Columnist Drew Walsh made his career by publicly criticizing conservative, anti-gay politician Richard Granger. So when a rumor surfaces that Granger’s son Jonathan might be gay, Drew finds himself in the middle of a potential scandal. Under the guise of an interview about Jonathan’s new job teaching in an inner-city school, Drew’s job is to find out if the rumors are true. Drew’s best friend Rey is also Jonathan’s cousin, and he arranges the meeting between Jonathan and Drew that changes everything.
After just one interview, it’s obvious to Drew that the rumors are true, but he carefully neglects to mention that in his article. It’s also obvious that he’s falling for Jonathan, and he can’t stay away after the article is published. Still, Jonathan is too afraid to step out of the closet, and Drew thinks the smartest thing might be to let him go—until Jonathan shows up drunk one night at his apartment. The slow burn of their attraction doesn’t fade with Jonathan’s buzz, but navigating a relationship is never easy—especially in the shadow of right-wing politics.
“I was very impressed with this book’s emotional intricacy, many of the minor characters also display interesting complexities that add to the vibrancy of the whole work.” — 4.5/5 stars from Raine at Jessewave
“I shamelessly admit that I adored Drew and seeing the world through his eyes was not only fun and enjoyable, I really loved getting to know him and really being able to see what made him tick as a person.” — 4.5/5 stars, from Daisiemae at Night Owl Reviews (Top Pick!)
THE second time in my life that I had the premonition that everything was about to change was the moment I first laid eyes on Jonathan Granger.
I was making dinner in Rey’s kitchen. Rey was hopeless when it came to cooking, but he had the sort of kitchen that I’d always dreamed of, which seemed unfair. In fact, he lived in the sort of house I had always wanted to own, a gorgeous Park Slope brownstone constructed circa 1890 that had been renovated and restored before he bought it, with five floors and four bedrooms and really much more space than one man needed, but such is the life of a famous actor, I suppose.
Rey leaned on the counter, nursing a beer and making small talk while I cooked. It was pleasant, just the two of us, hanging out like old times. Then the doorbell rang. When Rey went to answer it, all of my nervous nausea came back. I checked on every element of the dinner I was cooking while I waited.
Rey returned, followed by a guy that must have been Jonathan, and, again, I just knew. The hair rose on the back of my neck, and I thought, Oh, fuck. Rey, oblivious as always, smiled and introduced us.
In an effort not to think about how attractive Jonathan was, I concentrated on looking for family resemblances as we shook hands. They weren’t obvious at first. Rey’s father and Jonathan’s mother were siblings but had chosen very different spouses, so where Rey was all dark good looks inherited from his Dominican mother, Jonathan looked a little washed out: dirty blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin. And yet they had similar faces: the set of their eyes, the curves of their eyebrows, their long, thin noses. Except where Rey was somewhat broad and boorish at first glance, Jonathan was effete and elegant. He was neatly dressed, not a hair out of place. He had long fingers like a piano player. Where Rey looked strong, Jonathan looked delicate. In other words, Rey was classically movie-star hot. But Jonathan was beautiful.
Rey introduced me as “My old friend Drew.”
Jonathan shook my hand. His palm was warm and his handshake firm, which made him seem a little more like a living person and less like porcelain. He smiled warmly. “Nice to meet you,” he said.
“Drew is in charge of meal preparation,” Rey said. “I don’t cook.”
“That’s a shame,” said Jonathan, looking around. “This is a great kitchen.”
“My sentiments exactly.” I felt the need to talk, to get a word in, to make Jonathan notice me. Like an idiot, I added, “I hope you’re not vegetarian, Jonny. There’s steak on the menu tonight.”
Jonathan turned to me and looked surprised. For the briefest of moments, he looked afraid, but then his face settled into a smile.
“Nope,” he said. “Steak sounds great.”
Our eyes met briefly before his gaze shifted down. I watched his eyes; he looked at my chest for a while, then he abruptly looked up again. I thought maybe he was checking me out, but it was hard to tell if it was that or if he just wanted to know where I bought my shirt. Before I could figure it out, Rey interrupted and said, “Can I get you something to drink? Red wine? Beer?”
“I’d love a beer,” Jonathan said.
I faked like I was turning back to my cooking and caught Jonathan looking at me again. I didn’t know what to do with that. On the one hand, I was always happy for a man I found attractive to be checking me out. On the other, I really didn’t want to be right about my suspicion that he was gay. I’d been hoping that Jonathan would turn out to be the straightest of straight guys so that I could go back to Wade, tell him there was no story, and call it a day. Instinct told me this wasn’t meant to be.
Rey escorted him over to the table and told him to sit. They chatted for a moment. I grabbed a short stack of plates and carried them over to the table. “Make yourself useful,” I told Rey, handing him the plates. I lingered for a moment, determined now to figure out what was going on in Jonathan’s head. He didn’t give me any clues. I tried smiling at him, but he frowned and looked at the straw placemat on the table in front of him.