Friday, May 22, 2020

SE Harmon - Stay With Me

Private investigator Mackenzie Williams’s newest client is everything he’s looking for in a guy—charming, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. There's only one itty bitty problem—the guy’s not exactly gay. In fact, Jordan Channing is looking for a PI to follow his fiancée. The smart thing would be to thank Jordan for his time, turn Mr. Perfect away (don’t let the door hit you on the rump, thank you very much), and forget he exists.
Of course, Mackenzie has never been accused of doing the smart thing. Being smart aleck is more his MO. Relationships aren’t up his alley, never have been. So why’s he so inexplicably drawn to his new client?
Jordan has always been the high achiever, a man who lives in a focused, controlled, and carefully constructed manner. But for the first time in his life, he has to admit the impossible—another man is getting his engine running on all cylinders. Despite Jordan’s denial, it’s not long before he can no longer resist the strong undercurrents pulling them together. Now Jordan must decide if he can go against everything he’s ever known to have the only love he’s ever wanted.

Comment: I can't remember anymore why got interested in this book. It must have been recommended to me in one of those lists of "if you liked this, then that might interest you too" that often we find in reading sites.

In this book we meet Mackenzie Williams, an ex-cop who now works as a PI and who feels a little adrift in life. His relationships have turned out to lead nowhere, his work is good but often repetitive but his father and brother didn't give up on him after he came out and his work partner is a close friend too.
His life takes a turn when he randomly meets Jordan Channing, a man who becomes a new client in the exact moment they meet. Jordan is straight but his attitude isn't as distant as that and Mac has a difficult time staying away from fliting and hoping. When he discovers something about Jordan's fiancé, it seems Jordan has reasons to want to test his views on his sexuality. But can Mac be just the "experiment" guy?

I liked this story enough. I admit I was hoping for something a little more.... serious, in the sense that the main character would see himsefl that way. However, there was quite a lot of comedy content and although that wasn't as bad as it could, there was one problem: first person narrator.
Again, I must complain about this pet peeve of mine. This is a romance, the main character is quirky, yes, and he has issues we get to see the big picture of because he is thinking about them but... Jordan comes across as a very childish and unreachable guy. I couldn't understand why Mac would want to be with him.

I believe this could be avoided and the story could flow even better if only this was third person. By the end of the book, there is some closure and understanding on why Mac is distant and not easily given to commit his all self to someone else but because Mac is the narrator these revelations sound very arrogant or very idiot to be only recognizable by the person who thinks them right at the end.
I mean, yes people might struggle to grasp something that might be visible to others but the way this was told, I was not convinced mac could be so... detached from his own thoughts.

The romance itself was rather unlikely. I just couldn't really believe they would go from curiosity, flirting to everlasting love and commitment like that. There you go again, the way this was written was not conductive for Mac to express the whole range of emotions and situations to show case the reader how closer they were getting.
Jordan is a complicated guy to read, since we don't have is POV. He felt both childish, impetuous and silly to me in different moments of the story. What makes him a more mature person wasn't as evident to me, so he keeps looking unappealing as a potential life partner, for me.

As for the PI business, I mean.... it was really a means to an end and I don't think Mac was really feeling it. It was also an easy way to insert some comedy scenes here and there, but the whole question o what makes a story a funny one is very, very subjective. Let's just say I don't often go into a romance story for the fun side of it.

I suppose there could be ore to say but honestly I don't feel like it. I can summarize this story as one of those where I liked some parts and disliked others. 
Since it was a little meh to me, I probably will only read the other novel in the series, about Mac's partner, in a not too close future.
Grade: 5/10

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