it continues to evolve at a natural pace with a realistic sequence of events. Even secondary characters are well developed and add substance and credibility to building the storyline. Hart does a brilliant job of portraying the emotions these characters experience as they gradually come to realize that their friendship is much more than a friendship – because, well, “we’re two straight men” and neither have ever looked at another guy “that way”. They approach navigating their relationship and exploring physical intimacy with maturity, patience, trust, natural curiosity and raw emotion, and they aren’t afraid of expressing their feelings to one another, even if approaching it with their families is something else entirely. Both are strong, smart characters, and they complemented one another to a T.
Bryce and Nick instantly connected to one another under the guise of neighborly friendship, yet the reader was able to identify it as so much more than that: these two simply clicked and were one of those couples that simply belong together. I loved Bryce’s “no-filter” personality, Nick’s quiet strength and their genuine affection, trust and respect for one another, not to mention their emotionally layered and steamy sex scenes. There was little personal strife or angst between the two main characters (instead the angst dealt more with telling their families), which allowed the focus to be on the couple and the process by which they struggled and came to terms with figuring out their feelings for one another.
This line from the epilogue sums up the entire book for me: “The destination wasn’t the point, the journey was.” And when all is said and done, isn’t that really what life is all about?
What part wasn’t my favorite? Frankly, I could read it over and over and over again. I loved Bryce and Nick together. I loved their relationship, I loved their emotional struggles with themselves as they figured out what they were doing, the awkwardness of figuring out the in’s and out’s (no pun intended…maybe) of their physical relationship, and simply their respect, trust and genuine affection for one another. It was a true love story.
Yes. Read it – the sooner, the better.
“I’ve never known anyone like you – your honor and sense of right and wrong. Your kindness. You love so f*cking big.” – Bryce
“It’s been fifteen minutes.”
“Fifteen minutes too long.”
Nick squeezed him tighter. He dropped his head back on Nick’s shoulder. “I’m sorry,” Nick said softly.
“I’m sorry, too.” I feel like we’re on this f*cking rollercoaster. We keep going over the same loops, the same dips, over and over.”
“The same highs, too.” Nick leaned in, his mouth right next to Bryce’s ear. “I’m not getting off the ride without you.”
Bryce moaned in response. “That right there. That’s what I want to hear.”
Nick rolled his eyes. Damn, he loved his man. Just being around Bryce made him happy. Things weren’t perfect. They were still stumbling around in their relationship. But it was worth it. Bryce was worth it.