Friday, April 9, 2021

Annabeth Albert - Beta Test

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he's just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.Tristan Jones isn't really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.
Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi's shocked to see Tristan's sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He's less shocked to learn his handsome colleague's prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn't struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they've even begun?

Comment: This is the second installment in the gaymers series by Annabeth Albert. I like her writing style and I have decided to keep up with this series. In fact, at some point, I hope I'll go through most of her series...

In this second book the focus is on Tristan and Ravi, two co workers who meet at the game company Adrian (from the previous book) also works for. Their first meeting, when both are going to start their first day, doesn't go too well, between bad first impressions and an apparent clash over their different personalities. Tristan is reserved, serious and doesn't seem to be able to relax, always adhering to his plans and lists. Ravi is more of a laid back guy, he is a professional but knows how to separate work and fun. The two clash man times over work related stuff and things get to a final confrontation of sorts when Tristan admits he is gay while provoked by Ravi. What appears to be a "no turn around" situation finally changes when the two are the only ones from the top positions at the company who will be able to deliver products to a conference they worked for. During the travel, will they be able to finally get to now the other guy and see how wrong they probably were about each other?

I think it's pretty obvious this is a road trip kind of romance. The set up makes it realistic why these two need to be the ones to do the job but of course, the closed proximity does allow for not only a need to fill the silence and that means more opportunities to get to know someone, but also for noticing little details about the other person and that can be a clue on itself.

I liked the book, it was very easy to read, the alternate focus on the two characters allowed me to understand each one a little bit and that made it easier for the traits of both to slowly become visible. I liked the fact they were attracted to one another but the way the story is told, even though the road trip doesn't last that long, it was still possible, or at least it was for me, to have an idea they didn't give in to their sexual attraction too early. It did feel as if they were getting to know one another before any intimacy happened.

I liked them as a couple. They are opposites in several issues but they were able to talk and understand each other. It was interesting they come from different cultures but the expectations their families put on both were kind of similar. It was nice they faced the same kind of issues and that they both wanted to please their families and were a bit conflicted on what that would entail when some family members didn't like their sexual orientation. In the end of the book I think some information on this was a bit sugary, it seemed a bit forced how some details were included relating to the family's feelings on acceptance but the majority of the book compensated for the less than well done elements.

I identified more easily with Tristan, in the sense he is quiet and prefers being alone..or, should I say, he prefers to be in an environment he controls. Ravi is apparently more of an extrovert but it was very good to see he was not malicious or uncaring to the fact Tristan might not feel as comfortable. It was even better to imagine they might help each other in the future. I don't think they will be the most memorable couple in gay fiction ever, but I liked them.

All in all, this was a successful book to me, very entertaining despite the little things I'd change to better suit my taste, and I'll definitely read the next one.
Grade: 8/10

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